IT’S Harry Potter ... in space! It’s Games ... in space! It’s yep, that’s right ... in space! Welcome to the way- out, way- up- there world of Ender’s Game, a fair sci- fi adventure for teens based on the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card.
The story conjures a future where kids with a mystical command of video game combat techniques are being recruited by the military.
An alien attack by a bug- like breed known as the Formics is expected any moment now. They’ve already been here before. And it might only have been dumb luck that beat them last time.
Therefore Earth is taking no chances. And so, a select band of teens who can jiggle joysticks with intent to kill are sent to a zerogravity Hogwarts to further refine their skills.
One student stands out from the rest. Physically, he is a bit of a runt. Tactically, he is a complete genius.
He goes by the name of Ender Wiggin ( played by Asa Butterfield). Doesn’t say a lot. Doesn’t need to. Why waste breath when you can be out- thinking your adversaries by being one, two or 10 moves ahead of them?
Ender’s superior grasp of the virtual- reality battlefield is spotted very early on by Colonel Hyram Graff ( Harrison Ford).
However, such limitless talent does require some shaping. The lad needs a mentor. Enter the mysterious Mazer Rackham ( Ben Kingsley), a man with considerable knowledge of the fighting mind of the Formic warrior.
While it does plod in parts, Ender’s Game does full justice to an admirably complicated and subtly ambitious tale.
The training sequences are particularly well done, clarifying much of what is at stake for these youngsters and our planet as a whole.
As we have seen in films such as Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Butterfield has the presence and skill to carve up any kind of material. He is in fine form here.
Not sure the same can be said about others in the cast. True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld is stuck with an under- written part that is beneath her talent.
Ford remains the joyless, jowly frump he has been for the last decade or so. As for Kingsley, the jury will always remain out on his wonky Kiwi accent and full- face tattoo.
Now showing Village Cinemas