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Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES -

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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

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