Nearly three decades in the making, the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card's novel Ender's Game hits theaters today. Was it worth the wait, and hype?
The story revolves around a gifted boy drafted into military school in an apocalyptic future. Defending the planet against a coming alien invasion is job one.
Long a favorite of sci-fi readers in the genre, the long-awaited film carries seriously high expectations, and a cast that certainly helped raise them.
Directed by Gavin Hood, Ender's Game stars Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield (as Ender), Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin.
Is it any good, though? Let's see what some critics' Enders Game reviews say ...
"The adaptation is a shallow sci-fi spectacle that almost makes you care." - Hollywood Reporter
"Yet another intriguing, complex, strangely unlikable big-budget experiment destined to thrill the fans and befuddle the rest of us." - Time
"Against considerable odds, this risky-sounding Orson Scott Card adaptation actually works. Like The Hunger Games... [it] peddles the unseemly idea of watching kids thrust into life-and-death situations, but also takes responsibility for their actions." - Variety
"Like The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter saga, this is a story about the maturation of a personality - a misfit called to greatness - yet we don't really see Ender learning anything, let alone changing. Two major scenes revolve around war games, yet we never really know the rules, or where the players are in relation to each other. It's all weightless." - N.J. Star-Ledger
"After taking 28 years to get to the screen, the end result feels rushed and hasty." - Film.com
"Ender's Game truly captures the spirit and intensity of what is one of the most popular sci-fi stories of all time. Considering the weighty source material and complex, sprawling story line with which director / screenwriter Gavin Hood was working, Ender's Game... couldn't have made its translation from page to screen much more convincingly." - San Jose Mercury-News
"It’s pleasant to watch these tiny untethered bodies float like cosmic motes and to follow Ender into an appealingly detailed animated computer game, in which he tumbles down a rabbit hole and discovers a mystery that will presumably only be fully solved in the sequels. His tribulations are likely not over." - New York Times
"The film is thankfully more successful than his last Hollywood outing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but for all its lofty ambitions it never quite fulfills its potential." - Digital Spy
"[Ender's Game] translates most of the book's more pertinent themes to the screen, while making enough storytelling fumbles to hint why it was considered unfilmable for nearly three decades." - SFX Magazine
"This 'Game' could have been a tragedy if Hood had given us players to root for. Instead they are just ciphers, and the most human image in the film is an alien’s giant eyes." - Boston Globe