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Ender's Game Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Matthew 5:44 Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    If only adapter-director Gavin Hood's movie had been tempered with craft and care and wasn't such a blunt instrument, one that seems designed as a delivery system for CGI derring-do instead of the heartbreaker it should be.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Peter Debruge

    An impressive, thought-provoking astro-adventure that benefits from the biggest screen available.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Thought-provoking sci-fi adventure with military violence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ender's Game is the highly anticipated adaptation of Orson Scott Card's best-selling 1985 sci-fi novel. While there's not any sex and only very minor language, there's a lot of violence in the militaristic story: from two near-fatal personal fights to weapons-based strategy competitions to simulated war battles to the annihilation of an entire planet and alien race. The book author's outspoken political comments have led to controversy surrounding the film, but the film itself promotes positive messages about empathy and moral responsibility, honest communication between adults and children, and peaceful diplomacy as superior to military aggression.

  • Families can talk about one of the movie's central themes: compassion/diplomacy versus cruelty/warfare. How is Ender gifted at both war and peace? In the end, do you agree with Ender or with Col. Graff?
  • How are the relationships between adults and children portrayed in the movie? Are the miscommunications, omissions of truth, and expectations of obedience realistic?
  • This movie is controversial, partly because of political remarks made by the book's author. Should you separate a work of art from its creator or not? What does it depend on?
  • On one hand, the officers tell the young soldiers that their peers are competition not friends, but on the other hand, they expect the soldiers to work together under a leader. Are these ideas contradictory or can competitiveness still strengthen teamwork?
  • Those who've read the book, how does the movie compare?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: There are plenty of messages in the movie about moral responsibility, the dangers of offensive wars, the psychological trauma of military training and war on child soldiers, and the importance of peaceful diplomacy, compassion, and empathy in human society. The movie is very inclusive and multicultural, since the global community has formed one international fleet to defend the earth from invasion.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Ender is not only brilliant, but he's wise beyond his years. He values his aptitude for compassion and empathy even more than his abilities with strategy and warfare. Ender's sister Valentine is his source of strength and encouragement; communicating with her is his way of staying connected to a kinder, gentler part of him. Ender's squad is full of misfits who all learn to work together and under his command. Petra is a strong female character who can fight just as well as the guys. Characters are racially diverse.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: There is both personal and wide-scale violence in the movie. The prologue shows how bug-like aliens killed millions of humans. Ender severely injures two different guys while defending himself against their personal attacks (the first fight is bloody and the second is a fist fight that ends with a head trauma). It's unclear whether either boy survives. Battle and Command School require sparring and strategy games using weapons. An entire planet is destroyed; humans commit genocide against an alien nation. One minor surgery scene shows a bit of blood on a removed implant.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Bonzo is obviously jealous of Ender spending time with Petra and commands him not to train with her. Ender and Petra have a sweet friendship. They hold hands on a couple of occasions, and she comforts him when he's upset.

  • language false2

    Language: Insults include "smart-ass," "balls," "jerk," and "coward," plus "crap."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable