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
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.
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: 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: 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: Insults include "smart-ass," "balls," "jerk," and "coward," plus "crap."
Consumerism: Not applicable
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable
Fan Reviews provided by
WOW!!! by breezy19635
This was a great movie for older kids (over 10) because the content was too mature for my 6 year old grandson or his 8 year old sister, but my 11 year old granddaughter loved it!!
A great one! by duvebf
I have watched so many movies this year and this one ranks right on top. It is a great movie I think may have slipped through the cracks a little but deserves great reviews.
From start to finish I was captivated by the story and the commanding graphics.
The ending is a mind blower and extremely touching.
If you enjoy syfi, this is a must see.
Solid Movie - Recomended by kearnscougar
This movie contains a weak introduction, with the brother and relationship practically non existent. The end of the movie contains an undeveloped lead-up. The middle, however along with the good acting and CGI is solid. Fun to watch overall.
what did I just watch?... by Elliott03
umm... wow... painfully bad acting, confusing and unclear plot, and miserable ending.
great action scifi movie by coolgoffical
loved it what is there not to like about this movie it is amamzing one of the best films of the year