STORY: Earth comes under attack from an alien race called the Formics. While a brave fleet commander Mazher Rackham (Kingsley) repelled the first wave of invaders, it is up to a young generation of the International Military under the command of Colonel Hyrum Graff (Ford) to save the planet. REVIEW: Ender Wiggin and a small army of multi-race children live their lives in an orbiting boot camp. Colonel Graff and Major Gwen Anderson (Davis) see tremendous potential in one cadet in particular – Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) – right from the start. He was absorbed into the military due to his mental acuity, his method of dealing with those stronger than him, his cunning and because he is a gaming expert. The other pre-teens are picked from terrestrial schools and indoctrinated to believe that compassion has no place on the battlefield.
They are militarized at such a young age because it is explained that young soldiers can absorb technology quicker than adults and can process a lot of sensory input without being spent or burnt out by mental exhaustion. All of that aside, however, it is still a bit unusual to see kids spoken to in the manner that adult soldiers are. Ender has his issues – the guilt he feels that he was chosen to lead an army instead of his siblings, as well as the trauma of being bullied. Apart from him, the acting is passable. Fellow cadet Petra (Steinfield) doesn’t have much of an impact and the bullying Bonzo (Arias) is quite unconvincing. It is nice however, to see Colonel Graff at his gruff best. Hood (Tsotsi, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) keeps the film’s main message – that of militarizing kids – clear throughout.
Digging a bit deeper, another question is posed – that if you were given the choice to kill someone who you know would return to kill you and your friends one day, would you go ahead and get them before they got you?