Ender's Game

Rated 2.0

For years now, the trend in Hollywood franchise entertainment has run toward pompous bloat, and writer-director Gavin Hood doesn't stray far from that formula in adapting Ender's Game to the big screen. It's a schlocky sci-fi film that wants to bring up weighty concepts like genocide, neofascism, domestic surveillance and technological dehumanization specifically to avoid dealing with them. An adequate Asa Butterfield plays Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a ferocious child genius in a future world decimated from attacks by an insectlike race known as the Formics. Determined to prevent any future attacks, the world leaders establish a brutal training program to transform video-game-obsessed kids into hyperaggressive military masterminds. Much of Ender's Game feels strangely anonymous, a grab bag of loose ends borrowed from more notable sources. There is a seething ambition present here that is not only unrealized, but largely not even attempted.