Despite being sourced from quite good material, and Ender’s Game film was never truly going to work. Director/Writer Gavin Hood makes many changes (even going so far as to change the lead character’s name) in order to try and make the story a workable movie, but still falls short of both what the book, and the audience, deserves.
Ender is much less cold than his novel incarnation, and his supporting cast is much more cold. This is obviously Hood’s attempt to ingratiate Ender with the viewer, but instead has the audience feeling disenchanted from a relatively flat story. Condensing the book’s six years worth of events into a couple of weeks is also a weak point, watching Ender raise through the ranks of not-even-raw-recruit to Admiral in the space of less than two hours is detaching and verges on insulting.
Genius-Kids versus aliens in a game of intergalactic Battleships seems a decent enough premise, but when Asa Butterfield and Abigail Breslin (above) prove to be the only two capable child actors out of the bunch, suspension of disbelief is thrown out the window. Even given his modicum of talent, Asa Butterfield is in possession of perhaps one of the least commanding voices in cinematic history, which really downplays his believability in the role of Ender.
This all said, Ender’s Game does prove to be not entirely terrible, and bears more than a couple of saving graces (including Ben Kingsley and his surprisingly convincing New Zealand accent) making it “watchable” at the very least.