At what point do our soldiers loose their sense of humanity when they kill countless enemies? Well, that’s though to say, because the way we are as people, if different for everyone. Some may never have the heart to pull the trigger. Some may gun people down, but feel some traumatic pain later. There are those that even take no second thought, and enjoy killing as much as they want. No ordinary person should enjoy killing another human but the armed forces are not what you call ordinary. They went through their own training where they were told by killing the enemy is their patriotic duty and the right way to victory.
I think that the point of any dehumanization in the armed forces can trace back to basic training. Is it right to take away ones right to free will in order to build an effective fighter? I wouldn’t say so. I’m not going to go over in a speech about everyone’s right to their own choices on right and wrong because everyone’s done it before. I more or less bring in the question, “what happens when there are no more enemies to fight?”. I worry when I read stories about madmen when they go on a tragic spree because they feel like that they have to. Ideas on dehumanization in children are reflected on Ender’s Game.
I will say right now that I have not read the young adult novel of the same name that it’s based on. I know that an Ender’s Game movie had been in development for a long time, going though a long process from the original author Orson Scott Card on finding the right time to bring the sci-fi story to the big screen. In a lot of ways, it succeeds at getting it’s point across about children in the military. But on the other, I wish that the story could have allowed the kids to be kids.
It’s 2086. An alien race had invaded earth, causing genocide with millions wiped out. The International fleet space armada strategizes that they need to take kids at a young age and school them into becoming great military leaders. Ender Wiggin (played by Asa Butterfield) is pulled out of school by Colonel Graff (played by Harrison Ford) to attend the Fleet’s Battle School that orbits around our planet. Like a Harry Potter story, he makes friends, makes enemies, and is constantly told he’s the hope for humanity. The boy progresses to Command School where he leads his own army (of other kids from the battle school) to simulate battles against aliens…or so they say virtual reality.
Without giving away the ending, I like the twist and the direction it would send Ender and the International Space Fleet. It begins and ends very well. It’s the middle that’s gotten me confused. To be fair, this is a tough story to translate to cinema, as it caters heavily to the science fiction crown with its technical babble emphasis on computer strategy. It’s almost like watching others play video games.
With that said, the design of Ender’s Game is great. I like how the school orbits the Earth like a satellite rather then being set in place like a lot of space stories before. The zero gravity room where the children first practice the military tactics is also great. This is something that could have not been accomplished if the movie would have been made in the eighties, and even after seeing Gravity’s breathtaking effects, still comes off as fresh. There’s a lot of story to go along with the impressive effects.
A story this complicated should have been harder to tell, but it’s told well in it’s two hour running time. They show off the kids as they are stripped of their innocence, and prepared for a battle that could happen tomorrow or a hundred years later. They may come off as kind of bland, but I think that was the intension. Oddly though, the one boy I did not find interesting was Ender himself. Not that it’s a bad performance, but even before he goes to the battle school, he’s kind of a bore. I know that he’s smart and encourages ideas from within his platoon, but his actions are one thing, his personality’s another. So there’s not much of an evolution in character. He goes to boot camp, and we’re there with him. Maybe if we got to see him relax more in his off time with the other kids, we’d get to know him a little better and whether if fighting aliens is all he is.
I’ll give this three holographic computers out of five. Watching Ender’s Game is like going to school. If you can get into space military fighting, then this is probably your movie. I just don’t know if kids themselves will like Ender’s Game.