'Ender's Game' explores complexity of youth, isolation and warfare

Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:03pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Based on a story written three decades ago and set in a future dystopian Earth where children are manipulated into fighting an enemy race, the film "Ender's Game" could make its young adult and family audience ponder what ails present-day society.

Out in theaters on Friday, "Ender's Game" follows the journey of young boy Ender Wiggin, played by Asa Butterfield, who is singled out from childhood for his superior intellect and put through advanced warfare training.

Ender is isolated from his comrades and manipulated into commanding war against a hostile alien race by Colonel Graff, played by Harrison Ford. In doing so, Ender begins to garner a fascination and connection to the alien enemy known as Formics.

"It's about young people being asked to accept huge responsibilities, being trained for warfare because it's proposed that they have this capacity to absorb information more quickly than older people," Ford told Reuters.

Based on Orson Scott Card's novel of the same name published in 1985, "Ender's Game" is the first in a series of books, short stories and comics by the author, all part of the so-called "Enderverse," which may form the basis of a multipart film franchise for movie studio Lions Gate.

The film, which also stars Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley and Oscar-nominated rising star Hailee Steinfeld, features prominent themes of the emotional impact of warfare on young people who have been manipulated from childhood through propaganda to develop a hatred for the enemy, an alien race.

Ender's warfare training comes from videogames and large-scale computer simulations, displayed with striking special effects in the film.

Butterfield said "Ender's Game," while written three decades ago, was "scarily accurate" in how it resonated with present day issues.   Continued...

Cast members Asa Butterfield (L-R), Hailee Steinfeld, Harrison Ford and Viola Davis pose at the premiere of "Ender's Game" at the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuon