All parent member reviews for Ender's Game

Parents say

(out of 15 reviews)
age 10+
 
Review this title!
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byTheAustinNY November 4, 2013
age 10+
 

My 7 &10 year-old boys really liked it...Probably best for 10+, but some 7-9 year olds could handle it

I took my 7 &10 year-old boys to see this on opening night, and they really liked it...For the most part, it's probably best for 10+ in general, but I think there are plenty of 7-9 year olds that could handle it ...I typically am more conservative in terms of exposing my boys to movies that might have inappropriate or questionable content (Other than Jurrasic Park, they have never seen another PG-13 film)...But my 10-year-old had read the book and was very eager to see the film...So I gave Enders Game a chance, and it turned out to be a good film that was suitable for both of them. From a content point of view, it was not objectionable...There weren't any questionable sexual/romantic situations at all, the language was very tame, and even most of the violence was large-scale and non-detailed - Space ships shooting alien bugs, no real in your face blood & guts. There are a couple of brief bullying/fight scenes, which are not especially pleasant to watch, but do provide good opportunities to talk about bullying and fighting (in once case, the virtues of sticking up for yourself when cornered, and in another case, the unintended consequences of fighting/physical violence). From a story point of view, it was entertaining, and even when characters behaved badly or exhibited questionable morality, that provided opportunities for discussions on why certain characters made the choices that they did, and allowed us to examine their motivations behind the actions and to asses the consequences. And while the film starts off with a bit of an "every man (child) for themselves, there is definitely an strong emphasis on the benefits of teamwork as the film progresses. Overall, I'm glad I took a chance on it...My boys enjoyed it, and we had some good conversations about violence, bullying, and even war and peace. Definitely recommended.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Parent Written byCamberus November 3, 2013
age 10+
 

Overall very good

I saw Ender's Game last night with Shauri (and the Rackhams - it was very cool to have our friends in the row in front of us). It mostly met expectations, which for me were very high. I was happy with the acting except for Abigail Breslin; I've seen her in other films and she didn't seem to be herself here. Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, and Ben Kingsley all did very well, and Viola Davis (The Help) was perfect for her role; after seeing her play Major Anderson with such controlled emotion and inner torment, I completely agree with the decision to cast the role as female. Ender's parents were completely forgettable, as they also were in the book, so that's okay. I was very pleased with the visual effects and the music. My main complaint was that the film moved too quickly compared to the book, which is something you'll always find in the film format. Things that took weeks or months to accomplish in the book took days in the film, and you get 1 scene per story piece, with no taste for repetition. For example (spoiler alert), you get 1 Salamander army battle, you get 1 Dragon army battle, you get 1 classroom scene, you get one practice session. If you had even had a short montage showing a couple Dragon army battles interspersed with short glimpses of practice sessions, you would have had more of a sense that they had to earn their way to greatness rather than the impression we have: that they only have 1 battle, they win it, and then Ender gets shipped off to the next phase in his training. Of course do do this, you probably would have needed to either make it a 3 hour movie or split it in 2 films. There were a few major changes in the story toward the end (with the use of Dr. Device, and with the location of Command School, for example). Little changes like whether or not Ender could see his commanders don't affect the real story, but these had a large impact. I can't see that they had any good reason other than condensing the story for a film format, but they did work well with one exception: when we learn that the invasion fleet has 28 days left til it reaches the Bugger world, and then Ender gets shipped out to Command School, you had better be sure that the location of Command School makes sense for the speed of technology that is available. Card never presents the reader/viewer with faster-than-light travel, in fact he's explicit in his writings that nothing faster than near-light speed is available in most of the books, which is the whole cause for Ender being 3000 years old in book 2 *relative to Earth*, because he has been hopping around the universe at near-light speed for 3000 years, and time goes on for the rest of humanity, causing him to seem unaged due to relativistic effects. You don't freeze time when you put your hero on a transport and ship him to Command School, the clock keeps ticking for everyone *except* him, not the other way around, and it was very disappointing to see the filmmaker/scriptwriter get this detail wrong, when it's so important to the Enderverse story. There was one more major change with the Hive Queen that didn't have to be made and didn't make sense entirely, but I won't comment further on that because it would give away the ending. Overall, I am very pleased with the film, and it has left me with a lot to ponder. It sparked a discussion between Shauri and I about what hurtful challenges (spiritual and emotional, not physical) our kids encounter in public school, and whether it would be best to consider homeschooling more of them next year. The actor playing Ender (Asa Butterfield) reminded us both a lot of our son Cathan, who had a horrible experience yesterday while waiting to be picked up after school, with some 8th grade boys and girls loudly telling really nasty, crude, ugly things to each other. He was so upset by it that he was in tears on the way home. Adelaide, who is 2 years older, commented that she's only been in public school for 2 years, but she's heard some extremely nasty things; she feels badly that Cathan, who is so tenderhearted, has been in public school for 4 years and probably has heard worse. That experience, coupled with watching a movie that shows kids being toughened up in a harsh environment away from their parents, prompted us to rethink how much we want to expose our children to the garbage that's inherent to schools. Back to the film: I recommend seeing it. I would caution you about taking anyone younger than 10, but it appears that it was intended for an audience at least that young. They kept the language very clean. They go very light on the violence that is found in the book, making it mild by comparison, but you still see some fighting between Ender and the two main bullies he has to defend himself against. I would recommend discussing afterward topics of genocide, empathy, when and how it's okay to defend yourself, sibling rivalry and sibling closeness, and the morality of authority (such as when it's ethical to disobey an order). Some studies have shown that a large percentage of our high school graduates don't understand what a moral dilemma is, so this would be a good time to discuss them. Overall, I would give Ender's Game 4 and a half stars.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent of a 11 and 14 year old Written byexitedreviewer November 2, 2013
age 9+
 

Everything I Could have Wished For!!

Ender's Game is based on one of my favorite novels from when I was a kid. I made my kids read it, and even though they were reluctant, they thanked me after. I took my kids to see this on the opening day, and it was everything we could hope for. There were amazing performances by the child actors such as Asa Butterfeild and Hailee Stienfeld, and the movie really captured the essence of the book. There is mild violence and children shot at eat other with laser guns, but I really had no problem with this move. Great for ages 9 and up!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Educator and Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bylogosdad November 8, 2013
age 10+
 

The shallow end of the pool that is Ender's Game

Listen, if you've read the book(s), you'll understand my title...I'm not going to dig into the differences here, as there are just too many. Bottom line, even though it's really just a skeletal version of the story, it still works on the big screen. The actors (main characters only) did quite well with the script they were given. The smaller players are relegated to the background, so much so that even Abigail Breslin is pretty much an afterthought. Visually, I highly recommend IMAX, particularly for the Battle Room & war scenes. Content wise, the scenes where Ender is defending himself from bullies are the toughest to approach with kids. He doesn't JUST defend...once he has the upper hand, he kills to prevent the danger from ever appearing again (although in the Bonzo fight, it's made to appear more like an accident). It's integral to the story (since it's why he was chosen to fight the Formics), but brutal to watch. Be prepared to talk to you kids about the reasoning behind those scenes. As for the overall story, you will also need to be prepared to discuss genocide as that, ultimately, is what the IF is looking to Ender to accomplish. Fortunately, we do see Ender realizing this and showing the empathy that really makes him a hero. If your 8-9 year olds are particularly advanced & will be receptive to the underlying themes, then take them and talk to them about it. Otherwise, I'd say the age limit for viewing should be closer to 10+.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byHothr November 8, 2013
age 8+
 

Mild for PG-13

I took my 8 year old son, and 10 year old daughter to see this. I was nervous about the PG-13 rating, but have read the book(s) and didn't expect anything too bad in the movie. The worst word used in the movie was probably b*st*rd, but I wasn't paying too much attention. The most violent scenes are the Ender vs Bully scenes, which show little blood, no gore. But involve some violent hits and trauma. Both my kids thought it was a great movie. I believe this movie could almost be PG, but is probably just a little too intense.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byNolane November 7, 2013
age 8+
 

Good, but not great and fine for kids

This is a good movie, with excellent acting and special effects, but is suffers from a surprising lack of action and a disappointing head scratcher of an ending. Also, I have no idea why this movie is rated PG-13. It is a PG if I have ever seen one. There is some violence, but not very much. A few scenes with bullying involved- but the bully is dealt with pretty harshly. Fine for kids, although they might be bored by the lack of action.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educator and Parent of a 9, 11, 17, and 20 year old Written bygtsstl January 10, 2014
age 9+
 

Well-acted and thought provoking

This movie was a surprise for me. My family saw Hugo and was already familiar with Asa Butterfield. His role in this movie was captivating. The dilemma he faced and its resolution provoked some discussion in our family. The movie was bit complicated for my nine-year-old son but it held his attention and caused him to ask questions.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Educator and Parent Written byMizSeaDub April 2, 2014
age 11+
 

Much worse swear words in Spanish

I would like to see Common Sense Media include questionable language for all languages in their reviews! My fifth grade class earned a movie day and voted to watch this film. I had read the book and a quick glance at this website led me to believe it would be appropriate. Needless to say, there were wide eyes and gasps throughout the room when the word "pendejo" (motherfucker in Spanish) was dropped several times throughout the movie. The English swear words were very mild in comparison. Would have liked a heads up from Common Sense Media before showing this film to my bilingual classroom!
Parent of a 9 year old Written byboychilds mama January 1, 2014
age 12+
 

For those who loved the book...

...you'll probably enjoy the film. Followed the book closely, although naturally not as in-depth. Was excellent for my 12-year-old nephew, a bit too intense and mature for my 10-year-old son. Too bad the second and third books in the trilogy are less likely fodder for film!
Adult Written byslasher23 August 16, 2014
age 12+
 
some violent
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byLsfederico November 16, 2013
age 10+
 

Sci-if mom (read the book, liked the movie)

This movie was exactly what it was supposed to be...a great science fiction story. I did read the book. As with most books made into movies, the film was too short to cover the plot completely. However, the creators did a pretty good job of including events from the text. In several cases events were combined into one screen battle, which actually took place over many battles in the book. But the point, that Ender is "the one" is clearly and interestingly portrayed in the film. I was glad that I had read it but the movie also stands alone quite well. We will take our kids (11 and 13) to see it in the theatre. It is not overtly violent considering the whole plot is a war. Most of the violence is virtual, just ships and lasers. The only real violence is self-defense. In fact, the message of non-violence is part of the story. A good movie. Go see it.
Parent of a 12 year old Written byfriendlytoanimals November 9, 2013
age 12+
 

Very violent, fairly true to the book

I liked the movie well enough, but I think the reviews here were a bit misleading as to just how violent it is. It's intensely violent, although not intensely gory. Pretty much the whole movie is filled with both real and simulated violence, as well as the rather twisted emotional violence heaped on the kids in the film. It's not just two scenes of kids brutally fighting, it's many many scenes of space war - just because these scenes look like a video game doesn't mean it isn't violence. This is all part of the story, and true to the book, so I'm not criticizing it, I just think that parents who don't like their kids to see violence should know. Anyhow, the movie does a fairly good job of portraying the book's major themes, however it fails to show the intellectual genius of Ender, and his siblings. Especially his siblings whose role is minor in the movie. The entire earth politics in the book are entirely omitted. We also don't get to have the understanding of the Buggers that the book provides, and I missed this a lot. The acting is good, the special effects are great, and the overriding theme is accomplished, but it wasn't what it could have been.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educator and Parent Written byMovie Review Maven June 1, 2014
age 8+
 
Movie Title: Ender's Game PG-13, 1 hour 53 minutes Grade: A- In a Nutshell: This sci-fi tween thriller deserved to be made into a film, as the book has been popular with kids since 1985. Congrats to Orson Scott Card for making it on to the big screen! Most of the source book fans have been very pleased with the movie adaptation, although they admit that a few interesting aspects were rushed or necessarily left out because of the time constraints. The battle scenes feel like you’re watching someone play a video game, but the special effects are pretty amazing. You’ll feel like a 12 year old kid again and wish you could float around in the battle simulator. Things I liked: I love Harrison Ford, even if I have to see him as a grumpy, aging man. I’ve also adored Ben Kingsley ever since he won an Oscar for Best Actor in Gandhi many years ago. The design on his face was very cool and supposed to represent a way to speak for the dead. His father was a Maori. I have a friend whose ancestry is Maori. He plays the ukulele and sings songs in Maori for his students. You feel like you get your money’s worth because the film is long, but moves quickly. I thought Ender’s squeaky, pubescent voice was perfect because it constantly reminds you that he is still just a boy. Asa Butterfield does a terrific job. I loved him in Hugo. Ben Kingsley was in that movie as well. It was simply stunning in 3D. I liked the cadets’ white casual wear and would like one for myself to wear at home when I’m just kicking around. I hadn’t read the book, so I had no idea what was going to happen. I love twists. The zero gravity room looks super fun! I went Indoor Skydiving in Las Vegas recently and had a blast…literally! A giant fan blasts air at you so that you float. I highly recommend it! Things I didn’t like: So, it only takes 3 adults to run that entire spaceship? I was surprised at the amateur-looking credits at the end of the movie. It takes itself a little bit too seriously and could have been improved with more peppering of humor. Uplifting theme: The way we win matters. “Let us train our soldiers so they can be gifted at war AND peace.” Funny lines: “This is basic rocket science, people!” - teacher “Game over.” - Ender Interesting lines: * “When you truly understand your enemy, you love them.” Things to look for: The button on the back of their necks that is used to monitor them reminded me of The Matrix . Hailee Steinfeld plays a character whose name is Petra. Petra means rock in Latin. She becomes Ender’s rock throughout their experience in the training experience in the International Fleet. Tips for parents: There is a lot of violence, some bullying, and a repeated use of the word “A**hole” in Spanish by a character named Bonzo. There is no other profanity, other than mean name-calling by bullies. There are some interesting moral dilemmas that could provide interesting dinner conversations for your family.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byDJM45 December 12, 2013
age 9+
 

Very good movie

I took my 9 year old to see this, he is almost 10, I was concerned by the reviews and went to see it alone first. This is a film based on a book about the threat of an extra terrestrial species destroying humans. It is a great movie and is actually an antiwar story. My son thoroughly enjoyed it and I had prepped him for the 2 violent bullying scenes. The second bullying scene really shocked the adults in theater. My personal thought is the boy in question is older than my son so it was no worse than violence he has seen in some cartoons. We discussed afterwards and he though it was appropriate for younger kids, Im not so sure hence my 9 and up rating. I know the writer of the book has made this a controversial film but I enjoyed it.
What other families should know
Too much violence