Genocide. It is a horrible concept that has been truly considered only a few times in human history, and fortunately never fully carried out. Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, the Native Americans, some African tribes, not every last one within these races was destroyed, though perhaps their cultures were. But real genocide – the complete and utter obliteration of a race – has never happened. Unfortunately some people contemplate it. Some believe it is the only resolution to conflict, the only way to handle an adversary.
I found the movie’s message heavy handed, perhaps because I find the idea so distasteful. Science, in my world, does not exist for such meaningless ends. But for some, it is the stuff that science fiction is made of, aliens that are truly alien and must be destroyed at all costs. The contemplation of an act such as genocide is viewed almost favorably, to the extent that a serious discussion against it is not even present. Perhaps the intent is to fill the viewer with their own internal struggle, while offering few countering arguments. But that is the stuff of 1980’s pulp military sci fi.
All the actors do wonderful work. Harrison Ford is his basic character, but it works for the role. Sir Ben Kingsley does well, though his role is rather short. Asa Butterfield, as Ender Wiggin, performs very well, as do all the other cast members. The director, Gavin Hood, does a good job. The cinematography is very well done. The special effects are flawless. The actors’ directions, shots, and editing, are all clean. That said, I found the movie a bit sterile. While the plot is mostly about Ender Wiggin’s plight, it is also the story of two worlds at war, and yet there seem to be so very few people involved.
The score is adequate. At times it does support, and it never detracts, but it rarely enhances. Overall, it was a fine work by all involved, though it will not leave its mark. The sterility combined with the rather blank look at such a heavy concept do not let it touch deeply. The opportunities for great statements abound, but appear to have not been considered.
Worth the ticket, but you can wait for RedBox or NetFlix and not feel that you missed anything.