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Mark Kermode Needs a Proofreader for His Svelte “Ender’s Game”

In response to Mark Kermode’s 338‑word review of Ender’s Game on Observer [UK]

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Speed and efficiency are the hallmarks of Mark Kermode’s reviews, and “Ender’s Game—review” has inherited all those genes in spades. Kermode is so economical here, he’s on a word budget and it shows.

The whole piece is as lean as it gets. There’s no wasted space as he leads with his critique, which takes the form of a criticism by comparison. Namely, Ender’s Game is one part Star Wars and one part Harry Potter, a theme which Kermode carries well throughout the work, adding comparable films like Starship TroopersThe Last Starfighter and Heart of Darkness to the mix which works to give readers a good idea of what to expect.  

Kermode commits a monumental faux pas, though, forgetting to proofread his article and accidentally repeating his entire last paragraph. It’s a forgivable one-time offense, but it calls into question the fastidiousness with which Kermode approaches his reviews and a simple proofread is part of the best practices of a film critic.

Aside from the blunder, Kermode has sketched out a decent analysis, offering passable, competent critique, but not doing enough to stand out from the crowd.

One word of warning: there is a sizable spoiler in the last sentence of the second paragraph that could ruin the ending of the film.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation