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Dana Stevens’s “Ender’s Game” Is Socially-Conscious & Analysis-Weak

In response to Dana Stevens’s 897‑word review of Ender’s Game on Slate

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The fantastic writing of Dana Stevens highlights her socially-conscious “Ender’s Game,” however the dynamic prose cannot overcome the disappointing and fluffy analysis.

Stevens bravely addresses the personal views of author Orson Scott Card in the introduction of Ender’s Game. The critic touches on an important topic without being too aggressive, and gently shakes a finger before moving on. It’s an intriguing start, and definitely makes the work unique.

Stevens unfortunately provides a less than adequate review with her Ender’s Game, and the hands-off approach is becoming quite common among critics who aren’t impressed with a film. The social consciousness of the critic makes the review worthwhile, but one still expects a classic critique. The end result in Stevens’s Ender’s Game is style over substance; description over analysis.

Stevens describe the lead character in Ender’s Game, but where is the critique of the performance? There is none—unless you count “Butterfield is 16, but looks more like 12.” The character analysis is rushed, and it’s a shame given the background of actors such as Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis and Harrison Ford. By the way—Ford’s performance is barely acknowledged.

Everybody knows that Dana Stevens is an excellent critic, and her Ender’s Game is certainly above average. However, can critics return to providing thorough critiques regardless of personal opinion? One doesn’t necessarily need a Truffaut-like analysis, but isn’t the lead performance of a character a good place to start?

Stevens’s Ender’s Game is socially conscious, but severely lacking in analysis.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation