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MaryAnn Johanson’s “Ender’s Game” Is Pompous, but Penetrating

In response to MaryAnn Johanson’s 940‑word review of Ender’s Game on Flick Filosopher

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MaryAnn Johanson’s “Ender’s Game review: big ideas, small heart” is difficult to review in a traditional sense. Johanson offers absolutely zero criticism of the film itself, but she makes no pretense that that’s her goal. Instead, what readers have here is a philosophical rumination about the film’s ideologies.

She’s also not interested in being unbiased, a credo most critics strive for. She fully embraces her bias, going so far as to use it in her rating system to inform readers exactly where her biases lie.

Johanson doesn’t skimp on the philosophical breakdown of the film, which is sturdy and raises some interesting questions, but it has a tendency toward pomposity. She tries for an informal tone by peppering her review with “sorta” and “kinda” but it does nothing to soften the grandiloquence.

To be fair, it’s nearly impossible to philosophize without sounding pretentious or grandiose.

Johanson did not like Ender’s Game, that much is clear: “My spirit did not soar. My intellect twitched a bit in ways that made my heart ache disagreeably, however.” Unfortunately, she never tells readers why the film didn’t work for her.

It’s an acceptable approach to focus on the philosophical questions a film raises, but a film critic has an obligation to critique the film, something Johanson completely neglects here, making this one hard to recommend as a work of criticism.    

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