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Reynolds’s “‘Ambitious but Flawed” Avoids Pitfalls Only to Fall in Others

In response to Simon Reynolds’s 548‑word review of Ender’s Game on Digital Spy

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Controversy is a great way to catch eyes with a review, and Simon Reynolds’ “‘Ender’s Game’ review: Ambitious but flawed sci-fi blockbuster” nails it with the red flag surrounding the film: the antics and outbursts of the film’s father, Orson Scott Card… and then runs away from it!

Most reviews involving films based on books become long, boring essays on why the book is better. But after the slap in the face about the original book’s author’s views, the review takes a pleasant and unexepcted turn into looking at the film on its own merits.  

The plot is unveiled in clear, plucky sentences, and the major themes of children-as-warriors and the use of games to win wars is topical and clear. The usual blood and thunder about Ben Kingsley’s awful accent is on play, which is understandable, as are the returning discussion of book/moviedom. And now Harry Potter and the Hunger Games join the fray and the X-Men show up for no reason as it all starts to feel like a bit too much. In reviews, a few comparisons and referential statements go a long way.

What Reynolds does do, which takes guts, is remember that the ethics of the film are in a grey area. His discussion of what makes the film worthy of consideration is strong enough to make his review worthy of consideration on that count alone.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation