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Peter Howell’s “‘Ender’s Game’… — Dad, Can I Borrow?” Commands Authority

In response to Peter Howell’s 896‑word review of Ender’s Game on Toronto Star

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Peter Howell’s “‘Ender’s Game’ and ‘About Time’ — Dad, can I borrow the space ship? Reviews” reveals the dynamics and essentials of two movies with authority and excellent attention to thematic details. Howell has a creative voice and obvious movie review writing skills.

Readers who come across Can I borrow the space ship? who were looking for a review about Ender’s Game may wonder: which movie is this about anyway, Ender’s Game or About Time? The answer is: yes. Such a duplicitous review may not resonate well with wide mainstream reading audiences, but for those who enjoy depth of analysis and perspective, it works extremely well, like olive oil and garlic vinegar on mixed greens and herbs.

Howell employs a literary writing style that embraces conceptual energy with brilliant command, and it doesn’t take but a few sentences to engage the reader, even if he has a rather lofty tone at times. He contextualizes both movies in a Freudian framework that will resonate as movie review art with some readers, but again, certainly not all.

The underlying comparison Howell presents is very entertaining—and decidedly Canadian in tone and style. He offers far, far more insight than mainstream (that is, American) movie reviewers; insights that are expressed with every new sentence and effectively connect to a myriad of cultural, historical, and psychological themes, which reads like intellectual crack to an analytical mind hungry for meaningful content.

It’s clear where Howell’s analysis of Ender’s Game ends, which could serve as a great stopping point for readers who are simply uninterested in the other movie. His plot summaries and character descriptions of Ender’s Game are outstandingly thorough. On the other hand, for readers who choose to read the review to the end, Can I borrow the space ship? is likely to have the double-effect of inciting genuine interest in two movies at once.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation