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Steve Persall Is Better Than “Ender’s Game”

In response to Steve Persall’s 440‑word review of Ender’s Game on Tampa Bay Times

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One of the inevitable pitfalls to creating great art is that you’ll always be measured against your previous work and it won’t always pass muster.  

Steve Persall is one of the nation’s better critics, but “Review: A killer concept in ‘Ender’s Game,’” unfortunately, is not one of his better outings.

That’s not to say this is a bad review. There’s sharp wit, keen observations, and effortless flow, all of which are hallmarks of a Persall piece, but they are not in their usual abundance here, and fans of the Tampa Bay Times scribe may feel let down by a work that doesn’t quite reach the heights they’ve come to expect.

Persall starts strong, calling Ender Wiggin, the title character, a “budding fascist” and rightly comparing the film to all the “savior kid[s] in space movies” that have come before it. The criticism, usually a strong suit for Persall, falls rather flat. There’s some valid critique here; the special effects “will disappoint thrill seekers,” the story is “silly,” and the “Formics [alien bugs] are uninteresting,” but, taken as a whole, they don’t offer any lasting punch that readers can take with them.

The closing is weakly formulated and echoes the ineffectiveness of the rest of the review. You won’t want to tune out Persall for good, but you won’t miss much by skipping this one.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation