It's not news that Ender's Game
author Orson Scott Card is a homophobic turd who has declared that anyone caught "flagrantly" engaging in gay sex "cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society." For all his smart work on future tech and the nature of war, this science-fiction futurist has failed to imagine the egalitarianism of the human present, much less that of centuries from now. His is one of those jumpsuit futures where all the clothes and people seem to have come out of a spigot. In Gavin Hood's movie, Ender gets shipped off to Harrison Ford's "Battle School," a sort of Hogwarts for future war criminals. His mission: to become the kiddo military commander so ruthless he can lead humanity to victory against the insectoid aliens who attacked the Earth some 20 years prior. The gifted white kid is always surrounded by brown and black classmates who marvel at his intelligence, envy his victories, and salute him warmly when he's promoted over them. Ford, as high commander muckety-muck, amusingly schemes to strip away Ender's humanity. Asa Butterfield, as Ender, sells the many repetitive scenes of Ender outwitting everyone, but he's not up the high emotions of the final reels, probably because the movie isn't, either. The space battles don't have the usual problem of looking like video games; they have the unusual problem of looking like terrifically cluttered screensavers. In the end, our hero learns the encouraging lesson that alien races are worth trying to understand. Is it naïve to hope that one day Card tries doing the same -- but toward other humans?