Tags: enders | game | mixed | reviews

'Ender's Game': Mixed Reviews, Fairly Good Ticket Sales

Image: 'Ender's Game': Mixed Reviews, Fairly Good Ticket Sales Director Gavin Hood.

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 03:18 PM

By Michael Mullins

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"Ender's Game," the sci-fi war film about a child warrior who saves the human race from an invading alien species, has received mixed reviews and moderately good ticket sales since opening at the box office earlier this month.

Among young veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, the film might have struck a chord.

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The Virginian-Pilot reported that the underlying message of "Ender's Game," specifically the "the ethics of armed conflict and the moral pit of the combat kill" has appealed to many younger veterans living in Norfolk, Va., and the state's southeastern metropolitan region of Hampton Roads, which is known for its large military presence.

Having never been in combat himself, D.E. Wittkower, an assistant philosophy professor at Old Dominion University, discussed the impact the film might have on returning veterans who have recently experienced the heavy task of taking one life in order to preserve another.

"[The warrior role is] filled with moral peril. We can't expect people to engage in war without becoming damaged. That's one reason military suicide rates are so high," Wittkower told the Virginian-Pilot. "Bringing soldiers to violence at the right times, and only at the right times [is a tall order]."

According to Wittkower, despite our nation's apparent fascination with violence, with the average American child being exposed to 8,000 TV murders before the end of elementary school, the Virginian-Pilot reported, many soldiers still have difficulty pulling the trigger when on the battle field.

To overcome such hesitance in combat, recruits must be conditioned to act automatically when faced with a threat Wittkower said. The professor suggests that the extensive training exercises featured in "Ender's Game" might appeal to young vets, considering in the movie a 10-year-old boy is trained to set aside any sympathy and embrace his lethal capabilities to become an effective killer and in turn guardian of the human race.

In "Ender's Game," the film's protagonist named Ender Wiggins is selected by the government to undergo extensive military training that involves logic, combat, and survival testing, eventually leading to him being selected to lead a child army against the invading alien force.

The movie is based on a 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, which according to the Virginian-Pilot has long been on the required reading list of U.S. Marines.

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