DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Ender’s Game, Blu-ray (2013)

For me it was as bad as Starship Troopers, but this writer liked the filmed version of Orson Scott Card’s book...Ed.

Published on March 11, 2014

Ender’s Game, Blu-ray (2013)

Ender’s Game, Blu-ray (2013)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Halee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley
Based on book by: Orson Scott Card
Director: Gavin Hood
Studio: Summit Home Entertainment
Video: anamorphic/enhanced 2.40:1 for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Extras: Audio commentary with Director Gavin Hood; Audio
commentary incl. producers Gigi Pritzker and Roberto Orci; “Ender’s World: The Making of Ender’s Game” featurette; “Inside the Mind Game” featurette; Six deleted/extended scenes; Theatrical trailers; Trailers for other movies
Length: 114 minutes
Movie Rating: ****         Video Rating: ****1/2
Audio Rating: *****1/2          D-BOX Rating: ****

Fifty years ago, Earth narrowly survived an encounter with a large ant-like alien species called the Formic.  Since that time, Earth’s leaders have devised a strategy of raising kids with nonstop access to war-simulation videogames in hopes of finding promising military recruits.  The goal of these leaders is to completely annihilate the Formic should they ever return.  Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is one such star pupil and he is soon whisked away to Battle School under the watchful eyes of Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Gwen Anderson (Viola Davis).  Despite being the target of bullies all throughout his training, Ender rises to the top of his class and is eventually presented with both the opportunity and burden of commanding his own force.  Although it was a little slow at various points in the movie, I enjoyed Ender’s Game as a whole.  Special effects were well done and the cast was a great mixture of seasoned pros and talented newcomers.  Science fiction fans, especially those who like military sci-fi, as well as those who enjoyed the Harry Potter film series, should check out this film.

The overall high-definition video quality of this Blu-ray disc is very good.  Images are crisp with fine detail.  Black levels are solid and deep throughout the movie.  Colors are stylized depending on the locale of the scene, but always remain vivid with nicely-saturated hues.  Picture defect mastering is commendably done with no major flaws or compression artifacts.

The overall audio quality is also very good.  The surround soundtrack is enveloping and makes wonderful use of all of the discrete channels.  Dialogue is sometimes hard to decipher when a character has their helmet on, but is otherwise natural-sounding and properly positioned among the forward soundstage.  The surround channels are actively utilized for the sound effects and music score, plus include several split rear effects and directional pans.  The low frequency effects channel is tight and punchy.

Ender’s Game is compatible with the “D-BOX” Motion Code™ System, meaning that if you have the necessary D-BOX equipment, your movie viewing experience will be enhanced by adding both motion and vibration to your chosen seating.  As full-blown action scenes were limited in this movie, it follows that there isn’t non-stop motion and vibration effects taking place.  That being said, the D-BOX effects that are present greatly enhanced my viewing of the movie.  My favorite D-BOX scenes are when the group of cadets blast off in their space transport ship to attend Battle School (the D-BOX nicely simulated the take-off); the team battles in the arena (D-BOX gave me the sensation that I was floating in zero-gravity); and the epic final battle sequence with the Formic (plenty of motion and potent vibration mimicked the effect of the on-screen explosions).  Ender’s Game is a fun D-BOX experience. [If you enjoy blowing up insects. Why do right-wing sci-fi authors always have the enemy aliens be insects?…Ed.]

—Calvin Harding Jr.




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