|Ender’s Game is a 2013 American science fiction action thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card. Directed and written by Gavin Hood, the film stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, an unusually gifted child who is sent to an advanced military academy in outer space to prepare for a future alien invasion. The cast includes Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, and Ben Kingsley.
The film was released in Germany on October 24, 2013, followed by a release in the United Kingdom and Ireland one day later. It was released in the United States, Canada, and several other countries on November 1, 2013, and will be released in many other territories through January 2014.
In the year 2086, an alien species called the Formics attacks Earth. Mazer Rackham, commander of a small reserve patrol force, halts their advance and apparently sacrifices himself during their attack.
Fifty years later, a young cadet named Andrew “Ender” Wiggin beats a school bully named Stilson at a hand-held virtual game while Colonel Hyrum Graff and Major Gwen Anderson from the International Fleet watch via Ender’s monitor on his neck. Ender is summoned to have the monitor on the back of his neck removed. When Stilson and his gang attack him, Ender retaliates and violently beats Stilson. Ender returns home and confesses grief over his actions to his sister Valentine. Their older brother Peter interrupts them and convinces Ender to play a game. He then begins choking Ender, threatening to kill him but pulls back. Graff and Anderson visit the Wiggin family and offer Ender a place in Battle School, admitting that the final test was to see how Ender would react to his monitor’s removal. Graff talks privately with Ender and is able to convince him to accept, because Ender believes that “it was what he was born for”.
Ender is the last “launchie” to arrive at the shuttle taking off for Battle School. Upon arrival, the launchies are introduced to Sergeant Dap, who explains how the school’s Battle Room works. Ender soon gains the respect of the other launchies. Anderson, without informing Graff, authorizes for Ender to discover the “mind game”, a way for the school to secretly gauge the emotional state of the students in the form of a video game. Ender’s form in the mind game, a mouse, meets a giant who offers him two drinks, one of which he claims is poisoned. After finding both drinks to be poisoned, Ender has his character leap into the giant’s eye, killing him. Anderson comments that she has never seen anyone do this.
Ender is transferred to Salamander Army, where he meets Commander Bonzo Madrid and Petra Arkanian, who offers to teach him how to shoot during free time. Bonzo takes an instant disliking to Ender, describing him as skinny, untrained and inexperienced. During their first battle he orders him to hang back and observe once everyone else has entered. Ender disobeys, aiding Petra, and the two formulate a plan to win with a surprise attack.
Ender continues with the mind game, seeing what looks like a Formic materialize and dissolve before him. He follows an animated version of Valentine to a collapsed castle, where he fights a snake and sees an animated version of Peter. Anderson is unable to explain to Graff how Ender’s brother ended up in the mind game. Graff gives Ender command of Dragon Army. They climb to the top of the school’s rankings under Ender’s command. Despite overwhelming odds, Ender defeats two armies at once, including Bonzo’s Salamander Army. In retaliation, Bonzo challenges Ender to a fight in the shower. In self-defense, Ender seriously injures Bonzo, who is sent home to recover. Ender threatens to resign unless he can see his sister. Graff allows Ender to return to Earth, where Valentine convinces him to re-enlist.
Via faster-than-light travel, Ender and Graff go to “a former Formic colony world near their home world”, where the International Fleet has established a command base in a former Formic outpost. Ender meets Mazer Rackham, who explains the outcome of the battle that led to his apparent death. He announces his intention to program simulations to challenge Ender and tells him about a deadly weapon in Earth’s fleet called the Molecular Detachment Device (which, in the book, is called Dr. Device, due to its initials: MD Device. In the movie, it is called Little Doctor). Assembling Ender’s core friends from Battle School, together they engage in several skirmishes. “Graduation Day” is to be their final test, a simulation that takes place near the Formics’ home planet. Using the MD device, Ender eradicates the forces surrounding the planet. Every ship on the planet rallies to stop him, Ender has the Fleet’s fighters form a defensive ring around MD device but leaves the rest of the ships unprotected and many of the International Fleet ships are destroyed, but he gets Petra a clear shot with the device again, annihilating the planet. Graff reveals that the final simulation was a real battle and that Ender has extinguished the Formics in reality. He tells Ender he will be remembered as a hero, but a remorseful Ender says he will be remembered as a killer.
After being sedated and carried to his room, Ender realizes that the Formics had tried to communicate with him in the mind game. He rushes to a mountain similar to the one he saw in the game and finds a Queen with a single Queen egg remaining. He promises to find a planet for the egg. Ender dictates a letter to Valentine; after being promoted to Admiral, he takes off into space in a ship with the egg, determined to colonize a new Formic World with it.