"Ender's Game" reviews: Critics weigh in on sci-fi film

Asa Butterfield in a scene from "Ender's Game." Summit Entertainment

Moviegoers can go out of this world this weekend, as the futuristic "Ender's Game" opens in theaters.

The film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's classic 1985 sci-fi novel stars Harrison Ford as a battle school commander who trains young geniuses to protect the earth against alien invaders, and Asa Butterfield as his young protegee. Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley and Hailee Steinfeld also star.

Critics' takes on the film have been mixed, earning it a 63 percent rating on the review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.

Read on to see what some of them had to say:

"Mostly, it's a harmless, slightly clunky story in which the undercooked plot and unremarkable performances fail to match the visual ambition." -- Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly.

"Mr. Butterfield is one of those young performers whose seriousness feels as if it sprang from deep within. And while he's an appealing presence, little Ender can't help feeling like a pint-size psycho." -- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times.

"The look of this project, reflected by the film's poster, settles for futuristic industrialism made generic. Still, while writer and director Gavin Hood may not be Mr. Style or a science-fiction visionary, he gets the story told, with appealing actors at the center." -- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune.

"Combined with timing that's not the film's fault and one-dimensional characters that are, 'Ender's' becomes a solemn march through material that could have been thought-provoking." -- Scott Bowles, USA Today.

"A film for young people to which adults can eavesdrop if they are so inclined, it's not any more sophisticated than it needs to be. But its strong special effects make its simulated battles effective and, echoing the book, its story line touches on a number of intriguing issues." -- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.

"Audiences who show up, undeterred by the stink around Card's public stance against homosexuality and gay marriage, will find that this attempt by Summit to kick-start another sci-fi franchise carries none of that odor, but still falls somewhat short of inspired." -- Marc Bernardin, The Hollywood Reporter.

"At face value, the film presents an electrifying star-wars scenario -- that rare case where an epic space battle transpires entirely within the span of two hours -- while at the same time managing to deliver a higher pedagogical message about tolerance, empathy and coping under pressure," -- Peter Debruge, Variety.

Tell us: Do you plan to see "Ender's Game"?

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