Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ender's Game

A recurring theme in Ender's Game is the morality of and psychological effects in using violence.  Right off the bat, Ender is getting in a fight he clearly didn't want to be in.  His explanation for this fight would be the main motivation for the commanders picking him as the main student.  He wanted to not only win, but win in a brutal fashion so as to prevent any future fights.  The audience gets the sense that Ender is a warmonger, a reckless and violent kid who just happens to be a strategic genius.  This idea that Ender is a ruthless killing machine persists until the first school when he accidently kills another kid who was bullying him, similar to the one in the beginning.  This is when Ender begins  to question his stance on violence.  He tries to leave the school but is talked out of it by his sister.  In a way, Ender's armor cracks and we see that he isn' so much a crazy warmonger, but rather just a smart kid thrust into a leadership position faster than he can realize what's happening.  It is here where the audience begins to see Ender's tendency to shy away from real world violence, a big difference from the games he played in the ipad looking things earlier.  Later, when he is at commander school, he begins to regain his confidence and vows to finish his training, but his emotional high doesn't last long.  The 'simulation' he is training on is actually controlling real ships and real people.  It isn't until Harrison Ford tells the truth that Ender actually did kill a bunch of aliens that his true personality comes out and he feels guilty and ashamed.  At first, he feels guilty for sacrificing all of the people in order to protect toe super laser, as most of the people in the fleet probably died as a result.  Once that initial shock wears off, he recalls his past communication with the alien queen and instantly feels angry.  Although his mindset earlier in the movie was kill or be killed, his views shifted once he was tricked into winning a war for good.  This is when the movie kicks into anti-war mode.  Ender gives a speech about how what they did to him was wrong, and that he should have been able to communicate with the aliens before any shooting started.  Because he believed that he had some sort of link between the queen, he thought he could have talked to her and negotiated a peace.  This is the main message of the film in his speech: war shouldn't be the first choice of action.  According to Ender, peaceful resolution should always be favored before violence.  In an effort to atone for his actions, he vows to protect the last eggs of the queen and try to preserve the species that he was tricked into destroying.  Even though the moral of the film might be a bit obvious and in your face, it still shows how responsibility and trust can be easily manipulated by people in power to fulfill their agenda.

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