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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Ender's Game (Blu-ray) (2013)

Ender's Game (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 4-Apr-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-2
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 113:42
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up ?
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gavin Hood
Icon Entertainment Starring Harrison Ford
Viola Davis
Asa Butterfield
Jimmy Pinchak
Abigail Breslin
Hailee Steinfeld
Ben Kingsley
Nonzo Alonzie
Moises Arias
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Steve Jablonsky

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     I am a big fan of science fiction in all its guises and there have been a number of excellent science fiction films over the last few years including Oblivion, Prometheus, Elysium and more. Accordingly, I was very interested to see and review this film despite the muted reception it received both at the box office ($125m globally) and with the critics. This is an interesting film which combines a character drama, social and political comment and the science fiction base. It is based on a well-known novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card. I have not read the book myself however I believe the film sticks closely to it.

     The story is set in the future, 50 years after Earth has been attacked and nearly obliterated by an alien race known as the Formics. Earth managed to repel the invaders but not without worldwide destruction and devastation. Since then, Earth has been preparing for what it believes to be the inevitable return of the Formics once they rebuild their power. Accordingly, the military have been recruiting the best young minds, with the right combination of aggressiveness and tactical genius, to train them to fight the enemy. Children in their early teens have been shown to be the most responsive and the best at the tactics required to defeat the enemy, mostly due to video games. The training is led by Colonel Hyram Graff (Harrison Ford) and his offsider Major Anderson (Viola Davis). Once the young teenagers pass their initial tests they are taken to Battle School to learn the tactics which will work in zero gravity and to develop their leadership and aggression. If they pass through Battle School they are then taken to Command School where they learn how to be commanders in the field.

     A young boy of around 11, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), is being groomed by Colonel Graff as he believes that Ender has the skills necessary to succeed at Battle School. Ender's older brother and sister have previously been to Battle school but failed, the brother Peter (Jimmy Pinchak) due to being too aggressive and his sister, Valentine (Abigail Breslin) as she was too compassionate. Graff believes Ender may have the right combination of these attributes to be the boy he is looking for. After testing Ender in a number of ways, Graff decides to put Ender into battle school with the hope that he will develop into a great leader and tactician. Will Ender be successful and make his way to command school? If he does, what will that really mean?

     Along the way, Ender meets a number of other characters which have an influence on him including a young girl in Battle School, Petra Arkanian (Hailee Steinfeld), an enigmatic training commander (Ben Kingsley) and a drill sergeant, Sergeant Dap (Nonzo Alonzie) and a more experienced Battle School team leader, Bonzo Madrid (Moises Arias).

     I really enjoyed this film and it is a thought provoking view of how children's role might be perceived in the future, an interesting rumination on morality and justification for military actions and an entertaining film in its own right. There are some wonderful sequences from a visual perspective such as the zero gravity battle training sequences and the opening battle sequence against the Formics. The acting is of high quality with Asa Butterfield being the standout in his determined portrayal of Ender Wiggin. My only criticism of the film would be that the ending seems a bit abrupt, possibly due to a potential sequel.


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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is excellent.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p HD encoded using the AVC codec.

     The detail and clarity is excellent throughout with the battle sequences being a standout. Shadow detail is excellent.

     The colour is also excellent with no issues to report.

    There are no obvious artefacts.

     There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are in different colour for the different speakers. They are clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is very good without being the best of Blu-ray.

     This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1 and an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 2.0 plus two audio commentaries.

     Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.

     The music is exciting and really works for the style of the film. It was written by Steve Jablonsky.

     The surround speakers were well used especially during action sequences and provided atmosphere throughout. They also provided creepy creature chittering at times.

     The subwoofer provided significant support to the music and the action scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     A quality selection of extras.


     The menu includes music and scenes from the film.

DTS HD-MA Audio Check

Audio Commentary - Director Gavin Hood

     A quality audio commentary by the screenwriter and director. He discusses the complexity of the story, the themes, various cuts and editing choices, financial challenges in the production, visual effects problems and various technical details. Definitely one of the more interesting commentaries I have heard recently.

Audio Commentary - Producers Gigi Pritzker & Bob Orci

     Another interesting audio commentary which covers the book, the adaptation, the development process, how they got the rights, the themes, critical reaction, the characters and the backstory of the worlds involved.

Ender's World : The Making of Ender's Game (48:50)

     Instead of the usual EPK style promotional making of here we get a comprehensive documentary on the making of the film running nearly one hour. It covers the book, behind the scenes footage, cast & crew interviews, preparation for the cast, stunts, zero gravity scenes, Battle School set, the mind game, animation and production design. Definitely worth watching.

Deleted Scenes (10:18)

     with optional commentary by director. There are 6 scenes some of which should have been kept in. There are more family farewells, More Bonzo vs Ender, exposition on the Formics and more. Good extra.

The Mind Game (3:50)

     Pre-visualisation animation etc. for the mind game Ender plays on a tablet.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region A release is basically the same however includes a 7.1 DTS HD-MA soundtrack which may make a difference. Otherwise the same. Region A wins.


    A different style of science fiction film which is less action and more character focused.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are an example of quality over quantity.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, May 23, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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