The film of Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel 'Ender's Game' has been advertised and reviewed as 'Harry Potter meets Star Wars'. As much as the anachronism offends, the comparison does work up to a point.
Card invested much of himself in his large novel which presents sophisticated battle tactics, subtle human relationships and a dialogue between a 'physical force kill the enemy' view of war and the softer approach of winning your enemy to be your friend. The novel never pretends to have a final right answer.
Doing all of this in 114 minutes was always going to be a stretch. The film feels rushed and doesn't give itself time to explore the emotional dilemmas and personal development core to the story, while the obligate space-battles and planet-demolition seem passe no matter how well rendered.
With too little time the director resorts to tell not show: the result is competent enough but too superficial for the viewer to care about characters or issues. I'd say three stars out of five.
Walking back through central Reading with Alex at 11.15 pm is an 'edgy' experience. There are far too many guys with shabby clothes and slurred voices who are way too keen to be your friend ...