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Joyce and Don Fowler

* * (Adults)

* * * (Pre/young teens)

This young folks sci-fi will interest video game lovers and challenge young people over a variety of moral issues, but when you take away the great special effects there’s not a lot of substance there.

Asa Butterfield plays Ender Wiggin, chosen by state to save the world from destruction and vigorously trained by a glum Col. Graff (Harrison Ford), a compassionate Major Anderson (Viola Davis) and a tough, tattooed Ben Kingsley. The chosen children are sent into outer space on a gigantic ship to compete in a series of war games. Ender emerges to the top and is chosen to lead his team against the Formics, who had nearly destroyed Earth and are on their way back for one more try.

With all the knowledge and experience of the trainers, it will take “a child to lead them.” The morality play is much too heavy on the simulated video games, challenging young moviegoers to think about some pretty heavy issues, like challenging authority, the greatest good and kill or be killed.

The adults are pretty much wasted in the action and special effects that go on and on for two hours.

Rated PG-13, with video game violence.

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