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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Frozen (2013) and Ender's Game (2013)
Frozen (2013). Loosely based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen and directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. Set in a mythical kingdom, two young princesses play. The elder princess has a magical ability to create ice and snow, and while playing she injures her younger sister. The king and queen take the injured princess to the trolls. One of the trolls heals the princess, and also removes the memories of her older sister's power, so as to protect them both. The elder sister is locked away from everyone, to keep her powers a secret. Initially I found Frozen all rather serious and dull, but after half an hour or so the story takes a turn for the better, and becomes a bit more fun. I could have done without the musical numbers, as they didn't hold much charm for me. The characters were OK, but I wasn't won over by them to any great extent. Overall I found the film a bit of a mixed bag, and not on par with some of the rave reviews I've read. Disney fans will like it I suspect, but others may want to approach more carefully. 3/5 (Average)

Ender's Game (2013). Based on the book by Orson Scott Card, and directed by Gavin Hood. The story is set on a future Earth where an alien species called the Formics attack. The commander of the Earth's forces sacrifices himself and manages to destroy the aliens' key ship, and the Formics retreat to their own planet. Earth does not wait for another attack though, and carefully selects children to train as an attack force. I read Ender's Game - the first book in what became a series - as a teenager, and I devoured it. I was concerned when I saw they were making a film of it, although for the most part I think they did a reasonable job. Throughout the film I remembered bits of the book, and I felt they captured the atmosphere quite well. Inevitably bits of the story fall by the wayside. Thankfully CG has come on so well that they were able to do the book justice in special effects terms. Asa Butterfield is well cast as Ender, and the supporting cast are pretty much spot on as well. There's a somewhat forgettable but appropriate soundtrack. Ultimately it's a fun action film, with a somewhat cerebral edge to it - not a classic in film terms, but I found it an enjoyable watch. Recommended for those who prefer somewhat more intelligent SF, although some will no doubt be put off by the conversion from book to film. 4/5 (Good)