Posts Tagged ‘Ben Kingsley’

The boy who would be savior: Meet Ender Wiggin, the tortured young hero of ‘Ender’s Game’

November 7, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 7, 2013

The marvelous science fiction film Ender’s Game is all about confronting the Other — the menace presented to us by external figures and forces. But it is also about its protagonist’s confrontation with the darkness within himself.

The eponymous Ender Wiggin is a prepubescent boy, perhaps 12, who is being groomed to command humanity’s starfleet. Wiggin’s destiny, perhaps, may be to direct Earth forces in their battles against the Formics, buglike aliens who killed millions in an invasion some 40 years prior to his birth.

A brilliant but poorly understood sacrifice by pilot Mazer Rackham is credited with turning back the invading forces. Now the International Fleet has staked its hopes on finding a young man or woman who fits a certain profile — capable of processing vast amounts of information intuitively and instantly, skilled in the arts of war yet not deriving pleasure solely from the act of violence.

Wiggin’s older brother, Peter, was dropped from Fleet’s youth training program years ago for being too aggressive. The family’s middle child, Valentine, was dropped for being too compassionate. As Col. Graff, the head of Battle School, explains to Ender, humanity’s hopes rest upon the youngest Wiggin striking just the right balance between those two extremes.

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A flashy but deeply flawed hero saves lives with ‘Schindler’s List’

August 28, 2012

At the start of World War II, a flashy businessman named Oskar Schindler detected the scent of something precious: opportunity.

In the fall of 1939, Schindler, a German living in occupied Krakow, Poland, was wining and dining Nazi officials and looking for a way to make money. After learning of a recently bankrupted factory, he tracked down its former accountant and quizzed him on the business’ fundaments. The suspicious accountant, Itzhak Stern, throws in with Schindler’s decidedly unorthodox business plan. Thus was born an unlikely, and nearly miraculous, partnership that wound up saving some 1,100 Jews from the Nazi death machine.

The story of that alliance is at the heart of Schindler’s List, American director Steven Spielberg’s 1993 outing. (Actually, it was his second picture that year, released after Jurassic Park.) Spielberg is perhaps the most successful director of all time. His credits include influential blockbusters such as JawsClose Encounters of the Third KindE.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and the Indiana Jones movies; other adventure movies such as A.I. Artificial IntelligenceSaving Private RyanMinority Report, Catch Me If You CanWar of the Worlds and The Adventures of Tintin; and more serious dramas such as The Color PurpleEmpire of the SunAmistad and Munich.

Having said all that, and without having viewed many of Spielberg’s acclaimed pictures, I’m prepared to argue that Schindler’s List is one of Spielberg’s most powerful features. Spielberg presents this story of the Holocaust in straightforward fashion, showing atrocious deeds with minimal moralizing or mawkishness. The film also brings forth some fascinating characters — Schindler himself, who has more substance than his outer flash would suggest, as well as the mostly stoic Stern and Schindler’s other crucial business partner, a vicious Nazi officer named Amon Goeth. Read the rest of this entry »

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