Ender's Game

Pro: Lovely construction; makes for good background music (depending)
Con: Not entirely memorable

Bottom Line: While it’s a solid soundtrack overall, it’s not going to be one I’ll return to over and over again.

Ok. I admit it. I haven’t even seen the movie. I know, I know. But it’s Steve Jablonsky and I couldn’t resist. So I decided to go out on a limb and get the music anyway without any context whatsoever. Tricky because I’ve read the book, but didn’t know how much of that translated onto the big screen – and if there were a soundtrack for the book, it wouldn’t be too terribly epic for about 90% of the time.

The soundtrack is around 70 minutes, with most of the songs at a decent length. In fact, three songs jump straight from the 3-minute mark into 5 and 6-minute territory. “Ender Quits” is the longest at 6:23 while the shortest is “Move It Launchies” at just 0:56. Since we’re just over 20 tracks and it’s Steve Jablonsky, I don’t really think there’s much of a need to do a track-by-track description.

1. Ender's War - 3:26
2. Stay Down - 2:42
3. Battle School - 1:55
4. Move It Launchies - 0:56
5. The Battle Room - 3:03
6. Mind Game Part 1 - 2:24
7. Salamandar Battle - 3:34
8. Mind Game Part 2 - 3:55
9. Dragon Army - 2:44
10. Dragons Win - 3:53
11. Bonzo - 1:37
12. Ender Quits - 6:23
13. Mazer Rackham - 2:34
14. Enemy Planet - 3:50
15. Command School - 2:42
16. Graduation Day – 1:28
17. Final Test – 6:02
18. Game Over – 2:36
19. The Way We Win Matters – 6:14
20. Ender’s Promise – 5:08
21. Commander – 3:33

It is very clearly Jablonsky’s work. Not to say so much that he’s predictable, but just that you can tell it’s his style (as you can with other composers). Much of this soundtrack is fairly mellow in that it doesn’t rise up into anything grand or super-exciting. Tones are low, but the tension is always wrapped up pretty tightly. I will say that Jablonsky loves his cello and singular string units. But that’s not a fault. Not by a long shot. In fact, now that I think about it, he gives the strings a lot of focus in ways that you just don’t see from other composers. The violin (or maybe it’s a viola) in “The Battle Room” is rather poignant and gets the spotlight for virtually the entire track. You can also expect some lovely chorus – Jablonsky sprinkles them in at just the right spots like salt and pepper to a great dish.

You can expect some faster paced moments, such as “Dragons Win” as well as some slower bits. “Mind Game Pt. 1” makes me think of stars – just floating out in space and being awed by stars. Even the places you might expect to get some more drastic music never reaches any magnificent crescendos – such as “Final Test.” But again, I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t exactly judge what ought and ought not be in there. It’s not until the very end with “Ender’s Promise” that we something that rises up with additional power. To be clear, a soundtrack doesn’t always have to be banging around like Transformers to be great – given my love for stuff like Journey and Mirrormask – it just has to strike the right chords. This soundtrack is interesting and steady, but nothing to get me to write home about.

There is a main theme in here, but it’s rather general in its organization – it’s not something that will get stuck in your head or be immediately recognizable if it shows up elsewhere. There’s not much to it, but I don’t doubt that it matches the design of the movie. I’m not hating on it, it all sounds good, it’s just not wholly unique.

This is solid Jablonsky and I find it might be useful as background music for when I need something a little lower and tension-ridden. On the other hand, I may never listen to it again. Only time will tell, I suppose.



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I am an author, I sell books for a living, and I love music like there's no tomorrow. I've experienced much of this country, from forested hills of the East, to the golden plains of the Midwest, the sandy beaches of the Southeast, and the oh-so-majestic mountains of the Rockies. And when all else fails, eat chocolate.