A teen boy (Asa Butterfield) is recruited and trained to fight against an alien invader, hoping that he will be saving Earth from another attack. Based on Orson Scott Card's popular teen sci-fi novel. Also with Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Aramis Knight, Suraj Partha, Moises Arias, Khylin Rhambo, Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak and Nonso Anozie. Directed by Gavin Hood. [1:54]
SEX/NUDITY 1 - A teen boy and a teen girl hold hands in a couple of scenes. A teen girl sits on a bed next to an unconscious boy and holds his hand.
► A teen boy tells another teen boy, "Your mother cheated and that's why you look like a plumber."
► A teen boy is shown showering and we see his bare back, chest and abdomen.
VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A teen boy in a shower room is approached by a young man who threatens him and goads him to fight; the young man raises his fists and the teen sprays him with hot water, they fight briefly and the teen twists the young man's arm; the young man charges toward the teen who kicks him and he falls back and hits his head on a ledge; we hear a crunch and see him twitch (we later see him undergoing surgery with robotic arms moving around the back of his head as he lies on a surgical table).
► A teen boy with an implant in the back of his neck is prepared in a medical room for removal; he is strapped on the table and a machine with a claw-type grabber pulls it out and the boy screams (we see long wires with blood dripping from them as the device is dropped into a dish with water and the water is tinged with blood).
► A teen boy accompanied by three other teen boys grabs another teen boy and shoves him into a room where he demands a re-match for a computer battle simulation; the first boy pushes the other boy who crashes into a glass container that crashes to the floor and shatters; the threatened boy then grabs something from a table (it looks like an alien arm) and hits the other boy (he falls to the floor) and then kicks him repeatedly; the boy with the weapon then threatens the other boys as they move to surround him (they back off).
► A teen boy attacks his younger brother and they fight, ending with one boy being on top of the other with his hands around his neck (the pinned boy is released and coughs but otherwise seems OK). A young man shoves a teen girl and holds a teen boy around the neck with a towel while yelling at him. A young man punches a teen boy in the stomach and then threatens to kill him. A man appears in a teen boy's room and the boy raises his fists to protect himself; he rushes past the man seated on the floor and the man trips the teen and then shoves him onto his bed while talking to him.
► A fighter plane flies into the center of a huge alien vessel and explodes causing the alien vessel to break apart (we see this scene several times). We hear combat chatter and we see planes battling alien flying vessels with many explosions and collisions (we see this scene several times).
► An alien (it looks like a huge insect) approaches a teen boy (we hear it clicking and buzzing) and presses a talon to his neck; the alien then pulls the talon away from the boy and backs away. A teen boy runs out onto an alien planet and struggles to breathe; he climbs into a structure and down a passage where he finds an alien (neither is harmed).
► We see several battle simulations where teens access computers to direct their fighters; some battles are won and some are lost (we see large flying vessels being struck and exploding as well as a planet exploding slowly across its surface).
► A teen boy plays a game on a computer that shows a mouse being given a choice between two goblets and it is told by a giant to choose either the one that is poisoned or the one that is not; we see the mouse choose the poisoned goblet twice and it sinks into the liquid and appears to melt; the final time, the mouse jumps into the giant's eye and kills the giant (he falls back to the floor and we see an empty eye socket). A teen boy plays a computer game and we see a mouse crawl out of a dead giant's eye socket, then it scampers toward an alien while explosions blow up all around it; we see a teen girl run toward a castle just before it is blown up and crumbles; the girl and the mouse run into the rubble; a teen boy appears in the game and he strangles and beats a snake after a red carpet transforms into a snake and lunges at him.
► During a battle in a zero gravity room, one team member crashes into three others breaking them apart and one of them hits her head on a floating platform (she is shown to be fine later). During a battle in a zero gravity room, a teen boy grabs two guns and fires as he floats among the enemy team shooting many of them (they float motionless). During a battle in a zero gravity room, two team members shoot and incapacitate 12 members of another team; the remaining team members float toward a gate while drawing fire from another team and shielding one of their members, who makes it through the enemy gate to win the battle.
► We see many alien flying vessels fall out of the sky. We see huge war ships that contain drone fighter vessels.
► We see a battle room where recruits train in zero gravity and use guns that freeze whatever they hit (temporarily incapacitating the person struck), two teen boys shoot each other in the leg and then one shoots the other in the chest; a couple of team battles occur where people are shot and frozen (they float motionless). Teen recruits are shown in hand-to-hand combat training with punches and holds and one teen holds another on the floor with his hands on his throat. A teen girl in a battle room takes target practice and then teaches a teen by how to shoot. Several young men compete to see who can re-build their guns faster.
► A teen boy says of his enemy, "I destroy them, then make it impossible for them to hurt me again." A sergeant yells at recruits (teenagers) and calls them names, says, "I will neuter you," and refers to them as "cowardly." A teen boy yells at another teen boy after he beats him at a computer battle simulation; he asks for a re-match but the teen refuses and leaves the room. A commander yells at and speaks sternly to a recruit in several scenes. A young man threatens a teen boy repeatedly in several scenes. A man talks about the "invasion of Earth" and the "prevention of future wars." A man talks about his father dying in the war. We hear a reference to an alien population "breeding themselves into extinction." A teen boy threatens his commander. A teen boy yells at his commander.
► A teen boy is shown with an implant on the back of his neck and it is referred to as a "monitor." A teen boy studies an alien's anatomy on a computer. A man is shown with full facial tattoos.
► Several teens are launched into space in a space vessel; we see them enter zero gravity and one of the boys vomits into a bag (we hear gagging and see droplets of vomit float out of the bag before he closes it and goo is shown on his lips).
► We hear a voice-over that says 10s of millions of people died during a war (an alien invasion). A man talks about needing to "conquer or die." A teen boy says, "I should never have been born." A man talks about recruits not being friends but rather competition. A teen boy says that other recruits cheated on a test (they did not). A teen boy types (we see it on computer screens) about another teen boy that "Your mother cheated and that's why you look like a plumber." A teen boy types (we see it on computer screens) that another teen is "the captain of the vomit comet." A teen boy types (we see it on computer screens) that another teen boy is "proof that chimps can fly." A reference is made to there being "one girl on a team." A woman attempts to console a teen boy and she is yelled at by a man. A commander tells a recruit that "the fleet owns you." We hear that 1,000 men died in a battle with an alien army.
PROFANITY 3 - 1 scatological term, 3 anatomical terms, name-calling (genius, drop out, bug, smart [anatomical term deleted], misfits, oddballs, snots, useless snot, fool, loser, a Spanish insult that is not translated is used twice), 1 religious exclamation (My God). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A woman injects a teen boy in the neck and he falls unconscious.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Using children in war, humility, ego, genius, jealousy, population control, shame, disappointment, tactics, privacy rights, alien invasion, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, heroism, leading, sleep deprivation, emotional reality, effects of traumatic situations on young people, respect authority, rules, morality, weakness, strength, molecular destruction, real war vs. simulation, genocide, promises.
MESSAGE - Winning isn't all that matters.