Now that Gravity is in theaters and out of the way, the next big theatrical science fiction release is Ender’s Game. Fans of Orson Scott Card’s novel have been waiting for this adaptation for a long, long time, and director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) was only too happy to oblige. With less than a month until the November 1 release date, we’ve seen trailers, posters, and pictures galore, but now Summit Entertainment has unveiled the first clip, and Harrison Ford makes a funny.
In the future, an alien race called Formics invaded Earth. While humanity was able to win the day, thanks in large part to the ingenious heroics of one Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), it was a costly victory, one that the powers that be are in no way eager to repeat. In order to prevent this from happening again, the military begins looking for the next brilliant military mind in the most unlikely of places, among the young. Promising recruits are sent to an orbiting military academy called Battle School. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is one such recruit.
Young, small, and shy, he is nonetheless a gifted military strategist with limitless potential. So of course, his instructors do their level best to drive him to his breaking point at every given opportunity. In this clip you see the beginning of one of their attempts. At Battle School the cadets are separated into armies and pitted against each other in ruthless combat exercises that take place in a zero gravity arena. Ender is given his own command at an early stage, but it’s a trick. Like you learn in this video, the instructors resurrected Dragon Army from the dead. In its entire history it has never won a single encounter, which is why the unit got the axe in the first place. The ranks are filled with smaller, inexperienced, weaker recruits, essentially the dregs and rejects that have no other home. It is a move designed to frustrate the young leader and see what he is made of.
Well guess what? Ender takes this collection of odds and ends and misfits that no thinks anything of, and turns them into a lean, mean, adolescent ass-kicking machine. Under his guidance, and because of his battle acumen, they never lose a match. Like every other challenge, Ender rises to meet it and beat it. It’s nice to see that in a movie that has made huge changes to the source material, at least some key points remain.
Out of this entire short clip, the best part is Harrison Ford, as Colonel Graff, commander of the Battle School, making what you’re like 90, 95% sure is a joke when he informs Ender that Dragon Army was revisited because they already had the uniforms. If you’ve read the book, then you know Graff is not the sort of guy prone to cracking wise or trying to make anyone laugh.