Gavin Hood’s adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s much-loved sci-fi novel Ender’s Game hasn’t been in the news much since the Summit Entertainment panel at San Diego Comic-Con back in late July. That’s probably something of a relief to the studio, for a while the film was in the media for all the wrong reasons. It seemed like every couple of days Card, a very public opponent of gay rights, specifically gay marriage, would issue a statement that created a firestorm and the studio would have to swoop in and do damage control. Now the studio has released a brand new poster that reminds you, despite the title, this is not a game.
This isn’t anything all that special. In fact it’s not even a particularly good poster. The image falls into that category of big blockbuster movies that try to cram everything into a single one sheet. There are a bunch of floating heads and bodies, including all the major players—Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin—as well as some out of context blasts of action, just to make it seem more exciting. The end result is jumbled, messy looking, and is essentially a recycled type that many movies use (Iron Man 3 did something similar earlier this year). Then again, Ender’s Game has also jumped hard on the hero-with-his-back-to-you poster train that is unfortunately popular these days.
There’s something about this poster, about the design and the layout that makes it look like the cover of a quick, cheap novelization of a film, the kind that you used to see at supermarket checkout stands. I guess in this case it would probably be more like the cover they’d slap on the movie tie in version of the novel. Let’s hope the movie is better than this poster.
After Earth survives an attack from an alien species called Formics—it’s a victory, but a costly one—the powers that be set in motion a plan to make sure that this never happens again. That means recruiting young cadets, training them, and looking for hidden strategic brilliance that only the mind of a child could come up with. Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) is one such cadet. Shy, reserved, and younger than his compatriots, he’s also a tactical genius, and faces obstacles—like bullies—at every turn as the commanders attempt to find out how far they can push him before he breaks.
Given the subject matter, and the way Summit is marketing the film, it is obvious that this is another in a long line of attempts to grab a piece of the young adult sci-fi market currently dominated by The Hunger Games. Ender’s Game, however, looks to have an advantage over the likes of Divergent and The Maze Runner. Sure, those upcoming films are based on hugely popular books, but they’re nothing on the level of Card’s, which, published in 1985, has generations of fans and is considered a classic. Ender’s Game is also much better written than the others. So even despite multiple boycotts, there is a sizeable fan base already out there waiting.
Ender’s Game opens November 1.