When Gavin Hood’s adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi novel Ender’s Game drops on November 1, you may feel like you’re watching a big time summer blockbuster. From what we’ve seen thus far, the movie is full of humongous action sequences, tons of special effects, and an all-star cast. Now you can explore two of the intricately detailed sets from the film with a couple of interactive panoramas, as well as see some of this on display in more contextual manner in a fresh collection of stills, and gawk at a brand spankin’ new IMAX poster.
This IMAX poster continues the Ender’s Game trend of releasing jumbled, messy looking one sheets. You get what they’re going for, with the one small body controlling an entire armada, leading it much like a conductor, but it’s chaotic to the point of distraction. Perhaps it looks better as a full-sized image on a movie theater wall, but even blown up to as large as you can get it on your computer screen, it’s too much.
These panoramas, on the other hand, are pretty damn cool. Not only do you get a full 360-degree view, you can also look up and down, and zoom in. The crisp, clean, sterile environments give you a good indication of how Ender (Asa Butterfield) and his fellow cadets, and even the staff, live at Battle School, the orbiting military academy where the future leaders of Earth’s armies train.
First up is Colonel Graff’s (Harrison Ford) command center, where he lords his power over the young boys and girls under his command.
And then you get a peek into the barracks where Ender and Dragon Army lay their heads. The youngest and smallest, Ender is still the most gifted recruit Graff and Battle School have ever seen, and Dragon Army is yet another way to test him, to see if he will break. Resurrected from the dead, the unit is essentially full of the dregs and discards, the small and weaker that don’t have a place anywhere else. Due to his superior drive and tactical brilliance, Ender is able to whip them into an unstoppable pre-teen crushing machine, no matter what obstacles and handicaps the instructors put in his way.
In this latest collection of stills from Ender’s Game you get a varied assortment, kind of like that multi-pack of little bags of chips you can buy at the supermarket, there’s a little of everything. You see Ender in various stages of battle, including what looks like the before and during shots. There’s a shot of Colonel Graff drooling over his prize pupil, while dreaming up new and inventive ways to make the kid’s life a living hell. We even see Ender at the helm and in command. What he’s directing remains to be seen, it could be an exercise, or it could be the entire human fleet.
The photos that feature Petra (Hailee Steinfeld) are the most interesting, and the most concerning. In Card’s novel, Ender begins training at six-years-old. One of the key changes made from page to screen, is to make him an adolescent. Petra serves as his confidant, and perhaps his only real friend. It’s a platonic friendship, and many readers have even interpreted Ender’s character as gay, despite Card’s well-known anti-homosexual stance. But one look at the picture of Ender and Petra exchanging an awkward glance, you can’t help but think that they’re about to jump each other’s hormonally charged bones. I certainly hope this isn’t the case, a forced romantic angle is the last thing Ender’s Game needs.