Here it is, the first trailer for Ender’s Game, the best-selling novel from of-late-controversial author Orson Scott Card. It’s one of those genre classics that so many of us have read, all of us will inevitably bring our own expectations to the film, and it’s inevitable that much of it isn’t going to line up exactly with what we had playing in the theater of our mind’s eye. All Ender’s Game can strive for is to be the best version of Ender’s Game the filmmaker’s and cast can make. Now that we’ve gotten our first substantial look at it, what do you think?
It was a little jarring seeing the initial sequence of Formic attackers blasting very modern-looking fighter jets, and I had to go refresh my memory about how far into the future the book was supposed to be set. It’s not that it is incompatible with the rest of the film’s visual universe, it just initially made me wonder if I’d loaded up the right video.
Aside from that minor personal hiccup, the rest of the trailer shows promise, but it could still easily go either way at this point. This is a story that is very much going to hinge on the script and the performances, especially Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin. I’ve got my fingers crossed, but this two-minute preview, while interesting, doesn’t drop my jaw like some of the other big recent trailers have.
I’m still not sure what I think about the design of the Battle Room. It’s been too long since I read the book, so I can’t recall if it was described as being “open air” like it is here, a geometric structure actually built into the middle of the ship/station. It’s a cool look, but again, it will all come down to execution. The biggest issue will be realizing the Battle Room sequences in a way that is exciting but also not too confusing. If they pull it off, it will be the same visceral thrill Harry Potter fans got during some of that film series’ better Quidditch sequences.
Ender’s Game hits theaters on November 1st. In addition to Butterfield, it stars Sir Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham, Harrison Ford as Col. Hyrum Graff, Abigail Breslin as Valentine Wiggin, and Hailee Stanfield as Petra Arkanian. It was written and directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine — a credit that doesn’t inspire confidence…).