As September draws to an underwhelming close, movie studios are gearing up for the real start of fall, where they begin to release their end of the year awards-bait. But fall and winter also have plenty of space for big Hollywood blockbusters as well, and if Lionsgate has anything to do with it, director Gavin Hood’s (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved sci-fi coming of age story, Ender’s Game, will be one of the more profitable films of the last quarter of 2013. The film opens in just over a month on November 1, and the hype machine is kicking into high gear. There’s a new TV spot to check out, as well as a new UK quad poster.
This commercial is made up primarily of footage we’ve seen before, and it definitely skews towards the action side of the film. We’re talking about huge battle scenes and lots of high-octane alien dog fighting. That is the main plot point of the film, after all, that aliens invaded, humanity beat them back, and in order to prevent this from happening again the military begins recruiting bright young minds like Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield). It makes sense they want to showcase the spectacle.
On the surface this video doesn’t tell you much about the movie, but it does bring up one key issue, the changes made transitioning from page to screen. Ender’s Game, the novel, isn’t nearly that action packed. There are some sequences in the battle room, but there isn’t anything that comes anywhere close to the scale that we see here.
And now I’m going to ruin some things if you haven’t read the book. You’ve been warned.
When Ender says that he’ll do anything he can to win this war, you know he means what he says. He’s driven, calculating, and some have even said sociopathic and maniacal. The thing is, in the book, he doesn’t know that he’s fighting in a war, and it concerns me what this decision will do to the story and the character. In Card’s novel, when Ender gets to the point of controlling armadas and ships, he thinks that he’s entered a new, more intense phase of training.
You get that putting him in the action, placing him in harm’s way, ups the stakes from a dramatic perspective, and watching humans and aliens clash on screen is certainly more interesting than watching a kid alone in a room playing games. But it’s a huge moment when Ender’s superiors inform him that he’s been in control of the fleet all this time. It’s a profound reveal, that he hasn’t been moving pieces around and that these are actual ships and lives that have been lost. Not only does it illustrate how far the powers that be are willing to push the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable, but it has a huge impact on Ender, his emotional arc, and his future. You can’t help but feel like the movie is going to lose something fundamental and important because of this change.
This new UK poster is also similar to what we’ve already seen. The basic construction is close to a US poster the came out a little while back, though this one is certainly slick and comes across as less of a thrown together jumble. In the previous image all of the elements felt cramped and forced into too small of a space. Using the horizontal layout gives the pieces room to breathe and provides the space for your eye to roam from edge to edge instead of assaulting you a little bit of everything from the film.