If Summit Entertainment has their way, they’re upcoming adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classic science fiction novel Ender’s Game will be the start of a lucrative new film franchise. It has all of the elements in place, including a fantastic cast, beloved source material, and budget epic enough to render all of the action in 3D on an IMAX screen. With all of the exotic, fantastic settings in Card’s book, if they don’t pull off the visual side of the equation, nothing else is going to work. If this new collection of finished VFX images is any indication, we shouldn’t have to worry too much about that in that regard.
This gallery gives you a wide range of views from Ender’s Game. There are looks at the dystopian future here on Earth; a couple of glimpses at Battle School, the orbiting military academy the protagonist Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) attends; the surfaces of an alien world, some barren and desert-esque, others frigid frozen wastelands; and extraterrestrial spacecraft obviously up to no good.
These images play right along with much of the footage that we’ve already scene. There have been shots of ships battling it out in space, cadets bounding around in zero gravity simulations, and other random futuristic shenanigans, and the idea of watching this all go down on a multiple story tall IMAX screen sounds pretty damn enticing.
In Ender’s Game, Earth has survived a brutal invasion by an alien race called Formics. We may have come out on top, but it was a costly victory, one that the powers that be are not overly enthusiastic about repeating anytime soon. If it wasn’t for the heroics of one man, International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), the day would have been lost. In order to prevent another occurrence like this from happening again, the military has begun the search for a new Rackham, someone with a fresh approach that no one has thought of yet.
This quest leads them to an unexpected source, children. With their young, uncorrupted minds, these recruits rely on instinct and intuition rather than some strategy they learned out of a book. Ender is a particularly gifted recruit, a tactical genius with a certain moral flexibility that military leaders require. He easily masters the tasks at Battle School, but younger, smaller, and painfully shy, he gets bullied by resentful classmates, and driven as near to his breaking point as his instructors can push him. As action-packed and epic as the story is, the real heart of the narrative is Ender’s search for a place in the world.
Fans of the book will notice that there are significant plot changes from page to screen. We’ll see how they impact the overall story, but, given what we know, some of them make sense. For the most part it seems like the alterations are designed to push the pace and action onscreen. You can hardly fault them for that, and as long as they stay true to the spirit of the novel, there shouldn’t be too much drama.
Directed by Gavin Hood, Ender’s Game opens November 1, and stars Butterfield, Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and more.