It’s nice get fresh news about Gavin Hood’s upcoming adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game that doesn’t revolve around the controversy about the author’s vehemently anti-gay politics. As the November 1 release date approaches, we’re getting more and more, and we now have what is reportedly the final poster for the science fiction adventure. We’ll see how accurate that is, but for now, lets take it at face value.
This image looks a lot like the posters that we’ve already seen, only with one major difference. Previously, Ender, played by Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, has always been facing away, but now we get to see him posed in his full-frontal battle suit. You can’t see his face, due to his reflective visor, but his stance and posture are all business, which fits with the character. Ender may be young, he may be small, but he doesn’t have time for childish things, he doesn’t play around, and he’s been called a “convincing little Napoleon in short pants.” That’s an apt description for a kid who borders on sociopathic at times, and this poster reminds you that “This is not a game.”
It is Ender’s unique collection of personality traits, along with his innate strategic abilities, that makes him a perfect recruit for Battle School, and possibly the future savior of the human race. In the future, an alien race called Formics attack Earth. Though we ultimately win, driving them back to wherever they came from, it is a costly victory, one that wouldn’t have been possible without the heroics of one man, International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley). To make sure this never happens again, the military trains you recruits who display certain aptitudes, hoping to find the next Rackham. Ender is one of these candidates. He is shy, but brilliant, and ruthless.
The biggest question I have about Ender’s Game is how close the protagonist in the film will remain to the one in the book. Ender is a reserved, quiet child, but still quite cold, vicious, even brutal at times. That part of his personality figures into his character in a big way, but I can also see it being problematic to viewers, to the point where it’s possible to imagine a major movie studio forcing filmmakers to tone it down a few degrees. Let’s hope they didn’t tinker with him too much. I know they’ve supposedly made significant changes to the story, but that particular alteration would gut a lot of what the novel accomplishes where it concerns Ender’s personal arc.
So far what we’ve seen of the film has looked pretty great, from the trailers and posters to that footage of Rackham’s dogfight with the Formics that came out around Comic-Con. If nothing else, the scenes in the battle room, with all the recruits bouncing around in zero gravity, engaged in a combat simulation, should be freaking epic.
Ender’s Game also stars Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, Nonso Anozie, Brandon Soo Hoo, Moisis Arias, and Khylin Rhambo.