Ender's Game Directed by: Gavin Hood Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley Rating: Not Yet Rated Release Date: November 1, 2013
Trailer Score: 6/10
Thoughts by TSR: Despite finding author Orson Scott Card’s personal views very difficult to stomach, I sat down and read “Ender’s Game” last week. Overall I found much of it too repetitive, but I thought the final 60 pages were great. Even though it boasts a solid cast, I haven’t had a lot of interest in this adaptation. That’s mostly due to X-Men Origins: Wolverine director Gavin Hood and producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Still, after the novel finished strong I was ready to like this trailer. I hardly found it to be outstanding, but it’s a decent two minutes.
While a lot of the slick visuals would be at home in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek or even something like Len Wiseman’s Total Recall, they get some things right. The Battle Room, for example, looks quite good. The Command School does too (though I don't love how Asa Butterfield delivers that "Now!" for semi-spoilery reasons). Harrison Ford is the most prominent cast member, and he’s doing his grumbly thing. There’s a sentence in the novel that says, “Graff’s official welcome speech sounded bored and over-rehearsed.” The minute I read that I feared Ford would take that to heart. He looks a bit more committed than in some of his other recent projects, so hopefully he delivers. Viola Davis (playing a character that is male in the novel) actually stands out the most with her one line. I get why the trailer would focus on the big picture humans vs. buggers conflict and play up the action bits, but I wish Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, and the rest of the kids were more prominent. I also would have liked to see some of Ender’s brother and sister’s political subplot – some of my favorite parts of the book focused on their net personas Locke and Demosthenes – though that’s probably asking too much from a two minute trailer.
As a first look, this does a fine job selling the spectacle. Here’s hoping the full film doesn’t forget about the more interesting, thoughtful parts of Card’s novel.