Ender’s Game is a new sci-fi film based on a well know book written by Orson Scott Card in 1985. The story is set in the future and is about a war between the human race and aliens called Formics. The humans are losing the war and the International Fleet which trains soldiers to fight in the war is getting desperate. They start recruiting children from a young age to train and become leaders of the International Military. Harrison Ford plays Graff, a Colonel in the International Military who becomes interested in a kid from Earth called Ender Wiggin. Wiggin displays great potential and has a knack for military strategy. After showing the Colonel what he can do he is then recruited into the International Fleet and sent to train at the legendary Battle School in Space. After excelling at his new school Wiggin is promoted to the Command School where he is trained by Mazer Rackham played by Ben Kingsley. Wiggin is hyped up as a savior of the world and he will be chosen to lead the war effort against the Formics. Can he rise to the challenge?
The film is directed by Gavin Hood and it has an impressive cast including Ford, Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld and Asa Butterfield as Wiggin. Gavin Hood has tackled the sci-fi genre before as he directed X-Men Origins: Wolverine years ago. X-Men Origins had elements of sci-fi but it was still set in a fairly realistic world. Ender’s Game however has more traditional science fiction tropes including aliens and big space battles. It will be good to see how the director handles the material and how close the film is to the novel it is based on.
The cast are all capable of giving a good performance but it is unclear if Asa Butterfield is compelling enough to fill his role. The audience needs to believe in the character for the film to work. Unfortunately the trailer didn’t really do a good job of showing the viewer what makes Wiggin so special. The trailer also doesn’t really stand out and is lacking a wow factor. The plot is interesting enough though and the film may remind older movie fans of The Last Starfighter which had a similar plot. The special effects also look good although the aliens are not shown and there isn’t much action. The trailer focuses on briefly explaining the story and introducing the main characters. Some of the information is delivered in a rather flat narration by Harrison Ford which is reminiscent of the one he did for Blade Runner. Ford, however is a reliable actor and it is nice to see him in a sci-fi set in space again. There is nothing wrong with the trailer from a technical point of view but it is just rather bland. There will also be some movie fans who draw inevitable comparisons between this film and Hunger Games. The fact that both stories feature young warriors is apparent.
The good cast and fanbase of the novel should put bums on seats and ensure that some people will see the movie when it comes out. The film may struggle to attract people unfamiliar with the source material though especially if they are not fans of the cast. This year has a few big sci-fi releases including Pacific Rim, Elysium, Stark Trek Into Darkness and also the sci-fi comic book films like Man of Steel. The lackluster trailer for Ender’s Game will not help it stand out from the crowd and that is a shame.
Ender’s Game is based on rich source material so hopefully the story in the film can keep the viewer entertained. The story and good cast may be enough to make this film worth a look when it comes out. It is just unfortunate that the first trailer doesn’t captivate or make the most of all its positive aspects.
The film is released on November 1st so have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.