The Enemy’s Gate Is Down – Ender’s Game Trailer Reaction

I’ve dreamt of a movie adaptation of Ender’s Game since 2001. My brother-in-law gave the book to me as a Christmas gift and it was my first true science fiction novel. Over the past 12 years he and I have bonded over Orson Scott Card‘s stories, as well as introduced one another to new books and series. This is a long way around of saying that Ender’s Game is close to my heart. Probably closer than almost any other book that I treasure, and there are many of those. I have waited with bated breath on news of the movie version. When news broke that it would be directed by Gavin Hood I gritted my teeth. As atrocious as X-Men Origins: Wolverine was, Hood still had Tsotsi on his resume, the 2005 South African movie that won the Academy Award for best Foreign Language Film, which has to be worth something. Then Asa Butterfield was cast as Ender, ok, ok, I really enjoyed Hugo, and Butterfield carried the film well. Though where it truly shined was in Sir Ben Kingsley‘s performance. Oh, Kingsley’s in Ender’s Game too (as Mazer Rackham no less)? Things are looking up. Then Harrison ‘Freaking’ Ford was cast as Col. Hyrum Graff. Well now, can’t really argue with that. Add Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis. This is one hell of a cast. Then we waited. Today, it came, the trailer. It’s above. You probably already watched it. What did you think? Did you think the CGI looks unfinished? That Harrison Ford sounds kinda bored? What the heck is up with Mazer’s face?

The trailer is little more than a flashy red car. It’s meant to sell the action, the spectacle, and remind us that Harrison Ford still makes movies and that we’ll go see it because, well, it’s Harrison Ford. Any fan of the books know that all of the focus of this trailer is not what the book is about. The Formic War is little more than backdrop, something to inform character, not to wow us with explosions. The novel evolves beyond a war story and becomes mediation on power, exploitation, responsibility, consequence, and how empathy can be used as a weapon. Will the movie appropriately address these themes? We can hope, but for now we can’t tell.

I have all the hope in the world for Ender’s Game, but for now my breath is still bated.

One final thought, for fans of the book, the final moments of the trailer will be quite a shock.