Ender’s Game is definitely not your average sci-fi novel. You learn barely anything about the alien race, there’s not much weird futuristic tech, and the main characters are all children. Yup, children. As young as 6 years old.
I discovered Ender’s Game when I was about 11 or 12. I think I’d recently had my birthday, because I had a book voucher to spend. Searching through the local bookshop for something new (I was an avid reader, so had worked my way through most of the good ones) I uncovered a book with an embossed, grey, dragon head on the cover. It looked interesting – plus it was discounted because of a small tear! – so I bought it. And loved it.
Sure, I may have been a bit young to understand everything when I first read it. But it wasn’t like anything in it was too explicit or ‘dark’ for a younger kid; it was just a bit over my head. Re-reading the book each year, I’ve fallen totally head-over-heels for it, along with the rest of the series and the wider universe which author Orson Scott Card has developed.
What makes Ender’s Game so wonderful is… well, everything really. A big part of it is that these children are conscripted into war and trained mercilessly; you, as the reader, then get to explore their reactions and growth as all this is going on. Add on top of that some epic twists and intrigue, a fleshed-out and realistic future, realistic emotion, and artful writing, and you’ve got the beauty that is: Ender’s Game.
Plus the fact that it’ll totally screw with your mind, in an awesome I-can’t-believe-it-omigosh sort of way.
OK, enough of the fanboy love-letter.
The reason I started writing about this is because the first trailer for the Ender’s Game films has just been released. I’ve been waiting for a film since I first read the book, and when I heard a couple of years ago that it may be happening, I was… well, excited, to put it lightly.
Asa Butterfield as Ender? Abigail Breslin as Valentine? Harrison Ford as Graff? Awesome, awesome, awesome. Sir Ben Kingsley as Mazer I’m not sure about (why not try find an actual Maori to play the Maori character?!), especially after his round as the Mandarin in stupid Iron Man 3 stupidness, but I’ll hold off on judgment. But after watching the trailer this morning, I’m rather hesitant about the whole thing.
The power of Ender’s Game is brought about by three things:
- It’s more about the psychological and intellectual journey and conflict, than it is about anything physical.
- You don’t really learn much about the ‘Buggers’ (aliens), only slowly piecing together information. The reason for this is that there are other, more immediate enemies.
- You’re always unsure of who’s lying, who’s pulling the strings, how the characters are being manipulated.
The trailer (which you can check out below) seems to ignore all these three things. It shows fast-paced action, quick camera movements, and close-ups (a la Star Trek) which imply a more action-based story. It shows us a battle with the Buggers on Earth (WHY?! Nooooo….). It seems to show no real intrigue or distrust. Plus, that Inception-style ‘brrrrrr’ sound? Really?
I know that this is only the first trailer, I know that they can’t show everything in a single trailer, I know all of that. But unless they’re planning to pull an Iron Man 3 and make the film totally unlike the trailer, I can’t see how this film will be anything like the beloved book. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.