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A day after the final poster for Ender's Game landed online and just under three months ahead of the film's arrival in theaters comes the final trailer for the feature adaptation of Orson Scott Card's beloved sci-fi novel. Fans in attendance of the Summit panel at Comic-Con got a glimpse of the footage revealed in the video above, which shows off the impressive cast, including Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld and Viola Davis.
Ender's Game takes place in the distant future when man is between wars against an alien race called the Formics. Gifted children are recruited to attend a space-set battle school where they train to fight the approaching second war. Butterfield plays Ender Wiggin, an underdog of a character who proves to have a knack for Battle School. Ford plays Colonel Graff, one of the Imperial Fleet authorities tasked with keeping an eye on the recruits. Graff is especially hopeful that Ender Wiggin is the child they've been looking for to lead mankind toward victory.
The latest trailer begins with devastation, as Ford's voice reveals that the original alien invasion nearly destroyed us. "They will be back," he says, ominously. A picturesque scene reveals a figure on a dock and a very futuristic looking car pulling up. It's a stark contrast from the next shot, which is of an alien looking landscape where a very tiny figure can be seen walking. Graff tells Ender he sees things in a way they can't. "You will be the one to save mankind," he says. There are glimpses of different space crafts, some alien, some that look like IF ships. We get a look at Graff and Ben Kingsley's Mazer Rackham talking about how Ender's not ready, but then cut to Ender leading other kid soldiers through a maneuver that involves blasting a ship from below, cutting up through ice and demolishing the ship. Viola Davis' Gwen Anderson says she's never seen anyone do that. There's something the adults aren't telling Ender. Cut to Ender in his flash suit and then at about 1:17 we get to see people floating in zero gravity. Is that the battle room? There's another shot of it a couple of seconds later when Anderson questions whether they'll be anything left of Ender after it's all over. Graff's response is to question whether or not it would matter if there's nothing left of anything, which I think implies that Ender's life or sanity may be the price that has to be paid for mankind to have any kind of future. Ender seems to be determined to finish the war. The trailer ends with a swarm of ships and Ender counting down to one major blast. It's exciting stuff and the trailer offers some key moments that indicate the story about a brilliant and compassionate boy won't get buried in a lot of flashy special effects. Here's hoping.
With the focus on the war, the trailer is vague on the actual battle school training part of the story, which makes up a good portion of the source material. I'll be curious to see if the proportion of school to war is drastically skewed in the film, or if that's just the emphasis they wanted to place on the trailer. Another thing the trailer doesn't reveal is the "mind game" Ender plays while at Battle School. Those who've read the book know that one of the many ways the IF authorities get into the heads of their soldiers is through a tablet game referred to as the mind game. It's sort of an adventure game that presents various challenges and obstacles to the player. How the player attempts to get past the obstacles gives the authorities some indication of what's going on with them mentally and emotionally. When I talked to producer Roberto Orci and director Gavin Hood about the mind game, they revealed to me that they used a combination of animation and motion capture to create the mind game scenes:
Hood - It’s animated.
Orci - Motion capture.
Hood - We did motion capture.
Orci - It’s a blend of stuff.
Hood - We did motion capture, put on suits, ran around the room. They filmed it in a virtual world. Once you’ve captured that motion you can film what you captured digitally and then we handed that off to an amazing animation company in Barcelona, who’ve done the most beautiful work. Obviously, we did a lot of drawings and how's it going to be? And drawings of the mouse and all those things, but it is a shorter version than in the book, because the whole story of the book is compressed into about a one year period as opposed to happening over 18 years.
Read the full interview here. Ender's Game arrives in theaters November 1.