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It hasn't gone unnoticed -- by me anyway -- that a lot of the footage we've seen from the upcoming feature adaptation of Ender's Game has focused on the threat of alien invasion and the space war side of this story. So I'm especially excited to see the above clip from the film, which focuses on the lead character's training in Battle School, which is actually a big part of the story in Orson Scott Card's book.
Ender's Game is set in the future where gifted children are being sent to a space-set Battle School to train for the anticipated war against an alien race. The story centers on Asa Butterfield's character Ender Wiggin, an exceptionally gifted and compassionate child who proves to be particularly good at strategy, a useful talent at Battle School. As mentioned, a lot of what we've seen in the promos thus far teases the grand and potentially visually spectacular space war. But what about Ender's training at Battle School? That's where the above clip fits in.
Harrison Ford's Colonel Graff points out Ender's exceptional performance in class -- love the futuristic desktop Graff's poking at! -- but also notes Ender's "habit of upsetting his commander." Ender responds flatly that he finds it hard to respect someone just because he outranks them. In another situation, Graff might tell this young soldier to fall in line or pack his bags, but in this story, Graff's among the people trying to sniff out leaders, and it seems like he sees something in Ender that suggests this boy might be better suited running his own Army. Why not give him Dragon Army? They already have the uniforms. I like the dry humor there, as it really suits Ford and could serve to ease some of the tension in this otherwise heavy and occasionally dark story. I also like that these two characters seem to be trying to talk to each other in flat military voices, but there are some subtle hints of emotion coming from both of them. I'm really hopeful that we see the mostly-unspoken connection between these two characters in the film.
It's also worth pointing out that Ford references Bonzo (Moises Arias), Ender's commander. Given what we know about this character from the book (no spoilers, I promise), it should be interesting to see how his story plays out in the film. And I can't wait to see Moises Arias' take on the character. While I'm better familiar with Arias from his role as Sue Heck's adorable boyfriend Matt in ABC's The Middle, our own Kristy Puchko said Arias is "a total scene stealer" in Kings of Summer. Bonzo could be another memorable role for the actor.
And then, of course, there's the mention of Dragon Army, which Graff explains has a history of losing. This scene hints at what could be a slight deviation from the book, as I think the original story has Ender transferring to Rat Army from Bonzo's Salamander Army. Presumably, that plot's being condensed for the sake of the movie, and it's probably a minor deviation, assuming they find other ways for Ender's path to cross with his allies.
Ender's Game arrives in theaters November 1. There's still plenty of time to check out the book if you haven't read it already.