Long before The Hunger Games there was Ender’s Game which oddly enough also featured children going to war. But they went to war younger, worked longer, worked harder.
Earth was attacked by a species we knew only as the buggers. Twice we were nearly wiped out, twice we pulled out victory by the skin of our teeth. Determined not to see a third such near failure and to end this thing once and for all humanity has bred and trained children for battle. The greatest among these super kids appears to be Andrew (Ender) Wiggins, a boy who combines a strange mix of empathy, intelligence and brutal efficiency. And I do mean brutal. He is only six years old when we first meet him.
I like characters with a keen intelligence that can still display an appealing vulnerability and that is Ender to a tee. But there are of course always risks when it comes to a movie made from a book. Mainly the risk of seeing a beloved novel butchered for the sake of CGI or appealing to a wider audience. I am concerned, for example, that secondary characters Alai and Bean will be sacrificed to give Valentine and Petra (who are girls) more screen time. While both girls played crucial roles in the books they also played small ones and I hope it stays that way. I also hope that just because Colonel Graff is played by Harrison Ford it doesn’t mean that he suddenly gets more screen time. Again, a crucial role in the book but not a large one. I’ve watched the trailer several times and have to admit to twinges of concern over this issue.
On the bright side they seem to have cast this film with every Academy Award winner or nominee they could find: Abigail Breslin,Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis. I have high hopes that the acting here will be exceptional. Asa Butterfield who starred in both Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas plays Ender and should be just wonderful. Strong acting doesn’t guarantee a great film but it sure doesn’t hurt.
So, this is my must see movie for the fall. What’s yours?