The very first trailer for the Lion’s Gate movie adaptation of Ender’s Game has debuted and… it leaves me uneasy. And that’s perfect.
From this trailer the movie looks to be a by-the-numbers action flick that tells you in no uncertain terms that these kids are being trained to command fleets against a proven alien threat and that Ender is the best amongst them all. (The trailer even ends with Ender lining an entire fleet up… then taking it out in one shot.)
The brilliance of this straightforward approach is that it presents a different reality to you depending on your age and how much you know about the source material.
In the trailer, Ender is portrayed as A Very Special Boy. He’s the most gifted kid in a group of gifted kids that have to use their smarts and skills to save the planet. I’m not sure it’s even possible to set someone up for a more heroic role, and if I was a kid I’d undoubtedly see myself as Ender in a heartbeat. The trailer assists this reaction by having Ender say very little, keeping any specific characterization at bay and making Ender more of a template to insert yourself into.
Seeing the trailer as an adult evokes all the usual excited pulse-quickening reactions that these kinds of trailer do, but it’s overlaid with the unsettling realization that you’re getting excited about seeing children go to war. It leaves you tense and distinctly uneasy, which is a perfect evocation of what the plot of Ender’s Game ultimately ends up doing.
And if you’ve read the book and know what Ender is actually doing in this trailer then that unease ratchets up even more.
The ability to convey a myriad of different stories with one trailer gives you a lot of hope that the Ender’s Game movie is going to be an adaptation that does a great job at staying true to the themes and overall message of the book, even if a few of the details may be different. So far, that’s proving to be the case.
Here are some shots from the trailer. Click for larger versions!