Tag Archives: Orson Scott Card

Review: Ender’s Game

Enders_Game_Poster1Gavin Hood’s “Ender’s Game” is like a CliffsNotes version of a book that still reads well.

Asa Butterfield leads as Ender, a young boy who’s plucked from his family on earth and enrolled in Battle School in space. There, under the supervision of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford), Ender is trained to become a leader within the International Fleet so the humans can squash an alien race called The Formics and eliminate the threat of future invasions once and for all.

Orson Scott Card’s book takes place over the course of five years. Ender is recruited when he’s just six-years-old and the narrative concludes when he’s 11. The concept of a six-year-old showing signs of militaristic prowess can be tough to digest, but Card then gives Ender such a thorough and thoughtful build throughout the book that by the time Ender reaches his final exam, you know he’s ready for it. Gavin Hood, however, does not have that luxury.

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Your Guide to the “Enderverse”

Enders_GameIf you haven’t read Ender’s Game, the futuristic scenario about a boy whisked off to train to battle aliens can be a lot to digest. Here are the basics of Ender’s Game so you can kick off your studies at Battle School at the top of your class.

THE FORMICS

Years prior to Ender’s story, humans come face to face with an alien race called the Formics. An insect-like species, the Formic social structure consists of a hive queen and workers. The Formics invade Earth intending to colonize it but a human general, Mazer Rackham, defeats them. Assuming the Formics could be regrouping for another attack, the International Fleet (IF) is on the hunt for military prodigies to ship off to Battle School and train to become humanity’s last line of defense.

BATTLE SCHOOL

Kids are plucked from their families all across the globe and shipped off to this military school far off in space to cultivate tactical skills and build an army to fend off the Formics. The curriculum consists of standard classroom courses, free play time and a familiar boarding school-like camaraderie, but above all else is the unprecedented competition that takes place in the rotating room at the facility’s core called the Battle Room.

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‘Ender’s Game’ Set Visit Part 2: Battle Room Basics

Enders_Game_Battle_RoomIf you’ve read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, you know one of the biggest challenges for writer-director Gavin Hood was bringing the Battle Room to life.

When Ender (Asa Butterfield) is recruited by the International Fleet, he’s sent into space to Battle School to learn how to defend the planet against the Formics, an alien race that nearly decimated humanity and is expected to return. While there are classes in Battle School, the central element of the curriculum is actually a game.

While on the film’s NASA Michoud Assembly Facility set in New Orleans, producer Linda McDonough explained, “They have two different ‘gates.’ They accumulate points by hitting each other with these lasers. The lasers don’t injure you; they freeze parts of your suit. But if either team is able to get a man through the other team’s gate, they completely win the battle.” Now just picture all of that in a zero-gravity environment.

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Ender’s Game Set Visit, Part 1: Creating Three Worlds

Enders_Game_PosterHow do you make a movie set in the future about a six-year-old recruited by the military to wipe out an invading alien race? If the answer were simple, perhaps Ender’s Game would have been adapted to film far sooner. Orson Scott Card’s novel was first published back in 1985, after which the rights sat at Warner Bros. for 12 years, the film never making it past the development stage. Finally, the rights lapsed and Linda McDonough and her producing team snatched them up to make the movie their way — independently. As she proudly points out, “We think we may be the largest independently financed film ever put together.”

Directed by Gavin HoodEnder’s Game features a young boy named Ender (Asa Butterfield) who’s plucked from his family on Earth and shipped off to Battle School to train with the International Fleet (IF) in the hopes that he’ll be able to save the human race from the alien Formics by using their own colony, Eros, as a vantage point.

If you were keeping track, that makes three key locations — Earth, Battle School, and Eros. Even though Ender’s Game isn’t some $200 million mega budget project, the filmmakers were still hell-bent on creating fully realized versions of each realm, down to the tiniest detail.

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