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The Ender’s Game Movie: New Director, New Worries

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Most of you reading this article are likely fans of the Orson Scott Card novel “Ender’s Game.” That also means that most of you are frustrated beyond belief that the Ender’s Game movie has spent years in development hell. The book is, to be frank, one of the best books in existence. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say it is my favorite book of all time. Even more than “All the King’s Men,” which is a pretty damn good book.

A few years ago, I was desperate for an Ender’s Game movie to make it to the big screen. Now, and after years of thought, I dread it more and more.

The book is amazing, but is it a book that should be turned into a movie? It’s a sci-fi epic – one of the best sci-fi novels ever written (I’d say the best, but I haven’t read a lot of sci-fi) – and many sci-fi epics have the potential to transfer well to the big screen. That doesn’t mean all sci-fi stories are adapted well, but they have the potential to be.

But Ender’s Game is a challenging one. It has action, it is extremely exciting, but at its heart it is also a political drama. An immensely complex one. It also is a war film where every main character is a child and the bad guys are never shown on screen.

That’s hard to pull off.

It was reported yesterday – by the site 24 Frames – that Gavin Hood has been signed by independent production company Odd Lot Entertainment to write and possibly direct Ender’s Game, which was previously attached to Wolfgang Petersen but never got off the ground.

A year and a half ago, this would have been great news. Gavin Hood directed the Oscar-winning foreign language film Tsotsi, a well-acted, superbly directed and politically charged drama. That’s the kind of director needed for Ender’s Game, a film that doesn’t and shouldn’t be effects heavy and instead rely heavily on character interactions. Unfortunately, Hood also directed X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie which showed how out of his depth he was when handed a large budget and a mainstream story. The movie was not good, which does not bode well for a story that should be even more epic.

Regardless of Gavin Hood’s involvement, it’s scary to think of that day that Ender’s Game actually arrives in theaters. It’s an amazing book. It’ll be hard for a movie to live up expectations and potential. It’s a movie that has a 10% chance of being good and a 90% chance of failing hard.

Is it worth the risk?

By Erik Samdahl
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