Author Orson Scott Card once called his classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game “unfilmable,” because of how much of the story takes place in Ender’s head. Yet he still wrote draft after draft as the property maneuvered through development hell, and this November, Gavin Hood’s adaptation finally comes to fruition. If you were hoping all the international political intrigue or the complex moral dilemmas of children committing genocide would make it in, well, maybe you should have known better. This trailer suggests a version of Ender’s Game that’s been strip-mined for tentpole parts, thoroughly streamlined to concentrate on Ender’s military training to lead the fight against an incoming alien invasion.
Explosions and spaceship dogfights are everywhere alongside glimpses of each major character, while any depth—in the preview, at least—is drowned out by action and implied gravitas, much of the latter courtesy of Harrison Ford’s narration. Elsewhere, Ben Kingsley’s tribal face tattoos are certainly a puzzling choice, but the production design for the Battle Room looks pretty slick, so maybe they got some things right. And hey, we’re not saying that the trailer spoils the entire plot, but the final shot shows the climactic event of the book, so, you know, spoiler alert.