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The success of Ender's Game rests on the shoulders of one grand assumption: that everybody in the audience, everybody in the world, wishes they could have gone to space camp. And for the most part, that's true. The idea of space camp was, even to those of us stricken with cloying vertigo, heaven. We all wanted to don astronaut suits and float through anti-gravity rooms, blasting away at each other with lasers and learning the tricks of the extraterrestrial warfare trade. Those dazzling dreams are the principal meat of Gavin Hood's adaptation of the controversial classic — the majority of the time we spend with Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), we're alongside him in battle school. We're watching video footage of a battalion laying waste to an army of invaders, and zipping weightlessly along in high-stakes games of space rugby. So, through these chapters, we're having fun.
And it's not entirely untethered fun. Along the way, Ender endures the sort of coming-of-age traumas we've seen in every preteen protagonist from Sean Astin to Daniel Radcliffe. He doesn't fit in. He doesn't know who he is. He doesn't like what he's becoming. It's not difficult material to wrestle with, but it's just enough substance to give us a reason for caring about whether or not he beats the Napoleonic school bully in tactical games, or wins special affection from fellow soldier Hailee Steinfeld.
But this story of a growing boy struggling with his intellectual gifts and emotional curses finds itself planted clumsily in the middle of a movie that wants to be about something else. Even if you've read the book, or heard the "big reveal" from loud-mouthed friends of yours who don't revere spoiler etiquette, you'll be surprised by the ending for Ender. Because it comes out of nowhere.
The character's emotional journey is bound so tenuously to the narrative around him that you'll be confused at exactly what is going on when the two collide. You'll question whether or not you nodded during a scene that might have tied everything together, or challenge your own capacity for picking up subtle signals. Don't be so hard on yourself; Ender's Game wants to conquer two worlds (one inside its hero, the other outside its spaceships), but doesn't dive far enough into either to make it so. The script only scratches the surface of its science-fiction backdrop, and only the broadest of strokes are painted with Ender — he's not a complex enough character to warrant the psychological suspension of disbelief that the film eventually asks of its viewer.
But he doesn't need to be, nor do these tasks really need to be conquered, for Ender's Game to be a good time. With just enough of a sob story to ground the movie, a surprisingly warm performance by the larger-than-life headmaster (Harrison Ford) — that is, when he's not standing up slowly and peering in awe directly through the camera — and, most importantly, all the anti-gravity fun you can ask for, Ender's Game works just fine for anyone looking to float free from the world for two hours.
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The ensemble cast of acclaimed new movie August: Osage County is to be honoured at the upcoming Hollywood Film Awards. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor, among others, will receive the Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award on 21 October (13).
The big-screen adaptation of Tracy Letts' Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which has been hotly tipped to win the 2014 Best Picture Oscar, also features Juliette Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin and Sam Shepard.
The film, which premiered at September's (13) Toronto International Film Festival in Canada, will open in America on Christmas Day (25Dec13).
Previous recipients of the Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award include Crash, Bobby, Hairspray, The Help and Argo (2012).
Other 2013 honourees who have already been announced include: 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o, Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Dallas Buyers Club stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.
The next invasion is imminent in a set of glossy new posters for Ender's Game.
In the film, based on the middle school classic written by Orson Scott Card, humanity managed to fend off a looming extraterrestrial threat, but only by the skin of their teeth. Now, in order to prepare for the next invasion, the international fleet selects the most gifted children from across the world to take part in battle school, a training ground for the future commanders of Earth's military. The weight of mankind's survival rests on the tiny shoulders of Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), the most gifted of the battle school students. Joining Asa is an all-star cast featuring Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, and Sir Ben Kingsley.
The new posters are scrawled with a couple of propaganda-style slogans that should stir hearts an enliven the war effort. The first poster features a "Bugger" spacecraft being blasted into pieces along with the rallying call, "It's us or them." The other features a troop of battle school students marching in front of a futuristic military facility with the words "Seeking Leaders" emblazoned on the top. I can almost hear the thumping drums and pomp and circumstance through the pixels.
The film has had its own share of controversy due to the unsavory views of the book's author, but as long as the film culls from what's inside the novel and not the distractions outside of it, Ender's Game should be a great character-driven sci-fi spectacle.
More:Should We Boycott 'Ender's Game'The Video Game References in 'Ender's Game' TrailerAsa Butterfield Reveals Painful 'Ender's Game' Training Regiment
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Teen actress Abigail Breslin was forced to pull out of a planned appearance at the annual Comic Con event in San Diego, California on Wednesday (17Jul13) due to illness. The Little Miss Sunshine star had been expected to join her Ender's Game co-stars Harrison Ford and Hailee Steinfeld at the comic book convention to promote the upcoming sci-fi adventure, but she was too sick to join the question and answer session.
Taking to her Twitter.com page on Wednesday afternoon, she wrote, "Was so excited to meet everyone at Comic Con but I'm struggling with a stomach bug... Valentine (her character) will be there in spirit!"
The news was a blow to fans of the original graphic novel as creator Orson Scott Card had already been left out of the Comic Con session amid controversy surrounding his outspoken views against gay marriage.
His personal beliefs have already caused activists from the Geeks OUT organisation to launch an online campaign asking moviegoers to boycott the film.
Studio executives behind Harrison Ford's new sci-fi adventure Ender's Game have promised to hold a special screening of the film in aid of gay rights charities following heavy criticism of the story's controversial author. Activists from Geeks OUT have launched an online campaign asking moviegoers to boycott the film as part of a protest against the man who wrote the original book, Orson Scott Card, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage.
Officials at Lionsgate have now spoken out about the campaign, insisting the movie has nothing to do with Card's personal beliefs, and promising to host a charity premiere to raise money for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organisations.
A statement from the studio reads, "As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community, champions of films ranging from Gods and Monsters to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and a company that is proud to have recognized same-sex unions and domestic partnerships within its employee benefits policies for many years, we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card...
"However, they are completely irrelevant to a discussion of Ender's Game. The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form... Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for Ender's Game."
Card says of the boycott, "Ender's Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984."
Ender's Game, which also stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Abigail Breslin, is due to hit cinemas in November (13).
Orson Scott Card has already come under serious fire for his open opposition to marriage equality, and his generally homophobic comments. The Ender's Game author wrote a controversial piece in Mormon Times on the subject and is on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex unions. In response to Card's views, a small online group called GEEKS Out launched an initiative to have people boycott the upcoming film adaptation of Ender's Game.
In response to this movement and in light of the recent Supreme Court rulings on same sex marriage, the bestselling author has spoken out once again: "Ender's Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984," Card said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly, "With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state. Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute."
The way we see it, there are two sides to this movie boycott issue. On the one hand, it's a real shame that Ender's Game fans are missing the opportunity to watch their beloved characters come to life on the big screen, or that they're being made to feel guilty for going to see the movie. After all, the film doesn't espouse or even begin to address Card's ideas about homosexuality. On the other hand, it's pretty disturbing that the creator of this story is a proponent of antiquated anti-sodomy laws and once claimed that "many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse" and "many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally."
How much should Orson Scott Card's comments impact our decision to see (or not to see) Ender's Game? After all, Lars von Trier made some off-putting comments about being able to "understand Hitler," but he's still an undoubtedly brilliant and successful filmmaker. And despite the homophobic controversy surrounding the president of Chick-fil-A, people are still flocking to the fast-food chain for some delicious, cholesterol-filled, heart attack-inducing chicken nuggets. But can we really put money into the pockets of such controversial figures and still have peace of mind? By buying these products, whether they be movie tickets or fried chicken, are we actually supporting agendas that we philosophically disagree with? Is there even an answer to these questions?
Ender's Game is a 1985 science fiction novel about a boy drafted into military school to fight an alien invasion in an apocalyptic future. The upcoming adaptation stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, and Abigail Breslin. With the film's November release date approaching and this extra fuel added to the fire, it will be interesting to see how Orson Scott Card's political opinions affect the movie's box office performance and publicity campaign.
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Harrison Ford's latest movie Ender's Game has been targeted by gay rights activists who are urging fans to boycott the movie over the controversial views of the author behind the story. The sci-fi thriller, which also stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Abigail Breslin, is based on Orson Scott Card's 1985 book of the same name and the film has been targeted by campaigners over the novelist's opinions on gay marriage.
Card has been an outspoken opponent of same-sex unions for many years and in 2009, he joined the board of America's National Organization for Marriage, which was created to support California's Proposition 8 legislation to ban gay marriage.
Activists from the Geeks OUT campaign group have now launched an online drive called Skip Ender's Game asking moviegoers to boycott the film.
A post on the campaign's website reads, "Do not buy a ticket at the theatre, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand. Ignore all merchandise and toys... By pledging to Skip Ender's Game, we can send a clear and serious message to Card and those that do business with his brand of anti-gay activism - whatever he's selling, we're not buying."
This isn't the first time the author's conservative stance on the gay community has sparked controversy - in March (13), illustrator Chris Sprouse reportedly dropped out of work on an upcoming Adventures of Superman comic co-written by Card amid media criticism of the novelist's anti-gay views.
Ender's Game is due to hit cinemas in November (13).
Alien wars can be a total downer: defending the earth against those intent on destroying humanity is a serious business. Especially in the world of Ender's Game, the Orson Scott Card epic-novel-series-turned-movie coming out this fall.
RELATED: How Orson Scott Card's Anti-Gay Views Affect 'Ender's Game'
For those who were too busy during high school to actually do any of the required reading (I mean, that's why the 90s created Sparknotes, right?), the novel focuses on a wonderfully-named young boy, Ender Wiggin who is tasked with saving the Earth from yet-another invasion of the Formics (a race of aliens with a hive mind) — something humankind has barely survived twice before — thanks to his prowess on the genius front. A military mind is a terrible thing to waste, eh?
RELATED: 'Ender's Game' Finally Out of Development Hell
The poster for Ender's Game focuses on the out-of-this-world element: showing young Ender standing on the edge of it all, looking down on earth and all he must protect. Take a look for yourself.
The film stars Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley, and blasts into theaters on November 1, 2013. Are you looking forward to Ender's Game? Let us know in the comments!
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[Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment]
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Hugo star Asa Butterfield has been cast as lead character Ender Wiggin, a gifted and genius young boy who begins training at a military academy in a bid to take down an alien race, and now action star Ford has been tapped to play the school's student recruiter, Colonel Hyrum Graff.
Little Miss Sunshine's Breslin will play Ender's sister Valentine and True Grit beauty Hailee Steinfeld will portray the boy's friend, Petra Arkanian.
The Ender's Game is set for a 2013 release, reports Variety.com.
UPDATE: It was reported today that Harrison Ford is officially signed on for a part in Gavin Hood's Ender's Game. Ford will be playing Col. Hyrum Graff, the administrator at a special battle school that recruits and trains the titular Ender (Asa Butterfield of Hugo) in warfare against a hostile alien species. Ford is among a few impressive newcomers to the cast; others include Abigail Breslin (as Ender's sister), Hailee Steinfeld (as Ender's "gal Friday" of sorts). -Variety
EARLIER: It was reported last night that Gavin Hood's developing film adaptation for Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel Ender's Game has cast Asa Butterfield. Aside from the humor in the fact that the adaptation of a book that won the Hugo Award is casting an actor that might very well win an award for Hugo, this is some pretty terrific news. But there's more optimism attached to this project, and it comes in the form of a classic Hollywood hero: Harrison Ford.
Ford is being considered by Ender's Game producers to fill the role of Colonel Hyrum Graff (which is one of the Harrison Fordiest character names I've ever heard). In the novel, Graff is the tyrannical, strategic leader of the military camp in which the main character Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) enrolls in training to become one of a fleet of planetary saviors.
Back in the old days, Ford was the ruffian renegade running amok of no-nonsense leaders and military men. But as time passes, it seems as though the latter type of role is more suitable for the actor. Ford can dole out some serious hostility, which will come in handy for Col. Graff. Although he's just a potential candidate for the role right now, the teaming of a celebrated work of science fiction with one of the greatest actors of the fantasy/adventure genre is worth getting excited about.