You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Preview Review: New ‘Ender’s Game’ Trailer

New spin on YA sci-fi epic puts focus on main character, but still leaves questions about the film's quality

Summit desperately needed a new trailer for “Ender’s Game,” since the distribbery is looking to the sci-fi kid-lit franchise to take “Twilight’s” place, but the first trailer, released in May, raised red flags rather than excitement, and a subsequent controversy involving author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views raised threats that some might boycott the film.

The strategy of the new trailer — namely, to lead with its adult stars and some of its most impressive visual effects shots — shifts subtly here as Harrison Ford’s voiceover sets up Ender (played by “Hugo’s” Asa Butterfield) as mankind’s only hope in defeating the alien Formics. Where the previous pep-talk trailer engaged directly with the somewhat creepy idea that Ford’s character was recruiting kids to fight by showing Ender’s place within a troop of teen soldiers, this one takes the more conventional (though typically quite effective) approach of setting up its lone hero and the seemingly impossible odds before him.

Ender still looks far too young to shoulder such a responsibility (Butterfield is six years older than his character was in the book), which might explain why there are so few shots of him and the other kids doing battle. But mostly, it looks like Summit wants to impress audiences with all the work they’ve put into the visual effects, serving up a host of freshly rendered images (and a few stunning repeats) to whet appetites.

What the trailer still lacks despite its focus on Ender is any indication of how or why audiences will care about this character. Clearly, he’s special, but he seems a million light years removed from Luke Skywalker, the relatable nerf herder with whom an entire generation identified in the “Star Wars” movies. By contrast, Ender seems intense, isolated and possibly even a smidge evil (in one new shot, where he peers up from beneath a darkened brow). Fortunately, he has access to some pretty powerful CGI.

More Film

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Academy Invites Record 928 New Members

    Summit desperately needed a new trailer for “Ender’s Game,” since the distribbery is looking to the sci-fi kid-lit franchise to take “Twilight’s” place, but the first trailer, released in May, raised red flags rather than excitement, and a subsequent controversy involving author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views raised threats that some might boycott the film. […]

  • Teach Grant

    'It: Chapter 2': Teach Grant to Play Adult Henry Bowers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Summit desperately needed a new trailer for “Ender’s Game,” since the distribbery is looking to the sci-fi kid-lit franchise to take “Twilight’s” place, but the first trailer, released in May, raised red flags rather than excitement, and a subsequent controversy involving author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views raised threats that some might boycott the film. […]

  • Christoph Terhechte to Lead Revived Marrakech

    Former Berlinale Section Director to Head Revived Marrakech Film Festival

    Summit desperately needed a new trailer for “Ender’s Game,” since the distribbery is looking to the sci-fi kid-lit franchise to take “Twilight’s” place, but the first trailer, released in May, raised red flags rather than excitement, and a subsequent controversy involving author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views raised threats that some might boycott the film. […]

  • Los Angeles Animation Festival Will Honor

    Titmouse Founder Chris Prynoski to be Honored at Los Angeles Animation Festival (Exclusive)

    Summit desperately needed a new trailer for “Ender’s Game,” since the distribbery is looking to the sci-fi kid-lit franchise to take “Twilight’s” place, but the first trailer, released in May, raised red flags rather than excitement, and a subsequent controversy involving author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views raised threats that some might boycott the film. […]

  • Martin Scorsese, Sigourney Weaver to Appear

    Martin Scorsese, Sigourney Weaver, Giuseppe Tornatore Set for Rome Film Festival

    Summit desperately needed a new trailer for “Ender’s Game,” since the distribbery is looking to the sci-fi kid-lit franchise to take “Twilight’s” place, but the first trailer, released in May, raised red flags rather than excitement, and a subsequent controversy involving author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views raised threats that some might boycott the film. […]

  • Terence Stamp English actor Terence Stamp

    Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton Join Netflix's 'Murder Mystery'

    Summit desperately needed a new trailer for “Ender’s Game,” since the distribbery is looking to the sci-fi kid-lit franchise to take “Twilight’s” place, but the first trailer, released in May, raised red flags rather than excitement, and a subsequent controversy involving author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay views raised threats that some might boycott the film. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content