‘Ender’s Game’: War Is Child’s Play in New Teaser Trailer

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

The first teaser trailer for "Ender's Game" has been released, offering a grim but rousing vision of a future world in which barely-teenage space warriors are humanity's last hope against hostile E.T.'s.

Based on the bestselling 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card (which you should really read if you haven't already), "Ender's Game" chronicles the radical new war tactics of Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford), the military man assigned to protect the Earth from alien invaders. 70 years ago, our planet and civilization were all but wiped out by the highly advanced race; Graff's plan in anticipation of a second wave is to quite simply send in the kids.

Specifically, Graff recruits the gifted Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) to lead the charge against the scum of the universe, with the reasoning being, as Ford explains in voiceover, that we need "a new kind of soldier, one who doesn't think the way we think, fear the things we fear ... one the enemy would never expect." We agree that it's pretty safe to say that no enemy of humanity would ever expect the kid from "Hugo."

While a title card that reads "Asa Butterfield" (really, is there a more unfortunate name in Hollywood right now?) may elicit some laughs, the "Ender's Game" teaser plays it admirably straight, presenting its potentially hard-to-swallow scenario with the same super-earnestness with which Ford delivers his voiceover. It also looks like Summit Entertainment, riding high upon the YA success of the "Twilight" series, shelled out the kind of budget necessary to bring such a big story to life; the special effects, production design and all other technical elements look top-notch, and Ford provides the kind of sci-fi veteran cred that should silence any snickering non-believers who don't buy the premise.

The teaser is heavy on action and short on actual, you know, acting, providing only brief glimpses of Ford and Butterfield's co-stars, which include Hailee Steinfeld in her first post-"True Grit" appearance, Abigail Breslin and a face-tattooed Ben Kingsley, who looks to be set to out-quirk his bizarre "Iron Man Three" performance in the role of Mazer Rackham, a former war hero and Ender's chief trainer.

Stay tuned for the full-length trailer, which will probably flesh out the plot details more and be more dialogue-heavy. For now, this makes for quite the impressive ... well, tease.

"Ender's Game" will hit theaters on November 1, 2013.