‘Ender’s Game’: New propaganda posters appeal to honor, fear

Sept. 12, 2013 | 10:00 a.m.
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Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian in a poster for "Ender's Game." (Summit Entertainment)

An exploding spacecraft and a regiment of troops are the subjects of two new posters for the film “Ender’s Game.”

Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at the posters (check them out in the gallery above). “Ender’s Game,” based on Orson Scott Card’s award-winning 1985 science-fiction novel, hits theaters in less than two months, and the Hollywood hype machine is kicking into high gear.

Today’s posters are the latest in a series of recruitment and propaganda images for the International Fleet — the film’s global government and military organization, formed to unite Earth’s citizens after a devastating alien attack nearly destroyed humanity. In the film, the International Fleet actively recruits the world’s brightest young minds and, in an orbiting Battle School, molds them to become the Fleet’s future leaders.

Much like war propaganda posters of yore, the “Ender’s Game” posters aim to vilify the enemy — in this case, an insect-like alien race known as Formics or Buggers — and to appeal to a sense of duty and honor; the new poster with the exploding spaceship features the slogan, “It’s us or them” in big, bold letters. Others include phrases like, “Seeking leaders,” “Join the next generation of heroes,” “Protect Earth” and, with an image of an alien ship attacking an Earth city, “Never again!” All of the International Fleet posters promise, “The next invasion is imminent.”

The posters follow the release of a Battle School aptitude test as well as two videos in which Harrison Ford’s Col. Hyrum Graff warns, “When the enemy first invaded, we were not ready. Millions of innocent lives were lost. That must never be allowed to happen again.” (Watch the videos above and below.)

The videos and posters are meant to be the kind of propaganda the film’s protagonist Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) would have been subject to, growing up in post-invasion Earth. But unlike most children, the strategically brilliant Ender is a “third” — a third child in his family, allowed by the International Fleet to exist (despite population limits) due to the extraordinary potential his genes offer. You could say he was bred for Battle School.

“One of the points of the book is that power wielded aggressively and without compassion is ultimately doomed to fail,” director Gavin Hood told Hero Complex last month. “We as a species are capable of terrible acts of violence but also incredible acts of kindness. I don’t want people to feel we’re setting up Ender as a good person. He’s a really great leader, but his ambition gets the better of him.”

The film, which also stars “True Grit’s” Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin, has generated some controversy after gay rights groups have called for boycotts, due to author Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay marriage stance. In response, the “Ender’s Game” filmmakers and Summit Entertainment have distanced themselves from Card, emphasizing the film’s positive themes.

“I would hate to see the efforts of all the people who made this movie thwarted for the less than 1% of the people behind the movie, particularly because the message of the book and the movie is tolerance, compassion and empathy,” producer Bob Orci told the audience for the “Ender’s Game” panel presentation at Comic-Con International in San Diego this summer.

The film is due in theaters Nov. 1. In the meantime, “Ender’s Game” fans enlist as cadets, join a Battle School army and compete in a simulated battle room to unlock new content on the International Fleet website.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+


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‘Ender’s Game’ producer says movie is about tolerance

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‘Ender’s Game’: Battle School army logos

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3 Responses to ‘Ender’s Game’: New propaganda posters appeal to honor, fear

  1. Bill Clintock says:

    Orson Scott Card (the writer) quotes:
    "How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn."

    And this gem: "The dark secret of homosexual society — the one that dares not speak its name — is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally."

  2. Guest says:

    Have you read Ender's Game? More importantly are you so limited in your view of human beings and diversity that you seek to destroy, harm, regard as suspect in their honor any that disagree with you? You seem to think OSC is the bigot…talk about rubber and glue! Read the book, read all his books–or maybe you boycott primary sources because they might offend. Have the courage to be offended, you will absolutely live through it I promise and maybe you won't find the enemy you presume to have. Read the book!

  3. Elliot Kingdon says:

    I've read the book a couple of times, its great, and Speaker for the Dead (not so great), but a good book or even Hugo awards doesn't excuse his detestable attitude, an attitude he is entitled to have in a free society.
    And I'm free to say his attitude is inexcusable and no matter how much I liked the book and really want to see the film I'm not going to because I don't want to contribute or support such a vilely principled person. Apologies to those who worked on the film, but get your author to recant or your movie can go the same way as OSC's Superman book.

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