‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ Review

ENDERS_CVR_CMYK (1)[1]by Cassandra 

‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ by Jed Alger is 160 pages filled with striking visuals and captivating insight into the making of the ‘Ender’s Game’ film. At first glance the hardback cover, thick glossy pages, beautiful layout and smell all remind me of a high school yearbook. Page after page is jam-packed with interviews, stunning concept art, behind-the-scenes photography, and visual effects images. I’m happy to note that there are no unused or uninteresting spaces in this book. Even the hardcover beneath the dust jacket showcases a handsome steel-colored design. ‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ also flaunts key bonus material which include: two fully removable 11″ x 17″ International Fleet propaganda posters, stickers of all the the Battle School army logos and IF logo, and Ender’s ID badge.

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Top to bottom: Folder on the inside back cover to hold the two posters, the two posters pulled out from the folder, battle school armies and IF logo stickers, and Ender’s ID badge

Eye-catching images are the main selling-point of ‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an
Epic Adventure’. The book features full-color concept art including Ender’s home on Earth, the Mind Game, Battle School, Eros, and more. There are also several diagrams detailing the IF drones, formic fighters, formic anatomy, Battle School layout, flash gun, and flash suit design. The behind-the-scenes photographs shed light on how the production team made the battle school floors curve up, simulated zero gravity and more. The majority of the artwork, behind-the-scenes photographs, and movie stills are new to the general public.

Although ‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ is brimming with new and exciting visuals, the readable content is not lacking. The book begins with a foreword by ‘Ender’s Game’ screenwriter and director, Gavin Hood. Jed Alger explains how several of the producers steered the film into pre-production. The resulting pages are then divided into four chapters: Ender’s World, Battle School, Inside Zero-G, and Parallel Worlds. The chapters follow the ‘Ender’s Game’ production chronologically. Readers are first introduced to Ender’s life on Earth (including his school, home, and family) then Battle School (including other students, the Battle Room, and more), and finally Command School on Eros. Interviews with producers, cast, and crew are scattered throughout the chapters to show the careful consideration that went into every detail of this film. Fans who have followed the production of this film very closely will find little new content in the text of ‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’. Most of this information has been divulged in various ‘Ender’s Game’ set reports.

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Left: Aramis Knight as Bean
Top Right: Asa Butterfield as Ender in a formic mask
Bottom Right: Jimmy Pinchak as Peter

My favorite part of the book is the Mind Game concept art. I, who have been covering the ‘Ender’s Game’ film for over two years, was very surprised to learn that writer/director Gavin Hood has a small role in the movie! Alger reveals that Hood lent his voice and gestures to the giant in the Giant’s Drink component of the Mind Game. I also enjoyed some of the first images of Jimmy Pinchak as Peter Wiggin, and Aramis Knight as Bean.

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Top: Front and back with the dusk jacket
Bottom: Font and back without the dust jacket

‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ glosses over the sticky side of the ‘Ender’s Game’ production. Although the book boasts about Digital Domain’s work on the film, it never mentions Digital Domain’s file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the middle of post-production and the danger that posed to the ‘Ender’s Game’ movie. The book also does not discuss the production’s struggle with key book to film changes and the drive to please fans. Nor does the book mention public relations’ monstrous task of redirecting the call for boycott in response to Orson Scott Card’s small involvement with the film.

Overall, ‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ is a beautiful book by any standard. The book’s images are striking and the text leaves readers fantasizing about the world the ‘Ender’s Game’ production team created for the film. Fans who have not followed the ‘Ender’s Game’ production with a very close eye will be awestruck by the level of care given to even the most minute details of the film. Both the text and images are filled with spoilers, so I would not recommend this book to readers unfamiliar with the original story line, or fans who want to be surprised when the movie is released in November. At $45 ‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ is an expensive book. However, I think most ‘Ender’s Game’ fans would love to have a copy of this book in their collection. The diagrams of the ships and formic anatomy are enough to drool over. This book would make a great birthday or Christmas gift for any ‘Ender’s Game’ or science fiction fan, or movie-buff of any age. ‘Ender’s Game: Inside the World of an Epic Adventure’ by Jed Alger will be released on October 15, 2013. Pre-order it here.

Product Details

Cover: Hardcover
Pages: 160
Dimensions: 9.25″ x 11″
Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
List Price: $45


Gigi Pritzker, producer
Lynn Hendee, producer
Linda McDonough, producer
Bob Orci, producer

Clint Wallace, art director
Sean Haworth, production design
Ben Proctor, production design
David Vyle Levy, senior concept artist
Tully Summers, creature designer
Matt Coatsworth, production department
Peter Lando, set director
Don Miloyevich, props
Christine Bieslin Clark, costume designer
Garrett Warren, stunts
Trefor Proud, makeup artist

Asa Butterfield, Ender Wiggin actor
Harrison Ford, Colonel Graff actor
Sir Ben Kingsley, Mazer Rackham actor
Abigail Breslin, Valentine Wiggin actress
Hailee Steinfeld, Petra Arkanian actress
Moises Arias, Bonzo Madrid actor
Aramis Knight, Bean actor
Khylin Rhambo, Dink Meeker actor

Rob Friedman, co-chair of Lionsgate
Erik Feig, president of production for Summit Entertainment
Nancy Kirkpatrick, president of worldwide marketing for Summit Entertainment

Ed Elbrich, former CEO of Digital Domain
Phil Cramer, animation director for Digital Domain
Matthew Butler, Digital Domain
Marten Larsson, Digital Domain

Disclaimer: A special thanks to Insight Editions for providing ‘Ender’s Game: Inside The World of an Epic Adventure’ for review. All opinions are my own.

The ‘Ender’s Game’ film will be released in U.S. theaters on November 1, 2013.