Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Local Director Gavin Hood Plans His Big Hollywood Comeback

After directing the awesome Tsotsi and then the not so awesome X-Men Origins: Wolverine, local boy Gavin Hood is plotting his big comeback via a film adaptation of one of the most revered sci-fi novels of all time.

Gavin Hood is all set to make a film adaptation of the book Ender's Game with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman already attached to the project as producers. In case you aren't too well versed when it comes to cult sci-fi novels, Ender's Game was written by Orson Scott Card and was published in 1985. Up to this day it is regarded as one of the finest sci-fi novels of all time although it is still quite controversial for some of its scenes that feature pre-pubescent children engaging in gratuitously violent behaviour against one another. Here's a synopsis from Wikipedia:

"In the book, humankind experiences large-scale confrontations with a largely unknown alien race called Formics (often referred to as "buggers") who nearly wipe out humanity. As a result, humankind enters a shaky alliance to combat the Formics with the formation of an international military unit, the International Fleet (IF). In the futuristic setting, humankind develops interstellar travel, faster-than-light communication (derived from the ansible from Ursula K. Le Guin's works), various new weapons and defense mechanisms, and control over gravity. Earth is governed by three separate bodies, the Hegemon, Polemarch, and Strategos, which compete for dominance during the war.

Most of the story focuses around the Battle School, a space station used as a military training complex for children. The IF tests all children on Earth and selects the brightest for the Battle School for military training. Students are organized into armies with 40 members with a commander and assigned to conduct simulated battles in zero gravity (called "null gravity" in the book). Upon graduation, students move on to either Tactical School, Combat School, Pre-Command School or Command School with three years in Pre-Command. The Battle School forms in response to the need of highly skilled officers for the wars against the Formics, and most of the officers in the IF pass through the school at one time."

South African-born Gavin Hood broke into Hollywood by winning a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for the 2005 film, Tsotsi.

He then directed CIA detention facility film, Rendition before making X-Men Origins: Wolverine. His realisation of one of Marvel comics' favourite ever characters did not receive much praise from fans. He will be under pressure again in trying to create a strong film version of Ender's Game. The comic book series, Watchmen, was published at a similar time and its film version received severe criticism, from fanboys and general critics.

Ender's Game is due in 2013, so hopefully that will give Mr Hood enough time to create a strong science fiction film. The Matrix and Avatar revitalised the genre with ground breaking special effects in 1999 and 2009 respectively. While other films may vie to do this in the current decade, Ender's Game may have a shot. Last year's Inception did take visual effects into new areas but films about apocalyptic films have the potential to play with quite a few imaginative creatures and other toys.

Lunga Gxumisa and Alistair Anderson

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