A teenager is thrust into a dangerous new world, becomes a savior in a desperate war and ultimately has a loss of innocence. Sound familiar? Only if you know the plots of “Harry Potter”, “Star Wars” or “The Hunger Games”. The coming-of-age tale has been told over and over in film, and now it comes again in the form of “Ender’s Game”.
Releasing today, “Ender’s Game” follows Ender Wiggin, a boy who is sent off to the space-set Battle School to train to be a military leader. He is meant to be a great general in a war against the Formics, a race of insect-like aliens who nearly obliterated Earth and are poised to strike again.  Asa Butterfield, the childhood hero of the Oscar-nominated “Hugo”, stars as Ender, with Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley as his trainers up in space. While Ender seems like a hybrid of Harry, Luke and Katniss, he’s actually a lot more than just another teenage messiah.
For those not aware, “Ender’s Game” is the first in a series of sci-fi novels that began back in the 80s, written by renowned author Orson Scott Card. Hollywood has been trying to adapt the series for years, but it seems redundant when other books like “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” cover similar stories.
What sets “Ender’s Game” apart, however, is Ender’s analytical mind. He’s not an orphan like Harry or Luke striving for something more. He’s not like Katniss, who does what she does to keep others safe. Ender is handpicked to go to Battle School because of his mind, and how he often embraces logic over emotion.
While the novel has plenty of action, thanks to virtual reality sequences in the zero gravity Battle Room, the book largely focuses on philosophical themes. As the story unravels, it becomes more about the necessity of war and how it affects people, especially children. With today’s blockbuster films largely action-heavy, it will be interesting to see if “Ender’s Game” will glorify war (as films often do) or condemn it as the book ultimately does.
The all-star cast has potential to make this something brilliant, but this isn’t the first time a beloved book has been turned into an unimpressive film. “The Golden Compass” and “Eragon”, among others, show how a film can completely butcher a book’s characters and themes. Only time will tell if “Ender’s Game” will do justice by its source and provide a springboard for more science fiction novels to make it to the screen.