Bob Orci, producer of the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s novel, “Ender’s Game”, said in a San Diego Comic-Con interview that the movie did not need updating for a modern day audience. He said this was already done with the 1984 book’s prediction of today’s technology such as Internet and mobile devices. He also said that “Comic-Con is the perfect place to market the film because Comic-Con celebrates fandom.” This last comment is more correct in respects to marketing and so may be received well by both young and old lovers of young adult fiction. But the previous two comments may not be looked at so favorably by science fiction fans. The current YA craze in speculative literature has made an “Ender’s Game” movie a possibility but how science fictional it will come across as is a different matter.
The young adult fiction market in the 1980s had an appreciation mostly limited to children and teens. In fact, “Ender’s Game” would rarely ever be found in the juvenile section of a bookstore or library during that time. It and others of its kind, such as Jeffery Carver’s “Down the Stream of Stars” that centers around two children chosen to help put an end to the deadly threat of a mysterious alien force, would have been limited to the general sci fi section. But even so, a movie that’s central protagonists were children would not have been more successful than with a kids’ audience.
That all changed at the turn of the millennium, thanks to the success of “Harry Potter”. At least that was initially the case with mostly fantasy. But now the YA craze has reached science fiction, particularly with “The Hunger Games” books and movie adaptation with three sequels on the way. And coming this fall is “The 100”, a TV series involving teens chosen to explore a dangerous future Earth after it has been abandoned by humans for nearly a century. Interestingly, the books to this series will be releasing around the same time. So what came first, the alien or the egg?
But has all this worked in favor of an “Ender’s Game” film as science fiction? If the movie’s technology is based directly on that of the book which anticipated much of our own technology of today, can it be science fiction? Perhaps not so much when it comes to Internet-like technology and hand-held devices. But when it comes to training juveniles as soldiers to battle an alien enemy in space it goes without saying that it’s sci fi. So in that sense the trends have worked in the movie’s favor.
While the years 1984 to around 2005 would’ve probably seen an “Ender’s Game” movie as more a kid’s movie than a general audience’s, today’s YA literature craze in science fiction has given better opportunity for this film’s success. . And so it’s because of this craze in both books and film that makes 2013 a better time than ever to release an “Ender’s Game” movie, which is scheduled to open in November.
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