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How Bad Does Ender’s Game Want To Be Hunger Games?

Submitted by on June 24, 2013 – 12:45 pm7 Comments

Before you say anything, I KNOW this film is based on a book series. This, of course, makes the title of this post even more relevant. However, as we all know, last year’s blockbuster, The Hunger Games was an immediate success, reigniting interest in the Hunger Games books and launching Hollywood “it girl” (whether she likes it or not) Jennifer Lawrence into a bigger, brighter spotlight than most probably anticipated. The world went Hunger Games crazy and anticipation is already building for the coming sequel, Catching Fire.

Hollywood has, for many years now, shown a continuing interest in film adaptations of books. While we get classics every once in a while, like this year’s The Great Gatsby, most of the book-based films we get these days are based on quite recent, contemporary book series with sales that are driven by teenagers (see Twilight and Harry Potter).

Side note: Can we get an Animorphs film series, please? In this author’s humble opinion, that was the defining book series for those of us who came of age in the 90s. It had absolutely all of the elements of the book-based films out now and plenty more entertainment value. If you’re not familiar with the series, look it up and realize that before there was J. K. Rowling, there was K. A. Applegate.

The latest movie based on a book is Ender’s Game, based on a book of the same name by Orson Scott Card published in 1985. The basic premise is that the Formics, a race of aliens, have attacked Earth and humans were barely able to fight them off. They adapted to normal human reasoning and can predict most moves a human will make, which makes them formidable foes. The only way humanity will be able to defeat them if there’s another attack is to find an outcast who is smart and unpredictable. That’s where Ender Wiggins (played by Asa Butterfield) comes in.

Ender is the great young hope of the entire human race, specially trained to do battle with the Formics and chosen by respected military leader Colonel Graff (played by Harrison Ford, though they thought about changing the role to a female). Once promoted to Commander School, Ender is trained by Mazer Rackham (played by Ben Kingsley, though Will Smith had once been considered for the role). Academy Award nominee Viola Davis rounds out the cast.

Young protagonists, action and violence, and probably a bit of heartbreak for good measure? Yeah, this kinda sounds like a similar experience to The Hunger Games. I’m sure the studio is hoping for the same type of response, although that’s doubtful. Card, the author, has taken a very public stance against same-sex marriage, which has led to controversy and an anticipated boycott of the film.

Ender’s Game will debut in US theaters November 1, less than a month before the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire.

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  • Valentine says:

    Pretty sure that Oddlot was trying to secure funding for Ender’s Game at Cannes before The Hunger Games was even cast. They started filming EG a couple months before THG became a box office smash. Sure, they now want to be THG, but that doesn’t mean they went into production with that copycat stance in mind. Did they want the movie to be a huge success? Uh, yeah.

  • Peter says:

    No offense, but this is one of the most idiotic articles I’ve ever read. You DO realize EG has been in the movie scene for YEARS, they were just getting everything right? Also, while the novel was published in ’85, the novella was in ’77. Hunger Games was published in ’08. Suzanne Collins was 15 when EG first came out. This article is like saying LotR was trying to be the next HP, just because the HP movie came out before the LotR.

  • Novinha says:

    Well, youth, action, violence and heartbreak ARE fantastically rare themes. I think we call all agree that they’re found solely within in the HG franchise, and nowhere else, in that particular combination. Damn OSC and his foresight, copying them thirty years earlier! Now the young audience might turn its single-minded focus on Ender’s Game and forget all about The Hunger Games, since it can only enjoy one thing per decade, and new releases only come along to replace earlier ones!

  • Dee says:

    I would like to congratulate on managing an impressive feat, Chris: A simple one page article, and at least 3 easily recognizable mistakes. Even Wikipedia does it better. The protagonist is called Ender Wiggin, not Wiggins. The IF is not looking for an outcast, but an outstanding military strategist and leader. Ender is trained in Command School, not Commander School. Graff is not so much a “respected militar leader” as the principal of Battle School, the school Ender initially attends. Also, by your standards (young protagonists, action/violence, heartbreak in the broadest sense), Ender’s Game is just as similar to Stand By Me, Home Alone, Peter Pan and Star Wars as it is to The Hunger Games. Would you PLEASE do your research next time?

  • Ciaran O'Brien says:

    I think we are all in consensus that you have no idea what you are talking about and therefore we cannot take you seriously.

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