Here's the biggest question on my mind. Why is classic-style sci-fi so enamored with young boys? Is it all based on the Campbell-type hero where a boy becomes a man as the setting looks towards the future? You couldn't really call Roddenberry out on this from TOS, but then TNG brings in Wesley Crusher. Is this remenants of the 50's sci-fi when boy-wonder sidekicks had to actually be boys for paternal parenthood themes?
One of the reasons I am hesitant to see the movie is that is pretty much logistically impossible to preserve this one key point from the book. In the book, Ender was six years old
when he first entered the battle school and he is skipped ahead a few grades so he can enter the command school at ten.
He is literally a kindergartner.
I am completely with you in never seeing a movie where Wesley goes grimdark and saves the day with hitherto unseen tactical ability of mankind, but I do not think this is applicable to the classic story. My quick internet search for Dick Grayson's age was twelve, Wesley around fifteen. Even though they became boy adventurers they had at least a small window to develop before the call found them. Even if they lacked an ability to maturely handle their adventure they at least approached it with a certain naive eagerness and sincerity. Ender was told to play a game so years from now, longer than his current lifetime, he might be able to lead.
Obviously they had to age up the characters for the movie, it really could not be helped. However asking a child, while outside their parents presence, to enter a military school is entirely different from asking a teen. Ender's struggle to remember the purpose of his training, the game, in the long run is incredibly different from expecting a teen to man up and be part of the team. Allowing children to settle differences might be loosely shown as encouraging normal self reliance, but leaving eight year olds with lethal intent to do the same? Ender never thought it was possible for adults to leave them abandoned to display the Lord of the Flies scenario, really who would do that?
So in short I can see a child diving into a fantasy game to deal with the stress of the battle room as a desperate attempt to reclaim something resembling a childhood, not a failure avoiding duty or responsibility. His own, after all, was monitored by the cybernetic implant IF installed near age five. Naturally the well known spoilers show this is simply one of the many insanely desperate stunts pulled by the true enemy.
So, does anyone who has seen the movie have any interesting feedback how this necessary change was handled? It is an opportunity to shine a new light with different circumstances, I just want to know if it was used fully.