The flood of 2013 wide release sci-fi movies continues this weekend with the launch of Ender's Game, based on the popular Orson Scott Card novel. I'm mainly familiar with this series via the covers of the mass-market paperbacks I'd sift past as a youngster while searching for the latest offerings from Michael Crichton or David Eddings, but there's an apparently rabid fanbase for this saga out there so I anticipate it'll wind up near the top of the box office heap. It looks like another young savant savior-of-the-race space opera, and while the kid in me is pleased to see Harrison Ford back on a spaceship, the more I read about Card's personal views and how they influence the novel's justifications for violence, the less interested I am in shelling out for this one. With something like Shyamalan's After Earth, you could just about block the Scientology overtones from trashing a halfway decent jungle survival flick; a movie in which pre-teens are trained to be brutal intergalactic space warriors feels a little more intuitively risible.

Since Star Wars is the wellspring for this kind of science fiction on film, here's some viewing that's likely more worthwhile: an amused Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining how to blow-up a planet Death Star-style.

I'm slightly more curious about Richard Curtis's (Love Actually) romcom About Time, also opening this weekend, in which a conventional meet-cute is spiced up with a bit of time travel. Reviews haven't been terribly kind, but I've been a bit of a time travel nut since reading Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder many many moons ago. Though most time travel movies wind up tangled in their own endlessly double-backing narratives, the smartest of them do reach a point of pleasant frisson in which viewers are caught between past and present, graspable causality and utter incomprehension before going off the rails entirely (think: Primer and Timecrimes). I'm not expecting About Time to really dive into the deeper implications of the butterfly effect, but always get curious when lighter mainstream genres try to muck around with time. Recent research that suggests time might just be an illusion, if proven true, could open up a whole new can of wormholes for narrative filmmaking to dive into.