By Ernest Cline (and Steven Spielberg)
I have a friend who hates every movie that veers any little bit from the known canon. He didn’t like Thor: Ragnarok because of the humor. He didn’t like Star Wars: The Force Awakens because it veered from the story outlined in the books.
If you feel that a movie based on a book must stick solely to the story as laid out in the novel then Ready Player One is not the movie for you.
But I rather enjoyed it!
I loved the book. It was one of the BEST books I read last year. And though the movie is vastly different than the book, I thought the film held true to the spirit of the book, and that is what’s important to me. I liked the casting. I think that Tye Sheridan was a perfect Parzival/Wade Watts and Olivia Cooke was exactly how I imagined Art3mis/Samantha would be.
The book gives us much more exposition, true. The world in 2045 is pretty shitty and thus people hide from reality inside the virtual world know as OASIS.
The movie only gives us a quick glance at the somber state the world is in, but that can be forgiven as Spielberg only has two hours to tell his story. And it’s an epic one.
But, because we don’t get that exposition, when Wade declares his love for Art3mis at a nightclub, it feels forced and way too early in the story. Those who read the book know that she is famous throughout the OASIS and he has been crushing on her for years, but we’re not given that knowledge in the movie.
There are some other changes that occur. Some of the challenges Wade must face to find the famous Halliday Easter Egg are different. Some of the consequences of these challenges are different (but to share them would be spoilerific and but they don’t bother me much anyway). The biggest change that did bother me is that we don’t get to spend NEARLY enough time with Og, the former best friend of the OASIS creator Steve Job- I mean James Halliday. Nor do we get to meet his wife Kira at all. And that is a shame….
I feel like the main message of the movie is slightly different too. With the book the main message I got was to be true to yourself and those you love. The message I took away from the movie was to seize the day and not to fear putting yourself out there. Slightly different lessons to learn, but both important.
All in all, I thought the movie was fun. Did it pack the same punch for me that the book did? Will it top the list of best movies I’ve seen this year? Probably not. But I enjoyed it all the same!