Let me start by saying that I really loved Ready Player One. It was nostalgic and entertaining as hell. But I’m talking about the book, not the movie. While watching the film version, readers will wonder if they bought the right ticket.
I was just another sad, lost, lonely soul, wasting his life on a glorified videogame.
As far as the book goes, it was everything you’d want in a sci-fi/fantasy novel. I have it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The characters were great, the world was enthralling, and the plot was super entertaining. I loved all the little nods to 80s culture, and the ones I didn’t initially get were interesting to look up and learn about. The ones that I did know, though, felt like little inside secrets that only I knew, and it made me feel connected to the story even more. It was an original story with a great cast of characters, and it’s perfect for pop culture and video game lovers alike.
The only thing I took off the half star for was the slow move of the plot in certain places, but that’s honestly me just being picky.
Now, we move on to the movie. I will be spoiling things because I’m going to go in depth over the differences, so if you don’t want plot spoilers, don’t read this part of the review!
Throughout my time watching this, I would stop paying attention multiple times and think, “This is the right movie, right?” It was that different. They kept character names and the overall concept of the OASIS and the contest, but literally everything else was changed.
For starters, Wade didn’t even go to school. No mention of an education system ever came up, which is vital to the book’s first key location. In the movie, the first key isn’t located in a Dungeons & Dragons cave replica, it’s a freaking car race. Yep, car race, and one filled with random obstacles including the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and King Kong. I understand that Spielberg wanted to include some references to his past films, but the race takes away the excitement of Wade being the first person to get the key while also being a student. It made me sad that they took that shining moment away from him.
Speaking of shining, what the hell was the whole second key trial? The Shining parts were interesting to see, it’s one of my favorite horror movies after all, but it felt so out of place. I enjoyed the basic video game and old pop culture reference knowledge that was needed to get passed the gates in the book because it felt like the characters actually deserved the win when they finally cracked the clue. Wade was good at getting the keys and clearing the gates because he understood Halliday on a basic level, and that wasn’t shown in the movie well at all.
The character relationships weren’t developed at all in the film. I didn’t believe that H and Parzival were best friends, and Parzival saying he was in love with Art3mis in the dance scene actually made me laugh because it felt so out of the blue. Their relationship went from random stranger to “I love you” in less than 10 minutes film time with no growth scenes in between. That scene wasn’t the first that made me laugh or cringe either. Most of the dialogue was pretty cringeworthy in general, which could be a homage to older films with their cheesy dialogues, but for me, it didn’t work well.
The only things that I actually liked in the movie were the special effects and Halliday. I thought the actor who played him, Mark Rylance, did him well. He was awkward and quiet and dorky in all the best ways. I think the other actors and actresses did well enough with the screenplay they had been given. The visuals were really neat to see on the big screen. It was loud and action-packed, so seeing that in the theater was entertaining at least.
I’m just sad that non-book readers won’t know the real Wade, the geeky, video game obsessed Halliday expert. I loved Wade’s growth in the book, and movie watchers don’t get to see that at all. The movie felt rushed while also somehow lastly forever, I’m not sure how it did that.
What are your thoughts on Ready Player One? Let us know down below!