I have been anxiously awaiting this movie for quite some time now. I was a big fan of the book, with both the celebration of fandoms and the deep relationships that it displayed. Unfortunately, the movie adaptation fell flat for me. The character development and relationships were shoved aside to focus on the next action sequence which also felt forced and superficial.
My first big problem with this movie stems from the fact that the OASIS is supposed to be this place that would have been the OZ to their Kansas, the Technicolor to their grey. Things were meant to be more colorful, sharper, and more in focus. That didn’t come across in my first viewing. I also have an issue with the fact that in the film, game avatars can basically go anywhere, do anything, or respawn, which means that acquiring information is far easier and there is no real consequence or sense of urgency.
The second problem for me is that we’re not given good stories on how this little group became its very own Brat Pack. Why are they together? Why are we rooting for them? I finally found myself rooting for the characters who were given some vulnerability later on, but they were not the characters I anticipated.
I enjoyed the movie much more upon my second viewing, after I knew I couldn’t compare it with the book. I hope there will be enough people who have not read the book and will love this film, and that the folks who HAVE read the book are able to separate the two and just enjoy the film as its own entity. My biggest hope is that those who have not read the book will now go back and read it, so that they are able to experience the 80s love story that it is, and if they missed any delicious tidbits, maybe they’ll discover more lovely goodies from a simpler time.
Ready Player One makes the score board but is not in the ‘High Five’. First off, I LOVE the book! I read it via audio book (read by Will Wheaton) last year and picked it up again right before the film came out. As luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to attend the Los Angeles premiere. Premieres have a heightened energy which helped my first viewing because it was extremely jarring as it quickly became apparent the film is VERY different than the book.
I hadn’t thought of the visual style potential that Allison mentioned but I do agree that could have added to the film. I also felt the film lost a lot of the sense of urgency, danger and desperation that book has – for the film by itself this is not too horrible a loss. I didn’t mind that the characters relationships are somewhat rushed but rather it is too bad that the intelligence/skill of the main characters is simplified. This is evidenced by the quests over simplification as well. In the book, once you found a key (which requires vast knowledge and a puzzle inclined mind), you then had to complete an additional challenge. Although, the major change in the film regarding the second key is awesome! The film switch made sense (they chose a more recognizable title) and it was a hilarious sequence!
Overall, I enjoyed the film a lot but it is a bummer that so much from the book was lost. The film does maintain the spirit of the book and yes, the overall bullet points are the same, but I just wish there was more there. It is not uncommon for book to film adaptions to change things, but with Ready Player One you could read the book and not know what will happen next in the film and, similarly, you could see the movie, then go read the book and have no idea what happens next. I felt better about the differences in the film once I learned that the author was involved with writing the screenplay.
If you have read the book, be ready for the film to be extremely different, but that is ok. I plan to see it again and I expect that I will also like it better on a second viewing. It is a fun, visually stunning and cool movie! I also hope if you like the film you will read the book, enjoy all the nostalgia and dive deeper into the OASIS.