I'll admit, I don't read very many books, but sometimes there will be one that catches my attention and gets me hooked. The moment I found out the premise of Ready Player One, I was instantly intrigued. An ode to 80's Pop Culture? Sign me up for that!
I was equally ecstatic when I found out that it was being made into a movie, directed by no less than Steven Spielberg.. Which was rather fitting considering how he played a vital role in the 80's pop culture, making him part of the book's lore.
So I made sure to read the book before the movie was released, just so that I could compare one with the other.
In case you're not aware, Ready Player One is a book by Ernest Cline, set in the future. The world has become quite a dreary place to live in, and a visionary game developer, James Halliday, created an entire virtual world called the "Oasis", where you can be anything. The Oasis evolves into more than just a game, and becomes a way of life.. And perhaps the most important commodity in the world.
Halliday had become such an icon (Think Steve Jobs x 100), that studying him and his pop culture favorites has become popular among the youth. When Halliday passes away, it is revealed that he has hidden three "keys" within the infinite worlds of the Oasis, which would lead to the coveted "Easter Egg". Whoever finds the egg wins Halliday's share of his company, essentially giving that person control of the Oasis.
Roughly around five years passes, and despite the efforts of the huge corporation,"IOI", who employed an army of gamers with the goal of gaining control of The Oasis, and several "Clans" throughout the world filled with experienced Egg Hunters (aka "Gunters") who aim to win in order to keep the integrity of Halliday's vision intact.. The scoreboard remained empty, making some people believe that the
Until one day.. A single name appears on the scoreboard.. "Parzival".
The first thing you should know is that..
It's very different from the book. I mean, the gist is more or less the same, but the specifics of most of the events are quite different. This could very well turn off book die hards, but I strongly suggest you watch the movie with an open mind. The book has no drag race. No.. You know.. scary hotel.. But even without licensing issues, Ready Player One is a very difficult movie to pull off. So can you imagine how complex it is, to add iconic characters into the mix? Even though it didn't follow the book to a Tee, the pieces of the puzzle manged to fit together, so in that aspect, I do believe Spielberg pulled it off.
The casting was really good, with perhaps the actor that played Aech the weakest link. But Ty Sheridan played the role of the geeky Wade Watts well.
The visual effects will leave you spellbound.
What could have been improved?
I think they could have established the importance of the Oasis a whole lot more. People whom I spoke to about the movie, got the impression that the Oasis was a game that people play in order to escape reality, when in the book it was much more than that.. It was a way of life. People worked in the Oasis.. Kids went to school in the Oasis. Which is precisely why it meant so much to IOI.. Whoever controlled the Oasis, controlled the world.
Given the limited amount of time to squeeze in so many scenes into one movie, it's unfortunate that the "love story" of Parzival and Artemis seemed so rushed and almost a little forced.
To nitpick, I feel that they could have been more playful with using an 80's soundtrack. I can think of Jump. Staying Alive, and that Twisted Sister Song that they played, there wasn't really an 80's song that made a big impact on me.
And as awesome as the final battle scene was, I was ULTRA disappointed that it the battle with Mecha Godzilla didn't end the way it did in the book, but I think they still did an awesome job nonetheless. People who read the book would get the clue I dropped hehe..
On the whole though..
Ready Player One is one hell of a fun ride, that a kid that grew up in the 80's like me would undoubtedly love. The effects were absolutely spectacular. It was such a visual feast, and you literally wanted to see every minute detail on the screen, just to see the wide range of characters that make an appearance! I strongly suggest you watch this in an IMAX theater to get the full effect of the Oasis!
On a scale of 1-10, I would give Ready Player One a solid 8.5!
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