I can’t review Ready Player One without spoilers. I might be able to, but I’d have to go watch the trailer a bunch to make sure what I talk about is only from the trailer. Oh, but can I assume people HAVE read a book that’s been out for 7 years? I generally have a ~1yr policy on not spoiling books so…. (1 year from when you learned about the book is my general rule.)
So you have fair warning: I will be spoiling both book and movie if you haven’t consumed them yet… well, stop reading or don’t complain. I’ve done what I can to make sure everything that might preview on Twitter or Facebook or elsewhere has given you time to go “noooo, no spoilers!”
I have been avoiding other reviews so everything I say is my own.
I suspected from the trailer, but I have to say I think it’s disappointing that they (a) left out the whole D&D part of the book and (b)if he was in any kind of formal school that was…. ignored? Edited out? It was world building I wished they had included.
I know they had to trim things to make it into a viable move-length format but…. but since RPGs is my area of geekery (I loved how that played out in the book) I don’t like that it was completely cut out. I feel like they managed to keep video games, movies & music – but roleplaying got cut completely. I didn’t even see some good WOW references or EverQuest (and maybe I just missed them). The closest was a troll but I didn’t see anything that screamed “RPGS” in it.
So putting that aside, I would say that as a movie inspired by the book; it’s good. As a movie based on the book it lacks some of the depth the book had. Not surprising, Ready Player One was told in first person and converting that to third person limited is damn difficult. And on that front, I think this might be the best conversion from 1st person book to movie I’ve seen.
That said, it still loses some of the… urgency that Wade experienced in the book. I felt like he was less invested in hating IOI and more invested in his own comfort. In the book it’s clear from page 3 or so that IOI is despised and even if Wade doesn’t feel he has the power to stop them; he would if he could. That was not evident in the movie. I wish they would have minimized the romance with Art3mis rather than minimize the personality and motivations of the protagonist.
Which leads to the fact they minimized his role in general. I don’t know how I feel about this one. On the one hand I feel like Art3mis/Samantha was a much more interesting character and more plot-driving. I kind of love that she was the one to stick out the danger of IOI’s headquarters. BUT the romance element was… frankly, I felt like it was forced. I just felt like they kept pushing the “kiss the girl” thing which wasn’t as true in the book. At least my memory of the book it felt like they formed a friendship and he had a crush on her before he met her – but after meeting her he found the friendship as important as potential romance.
My other beef is minimizing the international nature of the world. I feel like it got set in OK and stayed there. Everyone was just magically there; I kept wanting the scene where H comes to “rescue” him and I hated that WADE didn’t call H. If I step away from the book, it’s fine and makes sense. But definitely, the classic stands, “The book was better.”
I will watch it again when it comes out on DVD. I will try to distance myself more so I can watch it without wanting to see the book on the screen.