Full disclosure, Ready Player One is based on the Ernest Cline book, Ready Player One and yes, I have read it. I read it a couple of months ago when the first trailer for the movie came out. Usually with book adaptations you expect some changes but Ready Player One nearly changed everything.
Unless you’ve read the book, it’s difficult to discuss what has been changed because there was so much. That’s why we have wrote a separate article which you can find in the next couple of days. It sounds like I’m leading up to absolutely bash the movie but I’m not. It changed a lot of the story but that’s because it had to. There are huge sections where Wade is talking internally and honestly, there’s huge sections that are boring. It didn’t have a movie storyline. The movie did a great job in keeping enough fundamentals, that it’s nearly a story in its own right. The reason I’m even more OK with it, is that Ernest Cline was a co-writer in the screenplay so he was accepting in the changes, and so was I.
It was going to be a difficult thing to explain the Oasis and the competition, but the movie does a great job in explaining it all in the first 10 minutes. You understand the Oasis and you understand the challenges. It removes a lot of the excess from the book, as not to flood the viewers with too much information. The visuals in the Oasis itself, were fantastic. It really made it very clear what was in the Oasis and what wasn’t. I thought it might have been a VFX mess but it wasn’t. There was times where I almost believed the Oasis more than when the movie was in real life. It sometimes felt the real world stuff was just there to remind you that there were real people behind each avatar.
The battles and big set pieces set in the Oasis were truly a visual masterpiece. There was so much happening on the screen but it never felt overwhelming. It felt you knew exactly what was going on and it was easy to follow. The amount of Easter eggs set through out becomes an exciting task to spot them all. It could have got boring quickly but I know I enjoyed trying to spot everything. From the obvious such as Batman, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, King Kong and TMNT, to the subtle such as Terminator and Street Fighter. Everything is littered through out and it’ll take a number of watches to find them all.
The real life characters aren’t strong enough to shine, it’s more the avatars that do the leg work and it pays off. You believe the Artemis and Parzival relationship, even if it did go from 0-I love you very quickly. It does feel there is a lot of footage on the cutting room floor that fleshes out certain aspects a bit more. The relationship, the history of the real world, the artefact that allows Daito to change into a robot, and more importantly the extra life coin. The extra life coin is such a subtle thing in the movie that at the end, your almost wondering where it came from. Plus I’ll have to watch it again, but I’m nearly sure Artemis is the one who takes the coin in the end. It feels unearned and that’s one thing missing from the book that doesn’t work. Stand out characters for me are TJ Miller’s I-R0k and Ben Mendelsohn’s Sorrento, one for good reasons and one for bad. I-R0k is great side character and really brings the comedic side to the forefront. He feels and sounds like every 15 year old gamer and it’s relatable. It’s a great stereotype to play on and I found myself laughing every time he was on screen. Sorrento however, was not what I wanted. Every one has their own imagination of Sorrento from the book but I feel this was miscast. He wasn’t the leadership and intimidating character he was in the book, which was disapppinting. Sorrento felt like an after thought and the IOI never felt like a real threat to our main characters.
Finally, the challenges were drastically changed but they worked for the movie. They were dumbed down a little, especially the race, but again, I understood why and I enjoyed the challenges being completed. The Shining being particularly funny. Again though, it never took me away from the Oasis and it’s visually stunning backgrounds.
DIAGNOSIS – MINOR SURGERY
Ready Player One is not a book adaptation, it changes things dramatically. But it keeps enough of the core fundamentals that makes this a great enjoyable film. The Oasis is visually stunning and I was never bored at any point. I feel if we it was able to be another hour long, we would have got lots more from the book and more fleshed our scenarios. Bar a miscast character or 2, this is a great movie that I’ll be watching a couple of times!