To be upfront, I was very late to the greatness that is known as Ready Player One. A book written by Ernest Cline in 2011, it takes place in a dystopian Earth in 2040. We follow our main character, Wade Watts, as he competes in an online virtual world known as the OASIS to find the ‘easter egg’ the creator has left behind after his death. If you are an 80s child, like myself, the references in the book were magnificent! From Atari, to Voltron, to Star Wars and everything in between! The book was made for nostalgia geeks like myself.
When I watched the first trailer for RPO (Read Player One), I was very intrigued and saw many of the 80s/90s pop culture references that were flashing by in that first trailer. After talking to many of my fellow nerds and nerdettes, I decided that I would read the novel before the movie came out. I was recently on a family vacation and finally had the chance to read it, with the movie coming out in just mere days. Needless to say, I could not put the book down! It was a nice change of pace for me as well, since I have been reading nothing but new Star Wars canon novels up to that point. As I finished the book, I was very hyped and excited to see the movie. Knowing that Steven Spielberg had directed it was an added bonus. Again, being an 80s child, I have watched many of his films like E.T., The Goonies and Jurassic Park. To say my expectation were lofty was putting it mildly.
So, what did I think after seeing RPO you might be wondering? After exiting the theater, I turned to my brother who had also read the book before the movie and said “Well, that was different.” Maybe it was because the novel was so fresh in my mind, but the movie felt different in many ways. The challenges that Wade and the other competitors had to endure were vastly different then the book. Some other little details of the book were missed as well. Where the book felt darker, the movie was a little faster paced and not as dark. The difference from book and movie were not poor by any means. I understood that changes had to be made to fit into a two and half hour film. The overall theme of the book was prevalent. Visually the film was superb in many ways, the acting was excellent and the score/music was fine.
Overall, I thought the movie was enjoyable. A few of the changes I adored, for example, the race scene in the beginning. The OASIS itself came off really beautifully. Some other changes I took issue with, for example, the character living all next to each other in Cleveland. I am really curious, if seeing the movie again will change my initial reaction? Also, if seen the film before reading the novel would have changed my view? I recommend both seeing and reading Ready Player One. If I could do it again, maybe watch the film first, then read the novel. I believe the novel expands on what the movie had to cram into a two-and-a-half-hour moviegoing experience.
Let me know what you think! Did you enjoy the film? Have you read the book? Did reading the book change your movie going experience? Comment below and let’s talk about it!