It’s weird to me that we are just 25 years from the setting of this film of 2045. A lot more has to go wrong for the world to live in a constant virtual reality space. To me, book adaptations can be hit or miss, just like video game movies but book adaptations are historically better off. Watching the first trailer to this piqued my interest so I decided to read the book first before seeing the film. There are some who prefer reading the book first to watching the film, I am that kind of person (except for Lord of the Rings, I got through half of fellowship and couldn’t go on).
So yeah, I read the book first, and I will share my thoughts on it after re-reading the book. Reading the book got me more pumped to see how one of the greatest directors would envision this on the big screen. From what I can remember (I know it’s only two years ago, but do you know how much content I’ve consumed since then?) I saw this in theaters expecting it to be mostly like the book. I was wrong but, that doesn’t necessarily mean its therefore a bad movie, its not. It goes to show you how our expectations can skew our opinion on the content we consume first.
Wade Watts always knew that his father named him for his love of comic books, It sounds similar to the likes of Peter Parker or Wade Wilson. Wade is a teenager living in a trailer park stack in Columbus Ohio who, like majority of the world lives most of his life through the OASIS. You can literally do anything you set your mind to in the OASIS and they mean literally. The co-creator of the OASIS James Halliday has just passed, and he left a pre-recorded message to be delivered by his avatar Anorak about a contest.
The game that Halliday created grants the winner who finds the Easter egg first sole control of the OASIS and Halliday’s fortune. Egg hunters (gunters) all over the world quickly identify themselves as Halliday experts and think they know how to find the three keys therefore beating the challenges. Wade, an actual Halliday expert, pours over Halliday’s journals and continuously enters the unbeatable race. Its unbeatable thanks to King Kong who no one can get past in the final stretch of the race.
Thanks to his studying habits, Wade’s (Tye Sheridan) avatar Parzival learns the secret and wins the race by completing the race backward and is the first to win the copper key. His crush turned friend Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) learns the secret as well and is the second to win the copper key followed by Aech (Lena Waithe) Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao). The head of IOI Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) becomes furious that a nobody is in the lead when he is the one have total control of the OASIS. Nolan hires an avatar by the name of i-R0k (T.J. Miller) to find out the identity of Parzival.
Parzival and Art3mis soon discover that Halliday (Mark Rylance) once had a date with his co-creator Ogden Morrow’s (Simon Pegg) wife “Kira” before they were ever together. To look for clues, Parzival and Art3mis visit a nightclub where he confesses his love for Art3mis and tells her his real name. i-R0k eavesdrops on their conversation as IOI crashes the party to try and kill the avatars. I-R0k informs Sorrento of who Parzival is and proceeds to destroy the stacks where Wade is from killing his aunt and her boyfriend among others that live there since Wade declined Sorrento’s offer.
Art3mis’ user Samantha takes Wade in and the two soon realize what it takes to get the Jade key. The gunter has to recreate and search a scene from a famous horror movie (Obviously I won’t give away what movie it is if you haven’t seen the film yet) and ask Kira (Perdita Weeks) to dance. Art3mis is the first to dance with Kira and wins the jade key, advancing to the top of the standings. One of Sorrento’s colleagues F’Nale (Hannah John-Kamen) is tasked to storm the rebellious hideout and she takes Samantha hostage while forcing Samantha to repay her father’s debts at a loyalty center.
The remainder of the High Five figure out where Samantha is being held and attempt a rescue mission based off of Sorrento’s avatar rig. The third challenge where the crystal key is located takes place on planet Doom at castle Anorak. The players must play Halliday’s favorite game as a child “Adventure” on Atari 2600. IOI was trying to beat the game which is how they kept failing. The true winner is to look for the very first Easter egg that was placed by the games creator. Parzival calls out to any able-bodied avatar to come fight IOI and stop Sorrento and his Mechagodzilla. Aech fails at stopping Mechagodzilla with her Iron Giant and Diato with his Gundam. Art3mis destroys the Orb of Osuvox which created a forcefield around the castle.
Sorrento, as a last ditch effort detonates Cataclyst bomb as Parzival reaches the console. The bomb destroys all avatars in the OASIS but not Parzival. He was given an extra life by the curator of the Halliday museum. Parzival wins the crystal key and turns down the contract Anorak supplies. Parzival doesn’t sign the contract and becomes the winner of the game and is granted the ownership along with the High Five of the OASIS.
I can admit when first seeing this film in theaters I did not like it. I made the mistake of comparing the film to the book which I absolutely adored. In my head I kept pointing out the things that were different from the book and in turn, that took me out of the films experience. After revisiting this film recently, I realize how much I really love this movie. We as fans of content have to separate the different adaptations to recognize the full potential and greatness of the adaptation. The film doesn’t need to be the book in the same way that the Harry Potter films aren’t exactly like their novel counterparts.
First of all, this film is a visual powerhouse, it’s gorgeous. The cinematography is also out of this world (Yes I know majority of this film is computer generated) it feels like you have the OASIS visor on and are apart of this reality. The acting takes a back seat as most of it is voice over but when the avatars counterparts are on screen I don’t really feel these people exist, they aren’t believable. Not to take away from the main actors, I love Ben, Tye and Olivia, I just feel their dialogue when in the real world doesn’t compare to when they are in the OASIS.
The theme of escapism is featured prominently the moment we are introduced to Wade. Everyone uses the OASIS to escape their reality, their everyday issues to pretend to be something their not. In turn, depending on what kind of person is escaping to the OASIS that can be good or bad. Real life problems can follow a persons avatar wherever they go and this film illustrates this theme perfectly.
Another thing that absolutely stands out to me are the nods to the 80’s nostalgia and just pop culture in general. The amount of characters that are crammed into this film is incredible. It’s impossible to spot them all but from my recent viewing I was able to find t-rex from Jurassic world, Chucky, King Kong, Master Chief, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1989 Batman, Godzilla, Gundam and Back to the Future to name a few. Obviously, there are a ton more so I couldn’t spot all of them in two viewings of this film. This film relies too much at certain points on the nostalgia of the past decades pop culture and it doesn’t always come off well with how the plot is unfolding. Ready Player One is a pretty solid adaptation film way better than most video game adaptations and some book ones as well. If you haven’t read book or seen the movie, I would recommend the book first but, to each their own. Both are pretty great. If I were to rate Ready Player One, I’d rate it a 3.8 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Ready Player One and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Ready Player One is directed by Steven Spielberg is Rated PG-13 and has an 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ready Player One was released on March 29th, 2018 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 19 minutes. Ready Player One can be bought online by retailers including Vudu and Itunes.
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