By: John Mills
I usually hold the stance that movie adaptations should be as close to the book as is possible. I’m the kind of person who notices and is peeved by the cuts Peter Jackson made to the “Lord of the Rings” books.
Therefore, it may come as a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed, and would recommend, the “Ready Player One” movie being that it is far removed from the book.
What makes”Ready Player One” so fun to watch? For me, it was a few things.
First of all, the Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is gorgeous and works extremely well within the setting.
Most of the movie takes place within a virtual reality environment known as the Oasis. The Oasis is given life in movie form that the book could barely hope to match.
Everything in the Oasis is clearly artificial, but is given a sense of realism despite that that is highly familiar to anyone who’s used a VR headset at any point.
The plot stays true to the spirit of the novel without having to use any of the unfilmable sections. To point out even the biggest differences would take too long and be too spoiler-y, so I’ll highlight two instead.
The entire way to acquire the first key is entirely different from the book, in a good way. I don’t want to watch someone play an arcade game for half an hour after navigating a notoriously difficult D&D module, all the while being narrated at about how tough the whole thing is.
That just wouldn’t make for a good movie, so Spielberg changed it, and for the better.
The other biggest change I’d like to touch on for example is that the movie cuts out half the challenges, which also would have been difficult to properly film and boring to watch, not to mention long-winded.
The two leads, played by Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke, work incredibly well together, whether acting in the flesh or as their virtual avatars. There’s a natural chemistry between the two that’s obvious on screen and a joy to watch.
The supporting cast includes the wonderful Ben Mendelsohn and Simon Pegg, and the hilarious T.J. Miller. All of the supporting cast do their job well and fit into the world in a way that makes sense.
Ben Mendelsohn perhaps unsurprisingly plays the primary antagonist, and it feels like there’s a touch of Orson Krennic from “Rogue One” in his performance, in a good way.
“Ready Player One” was a book that shouldn’t have been filmable. It was a convoluted, fun, mess of self-indulgent nerdism with little true character development and worse interpersonal abilities.
The movie does away with the worst of these flaws by actually making the main character likeable, sociable, and capable without coming off as a pretentious know-it-all who is only out for himself.
That is where”Ready Player One” shines best as a movie. It’s a fun ride from start to finish with satisfying arcs and development, without the deluge of ‘80s pop culture most people won’t get.