Movies always seem to fall short of the books they are based on, disappointing the book fans.
The popular book, “Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline was recently turned into a major motion picture. I have long awaited the arrival of the big-screen version of one of my favorite books.
The movie adaptation of “Ready Player One,” is directed by Steven Spielberg, is set in the year 2045, where the real world is very different. The only time Wade Watts, played by Tye Sheridan, feels himself is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone; the only limits are your own imagination.
The OASIS was created by James Halliday, played by Mark Rylance. When Halliday died, he left the ownership of the OASIS, and his fortune, to whoever won a three-part contest made up of hunting for Easter eggs in the game. A company named Innovative Online Industries (IOI) is trying to find all of the keys before anyone else to take control of the OASIS. IOI is lead by a man named Sorrento, played by Ben Mendelsohn.
After years of no one being able to complete the first Easter egg task, Watts, known as Parzival in the OASIS, finally is able to complete the first task and receives the first key, putting him at the top of the leaderboard and shaking the world of the OASIS.
The rest of the movie shows the adventures of Watts and his friends trying to find all of the keys before the IOI finds them. The only way to pull it off is to know more about Halliday than anyone else.
While I did enjoy the action-packed world of the OASIS, I was disappointed by the many creative liberties the movie took. The book and the movie shared a few similarities, which are characters and the same basic plot. But not much else is the same.
The OASIS in the movie is portrayed as just an escape. But in the book, it is so much more than that. The OASIS is where people live their lives. They go to work in this world. Children have school in the OASIS. This is where everyone has their money, and where they shop. It’s like the first eight chapters of the book never happened.
Wade had a hard life and never really had money. So, in the book, it was a huge deal to his character when he was put on the leaderboard because he received a bunch of coins. He finally was able to buy stuff and better his life. But in the movie, he doesn’t seem to care. He just goes out and spends it on random stuff.
One thing that not necessarily changed anything but just kind of annoyed me was how the characters look. In the book, Wade Watts is unattractive, out of shape and has acne; he uses his OASIS avatar to look like a better him. The movie portrayed everyone as more game-like. It makes sense for a movie, but is just another thing they didn’t stay true to from the book.
In the book, IOI is the world’s largest Internet service provider. But in the movie, they are shown as a virtual reality equipment manufacturing corporation.
I-r0k, played by TJ Miller, is a peer of Parvizal and Aech’s, who is Parzivals best friend in the game, played by Lena Waithe in the movie. They often call I-r0k a “poser.” After Parzival and Aech find the first key, he tries to bribe them for the answer and tries to reveal their identities to IOI in a forum post that tips off Sorrento. In the movie, he’s just a random mercenary hired by Sorrento.
Some of the major changes were to a large part of the story, the keys (Easter eggs). In the book, the Copper Key challenge is based off Tomb of Horrors from Dungeons and Dragons. After evading all types of monsters and traps, Wade has to defeat an undead lich king in an arcade game of Joust.
In the movie, there’s an unbeatable racing game. The answer to how to win is found in Halliday’s museum in a random memory where he hints that he’d like to “put the pedal to the metal” and go backward. Parzival decides to go backward at the start of the race, which reveals a trap door that leads to the finish line.
The next key is no different when it comes to changes. Ache tells Parvizal that the challenge for the Jade Key is Zork. Parvizal travels to planet Frobozz, where there are 512 recreations of the game, and plays it and beats it. He finds a whistle inside a box of Cap’n Crunch that he blows and he finds the Jade Key.
In the movie, the High Five, the five players on the leaderboard, travel to a recreation of Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film “The Shining,” where they have to dance with some zombies to get the Jade Key.
In the book, for the final key, the Crystal Key, Parvizal is given a clue and guesses that the key must be hidden in the Rush album “2112” in the song “The Temples of Syrinx.” After a long string of events, Parvizal finds a 1974 Gibson Les Paul guitar wedged in a rock, sword-in-the-stone style, and walks it to a waterfall to place it on an altar. He is then granted the final key.
In the movie, the challenge involves an Atari 2600 game system and its entire library of games. Parzival is the only player who realizes that Halliday would have hidden his Easter Egg inside the original Easter Egg, in Warren Robinett’s game, “Adventure.”
Additionally, in the book, the gates for the keys need to be found as well. That involves additional challenges. In the movie, there are no gates or mentions of them.
I understand that some people think that the original version of the finding of the keys is action-packed enough for a movie. It’s disappointing that such a large portion of the story is completely changed.
Parzival receives an extra life in the story, which saves him from losing everything. But the way he gets it is completely different. In the movie, Parvizal places a bet with the Halliday museum curator that there is only one available source of the name of Halliday’s long lost love. He’s right, and the curator hands him a quarter which he doesn’t think much of but keeps. But in the book, Parzival is inside Happytime Pizza, Halliday’s childhood hangout.The Pac Man machine has an almost perfect high score. Wade plays a perfect score and the machine gives him a quarter, which he keeps because he thinks it might be important.
There is a lot more that the movie left out, and a lot more that the movie changed. Honestly, two hours or so wasn’t enough to tell the whole story.
These changes made the whole story different. There are some books that get changed minorly so that they fit the big screen better. But “Ready Player One” was altered beyond making it fit on the big screen. It was made into a different story. There was so much left out from the movie. “Ready Player One,” as a book, was incredible in so many ways, and the movie does not stack up.
Although I enjoyed watching “Ready Player One” play on the big screen, the reader in me was highly disappointed. I give “Ready Player One” a four out of 10.