Book vs. Movie: Ready Player One

Hello, my darling readers!
Today I have a special book vs. movie for you. I finally had time to check out Ready Player One, one of 2018’s biggest films and based on the 2011 New York Times bestseller by Ernest Cline!

The Plot:

It’s 2045. Life on earth sucks. That’s why most people spend every free minute they have in the OASIS, a virtual reality entertainment space. It was created by James Halliday who hid several easter eggs in the game. The person who manages to find all the easter eggs will inherit his fortune. The race begins when Wade Watts stumbles onto the first clue…

Book vs. Movie:

So, book first.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I plunged into this 80’s themed hell of a ride. Ernest Cline managed to come up with a book that’s both refreshingly unique and full of nostalgia.
His vision of the OASIS is fascinating but also a little disconcerting as it seems really plausible.
While I am too young to have experienced the 80’s I have a fondness for films like E.T. or Back to the Future. Shows like Stranger Things that bring back that vibe are right down my alley, so this book hit the perfect spot for me.

The Easter Eggs/riddles Cline came up with are smart and interesting. I learned a great deal about 80’s pop culture while reading this book! The hunt was fascinating and was rooting for our hero so hard. I couldn’t put the book because I wanted to know badly whether he would win or not.

Being a bit of a geek myself, you can tell how much fondness Cline has for this area and how much fun he had creating his nerd-utopia. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed his novel so much!

I already knew the film would be very different, as there was stuff you just can’t translate to the screen too well. Looking at the egg hunt, it was evident that there would be changes. However, I did not expect the film to be the way it turned out. For example, they changed one of the first tasks to a The Shining haunted house maze kind of thing. While I loved The Shining, it was released in 1980, so it’s not something I’d think of as representing the 80’s.

As is often the case with this kind of thing (see the first Percy Jackson movie) challenges have time to unfold in the book while in the adaptation things seem far too easy as otherwise, the film would be way too long or the audience would lose interest. I hate it when this happens especially because the riddles where so well-done in the book!

What was the biggest letdown with the film for me was the lack of retro-vibe. While the book gave me all the 80’s the movie didn’t strike me as particularly 80’s looking. Honestly, hadn’t I known that it’s set in that time I probably wouldn’t have noticed despite the many references going on. Of course, this has a great deal to do with obtaining rights, but it still irked me.

One thing I’ll grant the adaptation, however, is that it’s visually stunning. The OASIS looked impressive and the CGI-team really deserves some praise for that.

In general, the film seemed like one of the light flicks you might pick for a movie night where you don’t want to have to think about the movie too much. You’ll watch it, enjoy it, never think about it again.

The book is every nerd’s fantasy. It’s smart, it’s intriguing and you won’t be able to put it down. The film, on the other hand, was a bit a shallow letdown. I wouldn’t have missed much had I skipped the adaptation.

Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: Ready Player One

  1. I loved this book! My dad’s an 80s kid who brought me up on 80s movies, video games, music, and trivia, so the book (which my dad actually recommended to me) was super enjoyable. I think that the movie as a standalone was good, the special effects were great like you said. But as a movie based on a book, I didn’t really enjoy it so much, since it changed a lot of the plot from the book when adapting it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read and loved the book and it’s immediately obvious that they are two quite different things. The book is much better at getting into the griminess of what Wade’s real life is like as well as how pervasive The Oasis is. In the book Wade even attends school in the Oasis. The relationship between Parzival and Art3mis is also much more developed.

    That said, Ready Player One looks incredible and is a lot of fun. The pop culture references in the book were great but they really bounce off the screen and there are little Easter eggs everywhere. Mr O was so busy pointing them out I sometimes had trouble actually following what was happening. It made me want to create an avatar and visit The Oasis, which is surely an achievement.

    There is a bit of a missed opportunity to delve into of what is real versus what people present and just how well you can know someone you have never met in person. It’s glossed over but it could have taken this from a colourful popcorn movie to something deeper. The same can be said about Halliday being trapped in the past and how the creator of something so entertainment and fun focused was essentially a miserable loner (*cough* Zuckerberg *cough*).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, it really felt like a missed opportunity in some ways. I had expected some of the changes, especially when it comes to the challenges but had hoped they’d instead add something deeper. Too bad they didn’t!


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