I was first introduced to the book Ready Player One on the site known as Reddit. Many people raved about how it was a fun, nostalgic romp through pop culture of the 80s. The story follows a nerdy outcast named Wade who escapes the real world inside of a virtual world known as the OASIS. When he’s not in a virtual school, he spends all of his time searching for clues to uncover an Easter egg hidden in the virtual world by the OASIS’ creator before his death.
When I heard the book was being made into a movie by none other than Steven Spielberg himself, I nearly crapped my pants. Not only did the book have great potential for a visual medium, Steven Spielberg is the kind of directing power house that could get it done.
While there are many enjoyable moments and the movie has similar sensibilities to the book, it’s vastly different and a bit too safe at times. There were unnecessary plot changes and too many holes. Some of the dialog and character connections were completely cringe-inducing. For example, millions of people around the globe use the OASIS, but you are really going to have me believe that the 5 characters who connect inside the virtual world also happen to live in the same city in the real world? Gimme a break.
Even though I would have preferred a purified book experience, I was OK with some of the changes as they added some mystery and unknown territory. What really fell flat was the pacing. It was too fast and there was never any chance for anything to breathe. The story elements were condensed. Much of the character building was absent.
If you like 80s pop culture and an adventure-filled Easter egg hunt, you’ll enjoy this movie. If you’re a fan of the book, you might just want to re-read the book or listen to the Wil Wheaton narrated audiobook.