Monday, April 09, 2018

Ready Player One - The Movie

On Saturday afternoon we went to see Ready Player One, in 3D of course.

While drawing on the book and following the story generally, the movie doesn't quite follow it chapter and verse and often departs from it in many interesting ways.

The contest itself is very different, with an opening scene in the movie that is completely different from how the contest works in the book, most likely to save time and compress the book into a length suitable for the movie. From the start you realize the film will not be faithful to the book, and you just have to go with it preserving the general idea and character names and basic plot line and then majorly adapting it to fit the visual format of the movie screen.

Characters tend to do different things than they did in the book, sometimes very major deviations. When you know character X did something important in the book and instead all of a sudden it is character Y is doing something almost the same but not quite it's a bit jarring. This happens quite a bit. However, the characters in many ways are true to the spirit of the book and would meet your expectations in imagining what they looked like from reading the book, its just their actions that appear off.

There's an entire dramatic episode in the film that does not occur in the book at all, again done in order to dramatically reveal something important that took many pages and encounters in the book for the characters to figure out.

Disappointingly, the band Rush isn't featured at all, and the band had a major part to play in the story.

Lots of things are rather compressed or ignored and that hurts the flavor of the book but makes the movie move along.

The ending seems pretty rushed and a bit contrived and again did not happen in the book, for pretty good reason, considering the villain does something very un-villain like that spoils his overly evil role up to that point.

The villain does it for no particular reason and could easily have continued his villany but stops without word or explanation. It was almost as if the screen writers backed themselves into a corner to have a dramatic ending and then decided to leap their way out of the corner without so much as an explanation.

The screen writers also toned down the 80s lore of the hunt, probably to draw in more millenials and such to the theaters who would likely not get the references in the book, but instead would enjoy the Spielberg effects. It was made much less of a cerebral riddle and problem-solving hunt as depicted in the book and more of an action scavenger hunt that would, given the nature of the imaginary world, have been solved years before the time depicted in the movie so that does detract from it somewhat.

The effects were quite cool throughout, and of course they needed to telescope the book severely to fit it in, and as it was the movie was over two hours. But, time went by rather quickly, but like I said, it felt like it built up to a rather rushed ending (without Rush mind you).

You really don't need to have read Ready Player One to see the movie, and if you didn't like the book due to the 80s references you may end up liking the move as it is quite different from the book.

Tash gave it a 6, I'd give it a solid 7. Not a movie I would pay to see again in theaters, but I would watch it when it comes out again on Netflix.

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