Ready Player One (2018)

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!

Starring
Tye Sheridan as Parzival / Wade
Olivia Cooke as Art3mis / Samantha
Lena Waithe as Aech / Helen
Philip Zhao as Sho
Win Morisaki as Daito
Mark Rylance as Anorak / Halliday
Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow
Ben Mendelsohn as Sorrento
T.J. Miller as I-R0k

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Writing Credits  Zak Penn and Ernest Cline
Screenplay by Ernest Cline (based on the novel by)

Length 2hrs 20mins


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review

Let me start off with these 2 statements….
Ready Player One Great Book…
Ready Player One Great Movie…

However, the book is one thing and the movie is the same idea(s) but told in a different way minus a lot of unique things that made the story such a great book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing or shredding the movie at all. In fact, the unique qualifier here is that I took my 13yo son and 11yo daughter with me to see it. Neither had read the book, but both totally loved the movie.

But with reading the book, there are unique and fundamental concepts and references that induced a lot of nostalgia from growing up in the 80’s which is what I really felt the book, as a whole, was a true homage too. Through out the book Cline builds on it and uses it as a framework to make the images and story that much more vibrant. But the Movie and the book being different isn’t unique to the transition from one to the other, and either way Cline and Penn did a good job no matter what.

The main goal of both is control of The Oasis, or the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) is a MMOSG (massively multiplayer online simulation game). Created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow of Gregarious Simulation Systems (GSS). By 2040 The Oasis is the whole world, kind of like the Internet and the late 80’s early 90’s growing to what it is by 2000. In this case with the world in a whole lotta hurt, it’s the primary way people interact and escape from reality. Between education, business and entertainment its everything. As you can imagine that also makes it a very large money-making machine with great potential for those who would do so unscrupulously. Early on Morrow leaves the company and in doing so Halliday becomes the lone owner and caretaker of their vision for The Oasis. With Halliday’s passing in 2040, he sets up a challenge to find his heir to The Oasis. The winner of the challenge will have sole ownership of it and its complete multi-trillion-dollar purse. This where the story comes from, the challenge and the millions of people who are trying to figure it out and win the Easter Egg that is the final reward.

Between individuals, groups (clans) and companies the search is on for the 3 keys and the Easter egg that they lead too. Enter in IOI, Innovative Online Industries, and their leader Nolan Sorrento, i.e. the unscrupulous villains with money and people being used to solve the challenge and get the egg. If they win it means that The Oasis would change considerably and become the money maker that it could be to the detriment of all users. Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Shoto and Daito start off as individuals who are competing in the challenge but eventually they come together as a team to save the world and The Oasis.

My Take on it all
This again is where to me the Book and the Movie kind of deviated, neither is better than the other nor wrong, just different. See the book to me was a pseudo Willy Wonka and the Golden ticket kind of story. Over the course of the book there is great detail in the challenges, what they go through to find the keys, how the characters grow from the start to the finish. In the movie, for many reasons, one being time alone, there is a lot more that is kind of established with short narrative and bullet points that takes it to the meat of the action faster. In the course it also changes it from the Willy Wonka method over to a quick and dirty rebellion kind of story to save the world.

Personally, I do feel that they kind of lose a lot of the value and meat in the story by doing so. Without this build up you kind of have to be told who and why to care about the characters vs learning about each and seeing why they ultimately integrate. There are also some lost nuances to the relationships as well. Parzival and Aech both lose some background that was very pertinent as to they all needed each other for more then the challenge but to be a family.

The visual effects and action are tremendous and live up to the expectations no matter what. Spielberg always delivers on this and the production overall was wonderful. I just expected that he would have been a little more attentive to pull in sections of the book into the movie for various reasons, but that didn’t happen, and it is a shame. At 2hours and 20mins, this is one time that erroring on the side of closer to 3hours would have been welcome. Spielberg and company were able to fit in a lot of visual candy with references that while part of the book and couldn’t be covered in story time, were included in the background in a lot of scenes.

Casting wise, I don’t have a lot of complaints, but I do have some. At first, I wasn’t too sure about Simon Pegg as Og, but he grew on me. Originally, I was looking more for a Richard Attenborough or Michael Gambone type to play the character. Pegg, however brief he appears in the movie more than catches it and turns in a good performance. TJ Miller, however was just plain wrong. I-R0k is a total jerk and all, but he isn’t the kind of one trick character that he turns in with every part he gets. I-R0k was a minor character and didn’t really deserve the screen time nor the attention. I totally felt that they missed the part on this and could have done so much more with other characters or content. However, they did a great job with selecting all the young actors for the primary parts. They all did great jobs and gave solid performances.

Like I said earlier it’s a good movie, a great movie, but if you have read the book and see the movie, no matter what order, you are going to see that the book had such great content and story, that a 2hour movie just wasn’t going to cover it all. Regardless they did do a good job.


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