I did go and watch "Ready Player One" over the weekend, and yes before you think to ask, "Did you read the book dude?" I did read the book, about two or so years ago. I would not say that everything was fresh in my head as the day as I read the story, but enough of the story had stuck with me that I knew what to expect.
So, the first good stuff. If you are not into 80s nostalgia about video games, movies, and culture? This movie is not for you. I do of someone who didn't get any of the movie references but got all the game references. This same person, no I am not talking about me, went back and viewed the movie for a second time. There might be something of "I so wish I could be a character from one of my favorite games" syndrome going on. Seriously, who would not want to drive the Batmobile, the Mach 5, or the car from "Back to the Future"? I really would. Doing some mountain climbing with Batman would be equally cool.
The book and the movie do split though on focus. A large part of the movie is about the relationship between Wade and Aech/Helen. These two are best friends in the book, the relationship grows while the story continues. A heart wrenching moment in the book, much more than in the movie, when Aech has to tell Wade she is a woman. The movie made a quick pass at this Seminole moment with "yeah, I'm a girl" toss away line. Sadly disappointing.
Other moments like this one where the other supporting players were a bigger supporting cast. Soho and Daito were not in the book as merely wooden blocks. It wasn't a "Oh, let's make sure this is a multi-cultural story, so we will be sure to have a diverse cast." These characters each had an important subplot, and it made a LOT more sense for Wade to share with them at the end, then with Wade seeming deciding "I'm going to share it with my Clan." Since through the rest of the movie is said more than a few times, "I don't Clan." There was no build up for this in the movie.
Finally, there is the Wade/Percival and Samantha/Artemis relationship. It was almost pre-ordained that from the outset that these two were going to get together. I had NO feeling about that in the book in the least. In fact, the writing had me wondering if at some point she was going to turn on him to go after the prize for himself. She was much more of a cult figure in the book, someone the others thought of as "Wow, that's Artemis." Not that someone Wade was going to be able to develop a relationship with. As we all know, sex sells.
This is not to say that this is a bad movie. It is to say it isn't the book and if you go to the movie expecting, you are going to be told the book in this movie. You will be disappointed. It would be next to impossible to bring that book to life. Everyone that reads it is going to come away with something different. I heard on social media how people were disappointed that things from Dungeons and Dragons weren't included, the Tomb of Horrors to be exact. It would be if not impossible to next to impossible to include every bit of nostalgia from the 80s in this movie. If anyone does care I did see a scene where they were passing around D&D character sheets and I'm pretty sure they were 2nd edition sheets at that.
What does all of this come down too? Did you like the book? Do you like the 80s, a good story, interesting characters, and a plot where it is the little guy against corporate greed in America? If any of those things resonate with you? Go see Ready Player One, you won't be disappointed.
I don't think I am going to be giving anything away with this next part, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY disappointed that at the end of the movie no Easter Eggs made an appearance. With how much of a thing Easter Eggs are in the book, how the movie released during Easter Week, I stayed through all the credits to see what might be there. When there were NONE, to say disappointed is like saying water is wet. My hope is that when the DVD/Blu-ray whatever comes out that it will be filled with them. Here's hoping.