I’ve completed my first 10 book blogs (yay!) so I thought I might do something different, so here it is.
Ready Player One is a sci-fi book set in the future, where humans have burnt up the ozone layer and pretty much all other life forms; their only escape is a free virtual reality called the Oasis. But it isn’t just a reality. It’s their life. The story follows this kid called Wade (AKA Parzival in the Oasis) who lives in one of the poorest districts of America in a trailer park and can barely afford enough to eat. But no-one knows this in the Oasis.
At the beginning of the book – not movie – the maker of the Oasis dies. It says in his will that he leaves all of his fortune and the rights to the Oasis to the winner of this legendary contest he had set up for after his death. He was obsessed with the 80’s, the decade he grew up in; if you don’t understand some of the references then ask your parents. Or their parents. Anyway, it says in his will there are three keys to open three gates, and the first player to reach the end of the game will win his entire fortune. Simple. But there are vintage video games, films or other 80’s trivia at each key, and a rival video games company called IOI want to win so that they can take over the Oasis and make everyone pay loads of money for it… a bit like Amazon Prime. And, of course, Parzival has to fall in love before he reaches the end of the book and then meet her in person not just online (its total cat fishing) and learn who he truly is etc.
But, I just watched Ready Player One the movie for the first time and it’s REALLY different to the book. Like, the-first-gate-isnt-a-cool-video-game-it’s-a-car-race different. Because they did. It isn’t freaking Mario Kart! (I really liked the book, so get ready. There will be lots of rants… )
As I’ve said above the first gate/challenge isn’t an ‘epic test of mind and logic’ in the film. It’s a car race. In the book, Wade has to beat this evil death guy at the arcade classic Joust before he can even reach the key. But in the film he just sort of stumbles across how to beat the car race despite spending over 5 years struggling in the book. And all the other challenges are really easy! (Rant #1.5) You don’t have to be particularly skilled at video games to win the challenges in the movie, just able to drive a car. Duh. Not like it’s a video game or anything.
The book is pretty chunky so the directors had to compact 385 pages into a 2 hour film. However they removed some key moments and people that made it quite difficult to understand if you hadn’t read the book. Like they removed the whole concept of keys and made all the gates a lot easier (see other rant!) Not a bad idea, as the book is quite confusing at times as well. But I felt that they really didn’t explain the few things they had left in particularly well. School wasn’t mentioned at all throughout the film, which was one of their better ideas 😉 , but Wade was supposed to have classes about the maker of the Oasis in his virtual school which the author used to explain a lot about this future to the reader. I think that could have been used again.
One of Parzival’s friends is a Japanese boy whose online persona is someone called Shoto but, in the movie he is called Sho. Was it too much effort for the actors to say that extra one syllable? Sho has an older brother that something happens to that they excluded from the film as well. (Not totally spoiling it is hard!)
One of the things I liked about the film was how they used the props and scenery and stuff. It all looked very authentic and realistic, when they could have just had a boy in his room looking at a screen. It must have been either a very expensive or very cheap film to shoot as the actors themselves hardly did any physical acting, it was all voices, while the majority of it was CGI video game footage. I also enjoyed the background music as they tied in really nicely with the theme and, growing up in a household where my parents are pretty obsessed with Bon Jovi and Wham and ACDC, that I knew a lot of the songs. Good thing?
Parzival’s online crush is a girl called Art3mis who comes across as a cute nerd in the book but is more like a cold-hearted who uses Wade in the film. What it also doesn’t tell you in the book is that she secretly is part of a freedom group who want to defeat IOI – the evil video games company I told you about earlier. Not really the sort of thing you forget to mention is it? “Oh did I mention that I’m the leader of a rebel resistance group fighting against evil in the galaxy?” I’m pretty sure they wanted it to be more like Star Wars. “No? Oh, must have slipped my mind. May the Force Be With You.” Anyway, one of her men pick up/ kidnap Wade and together with Artemis they… oops. You’ll have to read the book.
If you haven’t given up on me by now, thank you. Tell me which one you prefer and, if you don’t know yet, I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who likes sci-fi / futuristic novels. Below is a link for the trailer for the film, which is a 12:
But I found the book more interesting because of the more depth in character and plot it (is able to) go into. Because at the end of the day, the book is always better than the movie. Right?