A couple of months ago, I posted my book review of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I had a lot of mixed thoughts about it, so it turned out pretty long… you can read it here if you want to see what I thought!
The day after I finished the book I went to see the film in the cinema, and my god, I was TORN. I tend to be very sensitive about how close film adaptations are to their books, and Ready Player One had me torn in two. I won’t go into it to much here… here’s my review of the film and how it compares to the book.
My very first opinion of the film was that it was that it set up the world and the characters very well. The book is packed full of world building – like, I think it’s about 85% description – so I wondered how this would translate to the screen. It actually did pretty well – there was a lot of explaining in the form of narration at the beginning, but they did a good job of picking the most important parts of Cline’s extensive world building to highlight.
I was also impressed by the appearance of the main character, which pretty much matched the image I had in my head when reading the book, and the look of the real world as well as the virtual world inside the OASIS. It all looked great, and again, almost exactly how I imagined it!
This is where the similarities ended, though. The rest of the film was SO different, and I was overwhelmed with the changes. That’s not to say that these changes are a bad thing, though… there’s a mix of both. Some changes left me a bit irritated because I loved them in the book, whereas others vastly improved on their respective sections in the book.
Possibly the biggest change is the challenges that the ‘gunters’ have to do in a bid to win the game – and this was one of the changes that was a huge improvement on the book. The book’s challenges are, quite frankly, a bit boring, and when I read them I was a bit confused how they’d translate. So, I wasn’t shocked to see that for the film, the challenges were completely revamped to make them more exciting, more intense, and a lot more dramatic.
The rest of the changes, though, didn’t impress me as much… instead, they left me feeling a bit disappointed that they changed some of the best bits of the book.
Art3mis is another ‘gunter’, and someone that Wade looks up to. He reads her blog, and she’s practically famous in the ‘gunter’ community. In the book, he doesn’t meet her throughout the whole book (until they’re forced to at the end). She’s worried about meeting Wade in real life because she thinks he’ll find her hideous due to a large birthmark on her face and the fact that she’s overweight.
However, in the film, Wade literally meets Art3mis within 20 minutes. Not only that, but she has the faintest little birthmark and she’s conventionally Hollywood attractive and thin. Not at all how I imagined someone who hides her appearance behind a beautiful online persona, and definitely not someone who matches her description in the book.
I really liked the suspense of him meeting Art3mis and the rest of the gang in the book, and the build-up to their meeting with Wade wondering if they’d look like their virtual characters. But in the film, he kind of stumbles across them and it’s all very unplanned and convenient. Ugh, I didn’t like it.
While I’m on the subject of Art3mis, they did the exact thing I expected (and dreaded) from a high-budget Hollywood film: they focused waaayyy too much on the romantic relationship between Wade and Art3mis. The book didn’t have too much emphasis on the romance between them. It was there, sure, but it wasn’t really at the forefront of the story. In the film though, it took up far too much of the story, and it was boring!
Super Long Battle Sequence
Another thing I hated was how long the battle sequence went on at the end of the film. In the book, I appreciated that the battle only lasted a couple of chapters. I’m not a huge fan (if a fan at all) of battle sequences, which is one of the reasons I don’t like superhero or action films. So when the big battle scene in Ready Player One lasted about 4 hours, I was ready to either fall asleep or leave. 😀 It just wasn’t needed – it was dragged out for way too long and it reminded me a lot of the scene in Avatar, where it could have lasted 5 minutes instead of 5 hours.
I’m sure there are other things I’ve missed out of this review, but I’ve tried to remember as much as I could. As much as I wasn’t a big fan of the book, I still wanted the film to be a good adaptation. It was a very odd experience, because there were a lot of things that were great and improved so much on the book, but there were possible a lot more things that I didn’t like.
Generally, it’s a fun film to go and see, and I think the consensus is that if you haven’t read the book, you’ll like the film a lot. But as someone who finished the book just a day before I saw the film, I just couldn’t help but compare the two. Maybe if I hadn’t read it, my opinion would be a lot more positive… but I’ll never know. 😀
What did you think? Have you read the book, seen the film, or both? And if you’ve seen both, how did they compare for you?