Don’t get me wrong, the movie is great. It is a visual masterpiece of 80’s nostalgia that will drop your jaw. However, it is wildly different than the book. Don’t let that keep you away though. Ernest Cline, the author of the book, was also one of the writers of the screenplay. This was made with his full support.
Steven Spielberg was tasked with directing this film and he knocked it out of the park. Strangely enough, his works are heavily featured throughout the novel, but almost completely stripped away from the movie. I can only guess the reasoning is licensing issues or he didn’t want a movie that sounded like he was patting himself on the back the whole time.
Ready Player One is set in the year 2045 if a future wrought with poverty and apathy. It’s so bad, society has chosen to spend the majority of their waking hours in a virtual universe created by James Halliday (Mark Rylance) and Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg) called The Oasis. After Halliday’s death, a message was broadcast around the globe that told of a quest to find 3 keys hidden throughout the virtual world. Whoever should find the three keys wins the ownership if The Oasis and the fortune that comes with it.
While the movie may be different from the book on virtually every level, I can see why they did it. For one, like most novels, it just impossible to cram everything into two and a half hours. Sadly, this removes the backstory from most of the characters. You just have to accept the situations and social dynamics for what they are, but never really know why. Second, while the novel reads great and keeps you immersed in its world, it really just wouldn’t film well. While I may not have been able to watch the story I wanted and was expecting to see, the story they told was great. In the end, I was satisfied.