The Ready Player One Film Doesn’t Look Much Like the Book (Thank Goodness)

I’m a tremendous geek, and I’m proud of it. I write about video games and films, I have a shelf full of classic sci-fi that I’m procrastinating to read, and my earliest memory involves Star Trek. As such, I was pretty excited by the concept of the book Ready Player One– written by Ernest Cline, it’s a sci-fi novel set in a dystopian future in which people spend most of their time in virtual reality in a game world known as the Oasis. The story is a sort of treasure hunting adventure about Wade Watts, a teenager chasing after a series of secrets in the game left behind by the said game’s creator that, if discovered by players, will grant access to the creator’s vast fortune. Pivotal to finding these secrets is knowledge of 80’s pop culture and gaming skill. During the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. dropped the first trailer for the movie, which is embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

Besides the great use of Pure Imagination and Rush’s Tom Sawyer, I noticed something else about the trailer: it was largely made of material that’s not in the book. I have absolutely no recollection of an automobile race between IOI (the evil megacorp from the book that’s pursuing the fortune by any means necessary) and the story’s protagonist, but it’s a welcome addition- at least from a visual standpoint. Also, it seems to indicate that the film’s not aiming to be totally true to the book, which I feel is necessary, because the book wasn’t that great.

As I mentioned at the outset, I’m a huge geek, but I’m also a critic. Ready Player One (the book) wasn’t particularly well written. It largely leaned on the 80’s and geek culture references, and while it’s fun to say “Hey! I remember that!”, it seemed to try and repeat this nostalgic magic ad nauseum, at the cost of character development. Nostalgic references in a story are comparable to honey; a little can sweeten a good dish, but too much and you’ll feel sick. This is the Ready Player One problem that may be solved by the movie- in the space of the film, it’s possible to make room for all these old characters and vehicles and trivia without crowding out the story- which may have been changed for the better.

Ready Player One is set to be released March 30, 2018- will you be watching? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow @1RuleBeCool on Twitter for all the greatest game and movie news.

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