Ready Player One felt like watching Ready Player Two.
I had read the book “Ready Player One” years ago and loved it right from the start. When I heard the film was being released I was very excited-it seemed like a great story to bring to the big screen. As the release date of the film grew closer I came across an 80’s arcade in Daytona Florida and I figured this would be a great way to introduce my kids to all these cool 80’s Arcade games. I had been telling my kids about the book for a few months and figured what better way to get them prepared for the film than to try these games out first hand. This Arcade in Daytona not only had the original Pac-Man game but also a working JOUST machine! I had my kids play that game a few times just to get the feel for it and get the basics of the classic 80’s game style. My kids were hooked on the movie trailer, but I wanted them to get a reference for some of the classic games I figured would also be in the film.
Opening weekend of the film came and we set off to see the movie. My kids loved it, so that is a big win, as most of the movies I suggest to them they cannot get past the first half hour. Unfortunately for me, every scene that they liked (pretty much 60% of the film) they kept whispering to me “Dad was that part in the book?” and I consistently found myself saying “No, that scene was not in the book”. The clues, hints, movie references, quests and hidden adventures that stood out as some of Cline’s best refences, in my opinion, did not make the big screen. Most noteworthy, the three main keys, none of their challenges were the same. It felt like I was watching what could have effectively been a sequel to the book or at the very least, a modern reboot of a movie that did not need a reboot yet. My kids loved it and I enjoyed the story and that’s part of the movie going experience however, I think the creators should have done a closer rendition of the novel and they could have taken this route as a second film. If the novel was a success, there must be a reason for it. With this movie, there are elements that are the same as the book, but the main draw to the book seemed to be missing. I would take a guess that to any of the readers that truly found connections to the text when they first read the story, this film was lacking in those connections. By no means am I knocking down Zac Penn, I have loved his film scripts for years. It just feels the story should have been more based on Cline’s work rather than this new version for the first film. There were other changes that could have taken place- other twists and plot alterations to still make the movie stand out from the book as its own creation, and at the same time still capture more of the essences and nostalgia of the original book.
Overall a great movie, but not the same experience or blast from the past I had from reading the novel. I really feel it captured some of the book but not enough to live up to the name “Ready Player One”. I think this film would have made an awesome sequel as oppose to being the first one.