Pop culture fans rejoice Ready Player One the movie is finally here and after an amazing debut at SXSW, I cannot wait to hear what the rest of the world has to say about it. Of course, this film is based on the Ernest Cline novel set in the future where the world is so overpopulated people are living on top of each other in poverty. Their only escape is virtual in the form of the OASIS. A virtual world where they can be anyone and do anything they wish. For one young man, Wade Watts, he is seeking to unlock something more from the OASIS. You see a few years before the creator of the OASIS passed away leaving the world with a challenge and that is that he has hidden three keys somewhere in the OASIS and the person who finds all three will inherit control over not only his fortune but also of the OASIS itself. However after years of players turning up nothing in the way of keys, many have given up except for a small few, guys like Wade, and a corporation that is determined to find the keys and claim the OASIS for themselves so they can monetize it instead of leaving it the free experience it is.
Okay, fans of the book all want to know one thing and that is if this film stays true to the book. The answer is a solid yes....but also a big no. Let's be honest guys, they were never going to get the rights to some of the pop culture references in the book and the fact that the film got as many as they did is impressive in itself. So yes there are some major changes from the book to the film. The challenges for the keys are different mostly and let me tell you it is not really a bad thing. It works for the movie and almost gives you a totally different experience. Think of this in the same way fandom's have to approach Game Of Thrones, both the book and the TV show are good in their own ways, but we all know some will prefer one over the other. The challenges fit the film here and that is what is important.
Also there is a bit of voice-over narration to catch everyone up with the plot because we don't have 12 hours to watch this movie to give us every detail this book gave us and that is fine by me, This movie is fun and enjoyable to watch and yes even if we are forced to fast forward to get right down to business with the story it is not the end of the world here guys. I overheard some people complaining about how we didn't get the true back story of Wade and just how poor his situation is, but let me tell you, if watching a kid who is sleeping on top of a washing machine inside a stack of RV's while occasionally getting smacked around by his aunt's crappy boyfriend doesn't trigger how bad his situation for you, then maybe nothing will. I will, however, agree there are parts of Wade's relationships with his friends like Aech and Art3mis that do at times feel rushed. Personally, since I read the book, this wasn't a deal breaker for me, but I am not sure if someone who is new to the material will overlook it quite so easy.
The action and pop culture references in this film are off the hook good though. The scenes that were added had our theater screaming with joy. I don't want to spoil it for you, but trust me there are some cool surprises awaiting you in the OASIS. Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke along with the rest of this amazing cast did a great job bringing life to these characters. I think Tye was actually a pretty perfect choice for the role of Wade. He has compassion but the determination that emanates from him through the film even in avatar form. The witty one-liners and jokes throughout the film are perfectly timed and keep heavy scenes from getting too intense. The battle scenes at the end are insane.
As a fan of the book, I can honestly say I loved this movie. It was everything I wanted it to be. I gave Ready Player One a solid A- (the minute is for the few changes that had to be made and the rushed character interactions in a few scenes, nothing major though). I definitely think you need to give this film a chance. it was fun and you will definitely almost have to see this more than one to catch all the pop references not just in the center of the screen but throughout the film.
Ready Player One hits theaters everywhere March 29th!