This does not contain spoilers.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was well-received by the literary community, earning 4.29 stars on Goodreads and appearing on the New York Bestseller lists for hardcover, paperback, and audio (beautifully narrated by Wil Wheaton). Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg received above average reviews (7.6 on IMDB) and is the eighth highest grossing film of 2018 so far. Both have done well independently of one another.
The most common criticism is how overwhelming the nostalgia is in both works, so I’ll address this first. I have absolutely no love for nostalgia. I also dislike almost all music, films, and television shows from the 1980s. As someone who has no interest in this sort of thing, I enjoyed the book and the film immensely. I don’t think the references took away from the plot or the characters. It was simply a way of understanding Halliday. Perhaps it was to engage an audience that might otherwise not have enjoyed the story, but I don’t think it needed that to be successful. It did not bother me or please me in any way.
Now, for the criticism to end all criticisms: “The book was better than the movie.”
Transferring a book to screen verbatim is impractical and pointless.
Literature and film are two entirely separate media. They are separate art forms. You cannot take a piece of music and turn it into a painting and expect it to be exactly the same or to look the same as everyone imagined it should. It is the artist’s interpretation of a work.
To adapt a book to film without changing it is to lose the value of adapting it in the first place. Movies and books have different advantages to them and are entirely different ways of telling stories. To expect a film to be an accurate representation of what you as an audience member imagined the book to look like is to do a disservice to the film medium.
Because of this, I will never say “the book was better.” The film is its own work, as is the book.
I enjoyed Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I think it had a great plot and I loved the characters. Cline’s second novel, Armada, is one of my all-time favorite novels and I have high hopes for him as an author.
I enjoyed Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg. It was exciting and romantic, but not in an overdone way. I loved the cast. I always enjoy Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg, and I recently saw Tye Sheridan in Dark Places (another book-to-movie adaptation by Gillian Flynn) and thought he did really well and has great potential as an actor.
There are a lot of changes. A lot of movie and game references changed, which I assume is because copyright laws are different for film than they are for books. The movie starts later in the story than the book, which I thought was a great way of making the plot line short enough to fit into a movie. And yes, a lot was left out.
If it really bothers you that the movie wasn’t at least two hours longer, I recommended reading the book again. It’s okay if you enjoy books more than movies. It’s okay if you enjoy movies more than books.