Hey all, Dani here.
Happy Thursday! Or Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the USA.
Okay, so today’s review is going to be a slightly different format than what I typically put out, and that is for one simple reason: I have experienced three different versions of this story–the audiobook, the book, and the movie. So I will have my standard review, but also ratings for each format. As per my usual reviews, this will be kept spoiler free. Then, after I’ve concluded my “Where to Buy” section that you are all used to, I will go into a more spoiler filled compare/contrast. So if you have not seen the movie yet and/or read the book, I recommend not reading that section.
All right, let’s just do this.
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
Book Rating: 5 stars
Audiobook Rating: 5 stars
Movie Rating: hmm…okay, the movie on its own, without thinking of the source material: 5 stars, but when thinking of the source material probably a 3 star.
The first time I experienced this story, I listened to the audiobook for about 70% of it and read the other 30% because I was a little impatient. Let me tell you, I was completely swept away by the story. All of the 1980s pop culture references were amazing, and I did understand most of them, so that was pretty cool.
All of the searching and challenges and keys and gates were just so darn fascinating. Plus, hey, being an Ohio girl, it was cool that my home state was pretty important in the overall story. Fun fact: I used to spend a couple weeks every summer in Middletown, Ohio. If you’ve read the book, then you know why that location is important. It was just cool for me to connect so easily with the setting of the book, even if it is set in the near-future.
There was so much to geek out about in this book. What amazed me is how many non-geeks seem to enjoy the story as well. For instance, my brother. The book had apparently come up in conversation with a couple of his friends and he got super excited when he found out that I had a copy and he could start reading it immediately. He apparently enjoyed it so much that he went and borrowed Ernest Cline’s other book from my library without asking. So hey, that’s cool. My brother isn’t typically much of a reader. So it was cool to see him get so excited about reading a book.
There is so much going on in Ready Player One: action, humor, romance, intrigue/mystery, geekery and gaming, danger…the list could just go on and on. Actually, writing this up now makes me want to read the book again.
Okay, so let me take a moment and talk about the audiobook. I am so happy that they hired Wil Wheaton to do the narration. I feel like having a geek read the book just adds to that authenticity. Oh and there’s a part where Wil is having to read about himself, because he is mentioned a couple times in the story. Would it have been nice to have a female voice for Art3mis? Well, sure, but Wil does a fine job, so it would be a bit of a nit-pick to complain about it. I still greatly enjoyed listening to this adventure.
Then there’s the movie. Oh man, I don’t even know what to say about that version of the story without devolving into what could potentially be a spoilery rant. So I’ll just say that if you ignore the source material and just concentrate on the film, it was entertaining, action-packed, and geeky. So it did a fine job. But as soon as you start looking at the book as well, you realize how much had to be redone or removed entirely. I know that a lot of it had to do with licensing issues, but still. It bothers me. The casting was pretty much spot on, so that was a yay moment for me. But even aside from the licensing issues, there were a couple other plot points they changed and I don’t understand why. Oh well. There are few movie adaptations that can actually hold their own in comparison to the source material.
Where to Buy
You can pick up RPO from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. The audiobook can be purchased from Audible or any bookseller who stocks audiobooks. The movie is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.
This is where the SPOILERS are going to start, so stop reading now if you want to avoid those. Seriously. You have been warned. SPOILERS AHEAD. Otherwise, let’s do this.
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I’m mad about the first key challenge. Okay, fine, the race was pretty cool. But I really wanted to see the Tomb of Horrors, and even more than that, I really wanted the Joust match with Acererak. Maybe this is even more true since I just played through the 5th edition campaign of Tomb of Annihilation, which is an updated Tomb of Horrors, and I had to face the aforementioned lich. Come on, Wizards of the Coast, why didn’t you let them have that scene? It would have been awesome, and only added to the fantastic resurgence of D&D that has been happening lately.
I understand not being able to do the movie play-thrus in the “Ready Player One” film, but I still missed them.
Oh, and why was it necessary to have Parzival and Art3mis meet IRL so early on in the movie? Part of what I really enjoyed about their relationship is the wait for them to actually see each other in person.
One change I was okay with was Aech having the workshop instead of the Basement chat room. That was fine and pretty cool, and it was honestly a similar feel, so whatever.
Also, why in the heck was it necessary to have Art3mis be the one who was indentured to IOI, instead of it actually being Parzival. They took what was this grueling experience and turned it into a much shorter scene. Like, I get that there are certain time constraints for a film, but a passing of time can be covered fairly easily by a montage or something.
The effects were pretty cool. And I feel like they did a good job with Sorrento. Oh, and I was actually mostly okay with the changes they made in regards to Ogden Morrow. He still ended up being a pretty important character.
That is probably enough ranting for now. I held off on writing this post for a few months so I could decompress and process my thoughts and feelings without my raving and ranting becoming utterly ridiculous. Obviously I have strong feelings about this adaptation. I feel a bit sorry for my fiance for having to put up with my reactions when we initially saw the movie in the theater. I’m pretty sure I sighed loudly many times and also muttered under my breath quite a bit. Sorry, I get that way when I feel passionately about a particular story.