Imagine a world where the third world war has destroyed the world as we know it. Reality is harsh and the only way to escape it is through… virtual reality gaming?
Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the book by Ernest Cline, the movie Ready Player One is about an 18-year-old boy named Wade Owen Watts who lives in the trailer stacks of Columbus, OH, in the year 2045. Everyone uses a gaming system called the OASIS, created by Ogden Morrow and the late James Halliday, to escape their terrible lives.
After Halliday’s death, he issues everyone a challenge in a pre-recorded message; to find his easter egg hidden inside the game. The prize for finding it would be inheriting half a trillion dollars as well as total control over the OASIS.
To find the egg, a player needs three keys embedded somewhere in the OASIS. The only way to get the keys is to have an understanding of Halliday himself and of retro games.
Throughout his hunt, Parzival (Watt’s avatar name) meets Art3mis (Samantha Cooke), Aech (Helen Harris) Sho and Daito, and they team up to find Halliday’s Easter egg.
The plot is thoroughly developed, however developing the plot faster resulted in a decrease in the overall drama and suspense of the movie. Also, the High Five gather in real life in Aech’s post office truck in the movie, compared to being flown from their respective homes via charter jet to Morrow’s mansion in the book.
All the trials are also different, which slightly irritated me. The movie uses car racing with King Kong and a zombie romance for the first two trials compared to besting a computer player at Joust and reciting the lines of the movie WarGames.
Despite this, the characters and the circumstances they face in the real world are very well expressed and emphasized, such as Watt’s dysfunctional family (that gets blown up), the relationship between the High Five, even the fact that Sho is only 11 in real life, despite his avatar.
Also, Sho is played by freshman Philip Zhao. I was disappointed in how Sho really didn’t play a prominent of a role like in the book, only playing as comedic relief (“I’m only 11, so what?”).
Overall, I give this movie an eight out of 10 stars because although the characters are well developed, the compromise between plot advancement speed and drama detracts from the overall tension and competition, which is what made the book exciting and thrilling. If the movie needs anything, it’s the thrill that the book has.