Ready Player One
Spielberg trolls a generation. With Cline on board, they turn the book into Wreck It Ralph for older manchildren. Feels like The Matrix from the POV of Agent Smith. Should have guessed from the book’s ending.
Just like the book, the ending is equally vapid and predictable.
The book provided only the high-level plot beats for the film. From the characters it took their names, since their personalities are either non-existent or significantly different from their book counterparts.
Most of the plot is also unrecognisable. In the book, the hunt for the egg is a lonely affair, where fanatics waste their lives reliving the Creator’s life in search of tiny nuggets of information that might lead them to a clue. Here, it’s more like an ARG, where people get together on a Second Life chat room and brainstorm idea. Ironically, that’s what the cheaters at IOI do in the book.
Not that the book was a beacon of subversion, but it gets filtered down to clean, mass marketable fluff. No children are thrown from balconies and framed as “another otaku suicide”. The explosions in the slums are not blamed on meth lab “accidents”.
There is an organised resistance to IOI, the number 1 ISP in the world. Instead of being composed of EFF and the FSF (Cory Doctorow is specifically mentioned in the book), it’s a bunch of rich hipsters with resources rivalling IOI. They sell themselves as underdogs, but IOI cartoonishly fail to capture them for the entire film. Clown shoes are almost heard in the background.
Gone is also the entire segment where Z sells himself into indentured servitude to hack the internal IOI systems. The book describes that process as THX 1138, but here it’s more like a Google interview.
The challenges themselves are turned into generic MMO quests. They are not instances and are bound by preposterous real-world-like constraints.
Ultimately, this fails to raise above utter mediocrity at best, turning into a truly horrible film at spaces.
I liked The Shining adaptation, though. It only lacked “Heeeere’s Johnny”.
This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.
- Ephemera of Vision