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Ready Player One – A Movie Review (SPOILERS ALERT)

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IN CASE YOU DIDN’T THOROUGHLY READ THE TITLE OF THIS POST–THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, SO DON’T CRY TO ME IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK OR SEEN THE MOVIE YET YOU CONTINUED TO READ THIS POST.

So, just to give a heads up, I was going to title this blog post “Ernest Cline Better Be Crying Himself to Sleep On a Bed Made of One-Hundred Dollar Bills”, but I felt that was too clunky.  It’s funny how a negative run-on sentence can seem great in your head but look absolutely horrible in print.  Or on a computer screen.  Whatever.

First and foremost–this post is highly negative.  And I apologize.  But I had to expel this bile somehow…

Last night, Ready Player One opened at the local Cinemark–an early (early) weekend release.  Ya’ know how movie theaters like starting weekend premieres on a Wednesday night so that the movie can have a bigger “opening weekend” gross?  Yeah.  The missus and I purchased tickets in advance for such an event for Ready Player One.

I recently read the book–which had been sitting on my shelf for what seemed like forever–because I knew that the movie was coming out soon.  Honestly, it took until I was a third of the way into the book before I began to enjoy it.  However, by the end, I was absolutely smitten with it.  It was one of the best books I had read in a long time–and the fact that I am not a sci-fi guy is saying something for the book itself.  Ernest Cline did a bang-up job creating a world and characters that made me fall in love.

Side note: can we all just agree, though, that labeling any books or movies as “dystopian” is just redundant at this point?  Not to be political…

Anyhoozles, the book made me even more excited to see the upcoming movie–as if the trailer showing teasers from the movie accompanied by a version of “Pure Imagination” wasn’t enough.

Immediately after reading the book, I went straight to JoJo, and begged her to see the movie on opening night with me.  She rolled her eyes–knowing she wouldn’t enjoy an action-adventure-sci-fi movie–but agreed, knowing it was important to me.  One thing about this movie–it proves which relationships are strong, I suppose.  Either way, I bought us advance tickets, held onto my confirmation number like it was the first key, and waited.  And waited.  It seemed to take forever until it was time to go see the movie.

Okay.  I won’t crack jokes about how half of the seats in the movie made farting noises when people used their buttons to recline (at first, I thought my seat was just trying to tell me I’m too fat, but then it started happening to a lot of folks).  Nor will I mention how some guy that came to watch the movie with fifty-two of his friends explained loudly that he worked there and began telling another guy he was in the wrong seat.  Nor will I make jokes about the fact that some guy actually arrived in a suit to watch the the movie.  Alone.  Let me just get down to the bells and whistles here.

Within five minutes, I knew that Steven Spielberg had deviated from the book so much that I was going to be pissed off.  Also, I knew Jodi and I were already tired of the movie.  I knew this by the way that we were both sighing heavily with each scene.  The movie completely skips any backstory about how the OASIS serves as a place for kids to go to school in virtual reality, doesn’t explain anything about the “planets” in the OASIS, changes the 80’s references, and almost immediately has Wade/Parzival solving the first challenge (which was a car race involving the DeLorean from Back to the Future, King Kong, a T-Rex, etc., so that the movie can have more action and explosions, obviously).  And Wade lives in Columbus, OH–not Oklahoma City.  Why?

But I watched dutifully, knowing that I wanted to review this movie for the blog since I had mentioned the book before.  However, around an hour into the movie–one of the main characters’ story arc changes so drastically from the book (Art3mis’), that I turned to Jodi and said, “I’m done.  Do you want to leave?”  She looked at me and said, “If you’re serious–I’ve been ready to leave since it started.”  So we left.

Yes.  Jodi and I paid $17 for two tickets to a movie that we walked out of halfway through.  It was really that bad.  Even though it deviated from the book as much as it did, I would have stayed if at least the movie was charming.  But honestly, it was as if Steven Spielberg decided to take the idea of Ready Player One, rewrite it (because he knows better than the author), and turn it into what could have almost been a Michael Bay movie.  Yeah, Michael Bay bad–that’s this movie.

Saddest of all, I was excited to see Lena Waithe show up as Aech–but I just couldn’t wait for that to happen.  Speaking of which–why did they change the book so much that Art3mis shows up in human form halfway through the movie (even though it happens at the end of the book), but Aech hadn’t??  I can’t really speculate here, but as we were walking out, I heard Art3mis/Samantha “welcome Wade to the resistance”.  So–now Art3mis is in charge of a resistance movement against IOI?  Really?!?!

I can’t really review the rest of the movie–since we couldn’t bring ourselves to wait it out.  However, I can honestly say that there wasn’t anything Steven Spielberg could have done to make up for what he did to the first half of the movie.  This was obviously a movie about Steven Spielberg sexuallly arousing himself with his own “brilliance”.  And, as you’d suspect, it was a complete mess.

There was one joke in the movie about online ads inducing seizures that made the whole theater laugh. But if that’s the high point of your movie, reconsider your editing choices.

Skip this one, folks–especially if you loved the book.

Until next time…

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Allen T. St. Clair is an author, blogger, amateur cook, and all-around smartass, hustling to get his books and other projects noticed.

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