As I mentioned last week, or whenever it was that I reviewed Ready Player One the book, my son was super-excited to see this movie adaptation because he really loved the book a lot. We went to the movie on Saturday afternoon at our local theater.
If I were reviewing my local theater, it would get five freaking stars, because it was renovated four or five years ago, and now all of the theaters have those amazing recliners that are roomy and comfortable. They also sell craft beer and cider. Seeing a movie there is delightful and highly recommended.
I am not, however, reviewing my local theater. I am reviewing this movie. And this movie was . . . disappointing.
I didn't love the book, but I liked it quite a lot. This was one of those disappointing situations that goes beyond just "the book was better," because with the exception of The Wizard of Oz, the book is almost always better. Nope, this was one of those disappointing situations where the movie and book bore a passing resemblance to one another, in the same way that La Croix bears a passing resemblance to fruit.
Aside from sharing character names and a general story arc, there were quite literally no consistencies between the book and the movie. All of those bits I loved about the book - War Games, Rush, the Pac Man battle - not in the movie. For fuck's sake, it started with a driving game. There was no goddamned driving game in the book.
If I try to analyze the movie in a vacuum, pretending as though the book doesn't exist and I didn't like it, then maybe the movie works OK? I mean, I was entertained enough while I was watching. But it left nothing, really, to the imagination of the viewer. It didn't push those nostalgia buttons nearly as effectively as the book. It was just another overdone CGI-fest with a minimal story about an out of control corporation (honestly, this makes me wonder if the Supreme Court Justices have ever even seen a movie, with their clear failure to understand that giving corporations political power and constitutional rights is clearly going lead to a dystopian end for all of us) and way too many chase scenes.
My son enjoyed it more than I did. My husband was more irritated about the changes than I was. I tried really hard to just pretend like they were two completely different things, which worked okay. But, weirdly, this reasonably entertaining but wholly mediocre and forgettable movie stole the title of a book that I had really enjoyed.