The transition from paperback to the silver screen is often a rocky one, and many movies fall short when compared to their written origins. This being said, movies and books have different approaches to entertaining their audience. A movie must be enticing the whole run-time and filled with visually engaging shots and scenes. Unlike a book, a movie cannot allow an audience member to pause their viewing and ponder a particularly juicy plot point. Meaning, it is clear why movies simplify and actionize perfectly good books for the sake of excitement. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and the movie version directed by Steven Spielberg perfectly exemplifies this divide between books and movies.
Spielberg had the challenge of creating a movie that multiple generations can relate to. A major facet of Ready Player One is the book’s many 1980s references in every genre from music to video games. To combat this generational gap, Spielberg added other iconic references that are more relatable to a wider audience. While this move makes sense, it does take away from Cline’s original intentions for the book.
Additionally, Cline’s Ready Player One follows the internal struggle of the main character, Wade Watts. Ignoring this character development and the other intricate elements of plot simplifies the storyline to the point of distortion. Replacing these book elements with action scenes changes the tone of the storyline and the impact it has on the audience.
In my opinion, the movie version of Ready Player One was interesting but lacked the details that made me enjoy the book so much.