Ready Player One

The first teaser trailer of the “Ready Player One” movie was released yesterday, and although I’m looking forward to it, I’ll already admit to being downhearted in lots of ways. While the trailer has lots of things going for it – the obvious quality of the special effects, the music, and so on – it also immediately confirms something that Stephen Spielberg said early on in an interview – that a lot of the pop culture references from the book would be replaced due to licensing and/or narrative issues.

I’m caught between a rock and a hard place on all of the references, because they are so important both to “nerd culture”, and to the plot in the book. Just as a small example, it’s obvious from the movie trailer that the Iron Giant is going to replace the obscure japanese mecha from the book – or maybe even Ultraman. I imagine they are the tip of a fairly big iceberg. On the other hand, it’s great to hear Rush in the trailer – because they are a huge part of the book too.

In many cases, there are very good reasons to change the references – the book has the time to go sideways into length expositions about Wade’s research into sometimes very obscure pop culture references from the 1980s in search of Halliday’s easter eggs. You can’t do that in a movie without either boring everybody to death, or making it into three or four movies.

Perhaps the most maddening thing is the army of idiots suddenly commenting on the movie trailer all over the internet that have not read the book, and will not read the book. It makes you want to pick them up and shake them – they are missing out on so much. They won’t understand who the Samurai character is standing behind the Iron Giant, they won’t understand the floating dance scene, and certainly not the key at the end of the trailer.

Here’s the thing though – in many ways reading the book will destroy the movie for most people, because the book is so good, and because there was never any way they could turn the book into a movie – not without gutting it, and changing it considerably – which it appears is exactly what has happened.

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6 Replies to “Ready Player One”

  1. I am really looking forward to seeing the film. There are times when he talks about his quests with Daito and Shoto, and things he did with Art3mis. It wouldn’t be a far stretch to put these in the film, and would actually make it more filling I think,

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    1. The exposition needed could ruin it though – and really, a modern audience aren’t going to care at all about 1980s video games. Think about it – who wants to watch 20 minutes of Joust, or an hour and a half of War Games in the middle of the movie? A lot of it will be ripped out.

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      1. Well, Duke Nukem and Tomb Raider come straight for the 90-s! :)I am sure the movie will find a big audience. If it was somebody else, I’d have huge doubts, but it’s Spielberg. He basically created a virtual reality for millions of kids in the 80-s and 90-s with Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones movies, E.T. and so many others…

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  2. I watched the trailer this morning and couldn’t agree more! I was so disappointed to see that so much was obviously changed even in short time span of what they could show in the trailer… Needless to say, though, I will be watching the movie — probably on opening night! 😉

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    1. So glad I’m not the only one thinking this. I will go to see it on opening night too, but I think I’ve already kind of divorced the movie from the book – much as you have to with any adaptation. I can still remember walking out of Lord of the Rings, and my brother in law saying “where the hell was Tom Bombadil?”

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