Hey guys, it’s been a while since I last posted something but after reading this book and then seeing the movie at the weekend, it’s something I want to talk about and see how you all feel about it if you’ve read the book and seen the movie.
Before we do go ahead I do have to warn you, this post WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!!
Okay, so first of all, let me just start by saying that I absolutely adored this book! Literally from page one, I was hooked. Ernest Cline’s world was captivating from the get-go and I was so desperate to continue reading more and find out all about Wade Watts/Parzival and the hunt for James Halliday’s egg. There were so many pop culture references that I adored for example there were references to Harry Potter, old classic video games and movies and so much more! If you’re a fan of all things geeky then I highly recommend this book to you because I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
The first thing I want to talk about with the movie is the casting. I was quite disappointed in the casting for the majority of the characters. Now to be completely honest, I never had a clear picture in my head of who I wanted to play each character but all I do know is that the chosen cast wouldn’t have been it and I don’t really know why it bothered me. The two characters I was happy with in the movie were Mark Rylance as James Halliday and Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow as the way they made the actors look for the film is exactly how I pictured both the book characters so it’s not all bad.
Next I’m going to talk about the main thing that I was let down with. Whilst reading the book, I completely fell in love with the challenges Cline created for each of the characters to face when searching for the keys and clearing each gate. In the movie however, this is changed completely (apart from the last challenge). In the book, once a key has been found, the characters have to figure out the clue that takes them to the gate which they then have to clear in order for them to receive a riddle/clue for the next key. Once the copper key has been found, the character must defeat Acererak the Demi-Lich (from Dungeons and Dragons) in a best of three round of the 1982 arcade classic Joust. After completing this and finding the copper gate, they are then required to take part in a “Flicksync.” Now to give you a bit of an explanation, a Flicksync is a simulation in which an OASIS avatar assumes the place of one or more characters of a given movie.* For the copper gate, Parzival and any other character (I’ll call them Gunters from now on) who works out the clue to open the gate, find themselves playing the part of David (Matthew Broderick’s character) and they must recite every piece of dialogue perfectly. After clearing this and receiving the clue for the Jade Key, the Gunter is then expected to complete a 3D rendering of the game Zork to win the key and then to clear the second gate they must complete a 3D rendering of the game Black Tiger. Last but not least, in order for the Crystal key to be found, the player has to return a mythical guitar to it’s altar in the world of Rush’s 2112 album. Which lastly takes us to the final gate where the player has to face a number of challenges which are; beat Halliday’s best score in Tempest, complete another flicksync (this time it being Monty Python and the Holy Grail) and finally finding the first video game easter egg in Adventure.
Now I know that is a lot to fit into a two hour movie but, I would’ve liked to have seen at least one of the gaming challenges being included. In the movie, the whole gate clearing concept has been taken out and that leaves just the keys to be found in order to win Halliday’s fortune. So, for the Copper key, gunters have to take part in a race whilst trying to avoid famous obstacles such as King Kong and the T-Rex from Jurassic Park to name just a few. Once completing this the winner is met by Anorak (Halliday’s OASIS avatar) and is presented with the first key. For the Jade key, then we see our High Five team having to take on The Overlook Hotel from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ and in the end dance with Kira (Halliday’s love interest) in order to get the Jade key. Lastly for the Crystal key, the challenge is very much the same as the book minus the final flicksync and Tempest contest. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the changes and thought it was done very well for the film but like I said earlier, it would’ve been nice to see one of the game challenges come to life.
The next thing I’m going to talk about is the meeting of the characters. In the book, the characters don’t meet face to face until the final pages of the book which for me made it much better because there was so much anticipation built up and you had some sort of feelings towards the characters. In the film however it all felt very rushed and therefore I didn’t feel any sort of emotion at all with it and I was so disappointed because for me that was a huge thing to happen considering the story’s main setting is in a virtual reality so for these characters to finally come together and meet the people they’ve grown so close to was just kind of meh. I also hate how soon Parzival and Art3mis became introduced in the movie. Now to be fair it stuck with them meeting during the first challenge just like the book but you still didn’t get the same feelings about it which made me sad.
I think I’ll make this part the last thing I talk about because this post has already been longer than I thought it would be so I do apologise! Okay, so I get that the main thing is supposed to be that this is all about a virtual reality setting type thing but as well as going into this, Cline makes a great effort to go into the personal life of Wade Watts so we can feel some kind of emotion towards the main character and also find out about him as an actual person and not just his OASIS avatar. However in the movie, we have next to no description and also everything feels kind of rushed as well. When talking to my boyfriend about it (he hasn’t read the book), he told me that he was quite confused as to how everything happened and why things are the way they are and that’s purely because in the movie we don’t really get much of a background story for everything which would’ve helped the movie make more sense and also would’ve helped viewers gain some sort of attachment towards the characters too.
Overall I do think the film is good in it’s own aspect and I enjoyed it for what it was but I did enjoy the book a whole lot more (as most people tend to do) because we were given that little bit extra background knowledge on the characters and also because there was so much more depth and fun put into the challenges. All the pop culture references throughout were great as well and I must say, the way the Iron Giant was brought to life in the film made me so happy and gave me all the childhood feels! Again, sorry for such a long post but it’s something I’ve been wanting to talk about since coming out the cinema.
Have any of you guys read the book/seen the film? Even if it’s just one or the other or both I want to hear what you thought about them! I really loved this book and need more people to talk about it with so please leave comments below and we can have a wee discussion!