Ernest Cline

Ready Player One (2018)


Ready Player One (2018)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Starring:

Ty Sheridan

Olivia Cooke

Ben Mendelsohn

Lena Waithe

Mark Rylance

Plot:

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.

Review:

I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline back in 2011 when it came out and I freaking loved it. I gave it to my dad as a Christmas gift that year and everything. Sure it was packed full of 80s references but it was fun! I will judge all VR by the VR in the game and it will probably never live up to that in my lifetime. I never went back and read it again, even though I own it on hardback, and after watching the movie I’ve realized it did not age well.

Wade Watts, Ty Sheridan, lives in the stacks in Columbus, OH. His parents are dead and his aunt is “raising” him, her abusive boyfriend is clearly the priority though. Wade spends all of his time in the OASIS, which is the VR world. That’s where everyone lives. Wade doesn’t seem to have a job or go to school instead he is a gunter, he hunts for Easter eggs to unlock the dead creator of the OASIS billions.

Wade is a pretty one note character, there is almost no depth here. He lives and breathes Halliday, Mark Rylance, and everything that Halliday loved so that he can win the contest. Somehow, even after thirty years or so, Wade figures it all out and against all odds wins.

Naturally, there’s a girl, Olivia Cooke. There’s a romance here, but you never really figure out why Samantha likes him. She seems to have more depth than him, she wants more, and is leading a resistance or something, and yet she falls for the nerd that can’t tell you anything about the real world. It’s very wish fulfillment and disappointing.

Visually, the movie is shot beautifully, of course, Steven Spielberg. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really save the movie for me. It was nice to hear the random 80s theme song notes every now and then too. It’s just…the world has changed since this book came out. I’ve changed. Seeing a white boy with no thought to anything outside of old pop culture just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

There were lots of changes from the book, there would have to be in something like this, however, I felt like most of the changes were not for the better. All in all, it was a pretty disappointing movie and I’m kind of scared to ever go back and read the book.

2/5

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Armada By: Ernest Cline

Armada

Armada By: Ernest Cline

Plot:

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
Review:

This book was ridiculous, right now I’m not sure if it was a good or bad ridiculous, though.

Even though the book started with Zack seeing an alien ship it seemed to take forever for anything to actually happen. There was a lot of explaining about the fact that his dad was dead and how that had impacted his entire life and Cline walked you through Zack’s levels of obsession over his father.

*Spoilers*

A lot of very farfetched things happened in the book, which is fine, sometimes that’s fun, but I think some things went too far overboard. The aliens in this book acted like video game aliens, which Zack realized but no one else seemed to pick up on. Well a couple other people but they hadn’t done anything about it which considering the whole world was in the balance seemed very irresponsible and stupid.

The ending was filled with needless death and while I was crying at the loss I was also pissed off. A lot of people made some very stupid decisions considering they had literally decades to think up solutions. Are we really that stupid as a species?

I think the icing on the cake of over the top ridiculous was when Zack’s mom gets pregnant after one bout of sex with her long dead husband. Seriously? That was unnecessary and more than a bit stupid.

The way the book ended it could very well lead to more books and the creation of a series but that’s exactly how Ready Player One ended and so far we’ve got nothing. The last thing I read was that Cline wanted to write something similar to Catcher in the Rye, but that could have been a joke. God I hope it was. Other places are saying he’s working on a sequel to RP1 so we’ll see what happens. He’s not a particularly fast writer so we have some time.

Anyway, I knew going in that this book wasn’t going to resonate with me like Ready Player One did, the plot just didn’t do it for me, but I loved RP1 so much that I wanted to like this one. All in all I felt like it was okay, but not something I have to own or would likely recommend to people. It’s an idea that’s been done before and I honestly don’t think Cline brought enough new to the table.

I look forward to more by Cline, but I’m keeping my excitement in check for now.

3/5