Steven Spielberg adds personal touch to ‘Ready Player One’

Leah Beyer, Staff Writer

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The idea of a virtual reality has become increasingly popular in recent years, an idea that the book “Ready Player One” expands upon. Author Ernest Cline first published this book in August of 2011, and now, just over six years later, fans of the novel and others can view it on the big screen.

The book, and movie, follows the story of a teenager who lives in Columbus, Ohio during the year 2044. At this time, the United States has decreased in power and much of the population lives in poverty. As a way for ordinary citizens to escape from the grim reality, aloof genius James Halliday created a virtual reality game named the OASIS.

The OASIS takes off in popularity and soon becomes a place most people spend the majority of their time, often spending more time there than in the real world. When Halliday passes away, he leaves behind a hidden easter egg within the game that contains his entire fortune. The first person to complete the tasks and find the egg receives the fortune and control of the game in the future.

While the book and movie follow this same basic plotline and both include many ‘80s references, there are some fairly major differences in how each one plays out.

These differences can be seen in the tasks they complete, how friendships are developed and even more. Those who have read the book before seeing the movie might also find themselves frustrated by some of these discrepancies. Likewise, those who have not read the book, or are at least less bothered by the differences, are more likely to have a better experience overall. Even if you have read the book, the movie is still an enjoyable watch.

According to Sandie Angulo Chen from Common Sense Media, “Although the many story changes might be hard for book purists to accept, Steven Spielberg has lovingly captured the zeitgeist of ’80s nostalgia in this adventure.”

Spielberg still incorporates some of his own adaptations that add to the quality of the film. One of these adaptations is a deeper look into Halliday’s history and what led him to create the OASIS in the first place. This also helps in explaining why Halliday had no other relatives to leave his fortune behind for.

Yet another aspect that receives more on-screen attention is the illustration of an internet safety lesson. As a result of the main characters meeting their closest friends online, these friends don’t always turn out to be who they seem. The greater emphasis of this lesson leaves the audience with a reminder of the dangers of the internet, or other virtual worlds, and also the reminder of how important it is to live in the real world.

Although there were several changes from the book to the movie screen that were unexpected, Spielberg still captured the essence of the book while adding some of his own touches. Overall, I enjoyed the book slightly more than the movie, however, that did not keep me from viewing “Ready Player One” twice in the theaters.

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Steven Spielberg adds personal touch to ‘Ready Player One’