Ready Player One – Some thoughts on what is likely to change from the original story
The following will contain specifics about the book Ready Player One as well as speculations for the upcoming movie. If you are reading the book or are planning to read it in the future, stop reading now.
After re-reading (listening) Ready Player One I wanted to give a breakdown of what I think is likely to get the cut and what could stay in terms of the important pop culture references which are very specific in the book.
Let's be honest here, some references are very obscure in the book and I can't imagine many of them having much of an impact on the general audience, so let's go through the challenges to gain the keys and clear the gates and speculate of the likelihood of it being in the movie:
One major point to consider beside the relative level of popularity of some elements is that many of the references are still covered by copyright and may not have allowed the IP to be used in the film.
Copper Key: Joust (video game)
It's possible if the game will still happen it will be replaced by something a little more mainstream and epic than dudes on a stork and a ostrich. The trailers give us little clue on how this may pan out.
First Gate: War Games (movie)
I'm afraid since the distribution rights belong to MGM it's not likely to have a full-on replay of the movie as part of the challenge to clear the first gate. As Ready Player One is owned by Warner Brothers, it's more likely to be one of their properties, perhaps a DC movie (there was a scene with Art3mis getting Parzival to dress up as Clark Kent) or The Matrix, which would be in the same genre as War Games.
Jade Key: Cap'n Crunch (cereal brand) + Zork (video game)
The Capt'n Crunch reference is very possible but I suspect Zork will be replaced by something else entirely
Second Gate: Blade Runner (movie) + Black Tiger (video game)
Blade Runner is one of Warner Bros' IPs and as such it makes it easier to incorporate within the movie. Black Tiger is a little more obscure however so this may also change into something else.
Crystal Key: 2112 by Rush (music)
Much as I hate to say it, I don't see much Rush being referenced other than as background music. The whole premise of the 2112 concept album on film would be like watching the Neverending Story with the subtle guitar sounds you hear in the futuristic scenes of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. I'm all for watching Parzival play an epic solo that reveals how to open the third gate but most of the audience wouldn't understand the weird beauty of it all.
Third Gate: Schoolhouse Rock (kids TV show) + Tempest (video game) + Monty Python and the Holy Grail (movie)
Schoolhouse rock is owned by Disney, which isn't the same house as Warner Bros, so that added with the fact that (unless you're American maybe) it's a very obscure reference, I don't quite see that make it to the movie. The rights to Monty Python are with Sony and as such are less likely to be shared. However seeing that the movie is over 40 years old may make it somewhat easier to share its rights, though I'm really only just speculating. Tempest may be the only thing that makes the cut here as it gives a chance to expand popular culture all the way to Shakespeare via video games but even that's stretching it a bit.
Much of the quests in the book are one person going through a bunch of tests or playing long arcade-style gaming sessions, neither of which make for great cinematography.
As for some of the key scenes, here's what I think will happen to them:
Early scenes on Ludus & school campus
That would establish Wade's situation at the start of the film and should make a reasonably fun virtual campus set of visuals. Likelihood: 90%
Interview with Sorrento + stacks explosion
The trailers pretty much confirmed both. Likelihood: 95%
Ogg's birthday party
Again this was confirmed in the trailers. Likelihood: 100%
PacMan game on Arcade
There's a scene in the trailers of a robotic character flipping a coin to Parzival, I suspect this will replace him sitting for hours on end for a perfect game of PacMan. I'm just hoping it won't be someone helping him but some random event or the result of something he excelled at. Likelihood: 10%
I'm conflicted on this. The movie has a 12A certificate and I have a feeling the killing of a child would have had to bump it up to 15, even if we don't actually see it. That said it seems like the sixers will be a lot more ruthless in the real world to find the 5 of them. It may just be his avatar that dies. Likelihood: 40%
IOI's inflitration scheme
This is one of my favourite scenes in the book but unless they can cut it short and still keep it effective this is essentially a daring feat aimed at hacking into the IOI "intranet". Likelihood: 50%
Meeting at the Ogg mansion
I think this will happen but with a lot more tension than "jump on that private plane I booked for you before they catch up with you". The scene where Aech's RV is being chased seems to be proof of that. Likelihood: 80%
Siege on Castle Anorak
Well this is the climax of the story so not likely to be cut out and we saw quite a few scenes from it already. What is unlikely to be in it however are things like Parzival's Leopardon and pretty much anything related to old Japanese sendai series unless it's Gundam or maybe Neo-genesis Evangelion and even then I'm not sure how rights would work (though I'm fairly certain I saw a Gundam in the trailers)
Finally all the trailers feature that big race that involve all the players in their avatar form competing against the sixers and probably one another but that's not in the book at all and no quest for keys or gates involve a race unless the end podium would determine the scores in one single event. The question is, which key is it for? My guess: the crystal key and the race has Rush as background music just like the first trailer.
I can't get over the fact that it comes out on Good Friday, the first day of Easter weekend, that could not have been a more appropriate release date. Pre-screening reviews have been coming through and so far I get a lot of positive vibes, unless of course you expect the book to be recreated exactly.
While you wait, here's a link to a few (legal) old school arcade games you can play on-line 🙂
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