I missed this one in the movies and only got to see it like 2 weeks ago. Since then I’ve seen it 5 times and have read the book within 48 hours, something that did not happen to me in quite some time 🙂
Is either of it worth it? How is it? Is there a huge difference? Which is better?
Lots of questions and totally valid ones. Let’s start with:
Is either of it worth the time?
Yes, both were absolutely worth the time, I invested into them and from the rumors I heard they are preparing sequels to the story. I’m not quite sure how that plays out but I will most certainly have a look into this.
How is it? Is there a huge difference? What is the difference?
Yes there is a huge difference. Let’s start with the movie (since I’ve seen that one first). It’s fast paced and colorful. A movie that is full of open and ironically easteregged pop cultural references not only to the 80s but some other eras as well.
The characters differ between book and movie. Z, Aech and I-r0k e.g. are still in school at the beginning of the book and Z does not start as an experience OASIS character. The character development is deeper and the whole story spans a much longer time (several months). We do see more of the fucked up world which is way darker than in the movie and so are the antagonists, which adds to the charm of the book in my opinion.
There is things I do not particularly like about the way the characters are portrayed in the movie. In the books the characters are explicitly described as not being hot teens. Whereas in the movies they clearly are. Given, Wade is maybe not the hottest guy in the street, Arti certainly is not as she has been described in the book (and I’m not talking about the hair color) and of course I think, it would not have killed them to express Aech’s preferences at some point, when they meet in the movie? Obviously Sho and Daito only have smalls side roles which is unfortunate but not too different from the book.
The love story (of course there is one) is too straight forward in the movie for my taste but you have to keep things short in the format to make them easier to understand for the audience.
Talking about easier to understand. The actual challenges in the movie are completely different from what happens in the book and some of those additions are really cool and add to the action. I think the first challenge could’ve been kept like in the book but I am a P&P geek whereas the mass audience in the movies probably would not get this sort of references plus it would’ve required a lot deeper introduction of JDH and Og as characters and their history to make it plausible. So compromises had to be made. I’m ok with the first challenge overall. I’m not ok with the second one as portrait in the movie. I was, when I saw it the first time. I read the book. Now I’m not anymore. I think bringing in the text based adventure game would’ve been pretty cool but again this is obviously an attempt to try to have something in the movie, that people can relate to and the third challenge brings in the arcade games from the 80s in a way big times so they make up for it.
Overall some things from the book are missing in the challenges, which I really enjoyed:
- Wade gets his last item in a different way
- The entire sub culture of quoting entire scenes from movies just for fun is missing for my taste
- D&D references are missing completely
- the way the last gate is supposed to be opened was so much different in the book and made so much more sense to connect Og and JDH
but there is also things in the movie that I think were actually better written than the book told them. The book is focusing on Wade, him being the narrator and THE character. It’s his struggles, his solutions, his sacrifices. While reading it, I could not but think, that it is only written for the guy I could have become. The little nerd boy who never gets laid and and wants to be the hero. I think the movie gave some good time on other characters like Arti and Aech. Especially Arti’s motivation in the movie had way more depth and I like how it was her who made the access to the final stage possible in the movie.
The longer part in the middle of the book, where Wade prepares his plans to reach the last key was certainly not too fitting for a movie so they took it out. That made sense.
What I missed in the movie (and that from the first time) is the background of the creators of the Oasis. It is very hard to understand the involvement of Og at the end of the movie, whereas in the book this is kind of awesome.
Did I like the ending of the book better?
That depends. I like the idea how the characters came together IRL in the book way better but it felt kind of rushed. I started to get the feeling, that the author wanted to finish the book and the “level up” of the IRL implications reached a bit of too high speed for my taste.
In the movie I missed the third challenge itself but I loved the final scene between JDH and Z way better than in the book. It had less “overlord” feeling and was well done.
It’s both great and worth getting into. If you are into fast reference littered action =>movie
If you enjoy reference to the 80s in arcade games, D&D, music => book.
I had a lot of fun with both!
5 polar bears.