Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Ready Player One (2018)

Go To

For examples from the original novel, go here.

  • Adaptation Displacement: The novel never managed to be a mainstream hit and its reputation is polarizing, to say the least. Meanwhile, the movie not only managed to be much more successful (many viewers never read the novel) but it was praised as well.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Wade's aunt Alice berates Wade for taking her gloves without permission, threatening him that if he does it again, she'll throw him out. Is she simply being a Jerkass abusive aunt to Wade? Or is she simply tired of dealing with the consequences of Wade enabling Rick to waste their money on items in OASIS again and again? In the film, she's only mad at Wade when she found out that he took her gloves, and at Rick for gambling all their savings on a PvP match that he eventually lost, and in the process, losing all the stuff he bought with the money that she planned to use to move them all out of the tiny trailer they were living in, which Wade could've prevented, or at least absolved himself of any anger from his aunt, by not nicking the gloves in the first place. It's implied that Rick isn't any great shakes at PVP, so he probably would have lost the match and the money regardless.
    • Advertisement:
    • Some see Sorrento as just a Corrupt Corporate Executive bent on milking as much money from the public as possible, but what if it was his internship with Halliday that made him that way? Think about it: you get an internship to work with a man whose games you love to play and are eager to learn how he does what he does. However, what does he do instead: have you go get coffee for him and ignores you. After taking that for a long period of time, wouldn't you consider abandoning your dreams of being a programmer and going into becoming a businessman? What if Halliday, essentially, created the person Sorrento is by basically crushing his hope and dreams, making him as he is in the film? The ending would make sense as to why Sorrento didn't pull the trigger on Wade when he had the chance: he was reminded of that person who wanted to be a game programmer and who loved video games.
    • Advertisement:
    • Was Halliday a noble scientist who created great things (such as the Oasis) for the benefit of everyone? Or was he more like The Social Darwinist, setting up all these tests to ensure only the smartest people could solve them (allowing them to control the Oasis and potentially rule the world.)
    • For the short amount of time that Samantha and Wade have known each other for, her talks about how one shouldn't be attracted to people you just met online, her outwardly-stated reluctance in getting into a relationship with him while in the Oasis, then at the end of the film she allows Wade to kiss her and then get into a relationship with said person makes it look like she's a hypocrite who's only into him for the money.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Given the divisive reputation the original novel has, detractors of the original novel thought that the film will not meet expectations and that it will be a mess, even under the helm of Steven Spielberg. Then comes the release and it actually managed to gain a positive reception with a 73% "Certified Fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an opening weekend of $53M that cleared its initial expectations of $35M, also obtaining the #1 spot for its opening weekend, heavily dethroning Pacific Rim: Uprising and preventing juggernaut Black Panther from reclaiming it. Some believe the more positive reception of the adaptation could be the exclusion of the more contentious content from the novel.
  • Advertisement:
  • Angst? What Angst?: Apart from calling Sorrento out for it once, Wade doesn't seem to dwell much on the bombing that killed his aunt and many of the neighbors that he used to know. Even in the epilogue, there's no callback to that event.
  • Broken Base: Many fans didn't take well to Mark Rylance's performance as Halliday, saying that he seems to be completely phoning it or that he just looks and sounds stoned. Others point out that his performance is appropriate for someone with severe anxiety and is in the last throes of cancer.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • It's pretty easy to tell that Aech's voice is a modulated woman's voice, and the reveal is made even more clear by the foreshadowing early in the film when Aech says that Art3mis could be a man.
    • If one is capable of recognizing Simon Pegg by both face and voice, the story's very last reveal, that the Curator of the Halliday Museum is Ogden Morrow's avatar, is simple to figure out.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • I-R0k, a very minor character in the book turned Ascended Extra in the movie.
    • The lynx avatar who takes a selfie with Parzival at The Distracted Globe and then uses this information to inform I-R0k of his location has gained a strong following among the Furry Fandom.
    • The red-headed IOI Oology expert played by Rona Morrison earned a fair amount of fan respect for being a Punch-Clock Villain who manages to figure out the correct game, and correct method that Halliday wanted to test players with.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Chinese are big fans of this movie, as they gave WB the company's biggest opening weekend in the region ever and gave it an incredibly high score of 9.2/10 on Douban (a feat rarely accomplished for a Hollywood movie). Unlike a lot of Hollywood films released in China around the same time, such as Black Panther and Pacific Rim: Uprising (which plummeted after their opening weekends), Ready Player One actually succeeded in maintaining audience interest, grossing $218 million in total (over $80 million more than its US/Canada gross). All things considered, this isn't too surprising, given that many moviegoers in China are also gamers, and that their love for WarCraft was a key factor in keeping that movie from outright flopping.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Morrow is sort of drowning himself in nostalgia, being the Curator of the Halliday Journals. His best friend and his wife are both dead, he's locked out of Gregarious Games, and the movie makes no mention of Halcydonia Interactive, the company he and Karen created after Morrow was forced out of Gregarious. One might assume that Morrow is spending time with his best friend the only way he can now.
    • The villain of the book and movie is IOI Corp. Several years down the line, a real life IOI Corp in Malaysia actually came under fire not only for inhumane treatment of wild animals and destruction of forest areas in Borneo to establish new palm oil estates, but also for violation of human rights when it comes to treatment of their employees. note 
    • A horrifying one due to recent reports that Sony filed a patent for VR based ad displaying (including one that brings to mind the film's Pure O2/"80 percent of the visual field" pitch), as well as reports that ads will be targeting users with eye tracking information.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Mere months after the film's release, Warner Brothers announced a Live-Action Adaptation of one of the properties featured in the film, namely Gundam. Nobody saw this coming, much like its inclusion in the film. But in hindsight, this film may have thus served as "testing the waters" for it.
      • Speaking of testing the waters, the appearance of MechaGodzilla comes well before his appearance on the merchandise for Godzilla vs. Kong.
    • The movie ended up predicting something that the book's sequel would confirm: that the efforts of the High Five ended up destroying IOI after they won.
  • Hollywood Homely: Samantha/Art3mis. She's convinced she's repulsive. In actuality she's a very cute and attractive girl who at the worst barely looks like she spilled some rouge on her face. Wade lampshades this.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Many people who are on the fence about the movie or outright dislike it are interested in seeing the movie just because The Iron Giant is a key player in the movie's final battle. There's many other people tuning in for a chance to see the DeLorean or other favorite vehicles plus the myriad of guest characters from several decades of pop culture, not just The '80s.
    • Several people are looking into it for literally MechaGodzilla, who is the Big Bad's robot of choice for the final battle. It is primarily the Showa version mixed with some features from its Heisei and Millennium incarnations.
    • Movie audiences in Myanmar are pretty stoked to see a Burmese actor, Win Morisaki, in a big budget Hollywood blockbuster.
  • Les Yay: The cute awkward moment where Art3mis asks Kira if she would like to dance.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Nolan Sorrento and IOI take a flying leap over the line when they bomb one of the stacks in an attempt to kill Wade even though Sorrento knows dozens of innocent people will die in the collateral damage.
  • Narm:
    • Samantha acting as if her facial birthmark is a horrible disfigurement that will repulse Wade despite her actress being quite attractive. Moreover, the birthmark is significantly lighter than most real-life, port-wine stains, as well as less obtrusive than the tattoos and facial mods on many OASIS avatars (and it is even visually similar to those, to the point the viewer might believe it is just warpaint or some kind of punk makeup until she explains it).
    • Wade using "noob" and "hater" as insults during otherwise tense, dramatic scenes.
    • Big Bad Nolan Sorrento talks with an exaggerated lisp that makes him sound very much like Sylvester the Cat. Y'know, like no serious, credible villain is ever supposed to.
  • Narm Charm: Despite Rylance's stoned performance as Halliday, critics still lauded his performance (as the Broken Base entry points out, his performance is entirely appropriate for a man with an anxiety disorder, possibly even somewhere on the autism spectrum).
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Really, most of the pop-culture cameos fall under this, save for a few like Tracer that show up in more than one scene. For more, see the Shout-Out page.
    • The anthropomorphic female lynx avatar called the "Queen of Cats" seen during the party sequence has gained a following among the furry fandom despite having only 30 seconds of screentime and a few lines.
  • Popular with Furries: The female lynx avatar called "Queen of Cats" in the credits, seen in The Distracted Globe, became rather popular with the furry fandom. It might have something to do with her Impossible Hourglass Figure and considerable assets.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Once you know the back-story of the Curator, it makes his insistence that Kira has more than one mention in Halliday's journals more poignant. Since the curator is revealed to be the avatar of Ogden Morrow and "Kira" is Karen Underwood, his late wife.
    • In a less story driven moment, any time you rewatch the film, you will spot new characters and shout outs that you missed on your first watch.
  • Shocking Moments: Too many examples to list, really. The biggest example absolutely has to be seeing the Iron Giant fight Mechagodzilla... and then seeing a fucking Gundam fight Mechagodzilla. And not just any Gundam. The FIRST Gundam, the RX-78-2, which strikes the famous pose of the MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam on its way down to the fight.
  • Signature Scene: All three of the challenges — the racing sequence, the sequence where the characters wind up in The Shining, and the big battle sequence at the end. Of those, the middle one seems to be the most-discussed.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • It is not hard to imagine this as a film version of Garry's Mod. The premise, of being able to play and mess around in player-constructed environments and use iconic fictional characters as well as real historical people, is very similar to the game, just without the mechanics.
    • It has been compared to the 1971 version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. This is helped by the usage of a Suspiciously Similar Song of "Pure Imagination" in the trailers and the fact that Gene Wilder himself was approached to play Halliday. Also Ernest Cline has stated that the novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" inspired his novel "Ready Player One", so it makes sense that the films would carry that same comparison.
    • Some people, especially anime fans, also compared it a bit with resident MMO-gone-serious series Sword Art Online due to its premise, an opinion that seems to be shared by its own creator. Curiously enough and for enforcing this, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Ai Kayano and Kōichi Yamadera, who voiced Kirito, Alice Zuberg and Akihiko Kayaba respectively, works in the Japanese dub of the film as Shoto, F'Nale and Morrow respectively.
    • The battle portion could be compared to South Park's Imaginationland trilogy/compilation movie, which culminates in a gigantic battle between good and evil armies consisting of hundreds of characters from pop culture and beyond. The ending is similar too, in that a giant nuke kills everybody, but the hero somehow survives.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The teaser's sweeping orchestral score that plays when Parzival is deliberately styled after "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It's not a coincidence that Parzival describes OASIS with as a realm of just that. Then the trailer titled "Come With Me" came out and revealed that the full score was literally a cover of the song.
    • The battle against MechaGodzilla contains a tracked portion of the Godzilla March.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Following the release of the first few trailers, bad word-of-mouth from the book's detractors got a tight hold on the conversation online, and there were plenty of accusations that the studio was trying to exploit people's feelings of nostalgia took a grip on people unfamiliar with the source material. Thankfully, good reviews made all the difference in the world.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: How some disappointed book fans feel about the movie, which drops or changes many of the book's key set pieces.
    • For all that got changed, though, the basic structure is still the same: Wade and the High Five work to stop IOI from finding the Egg and gaining control of the OASIS, Wade finds the first key almost on accident, Art3mis gets the second key before anyone else, IOI finds the third challenge during Wade's Darkest Hour, Art3mis and Parzival have a falling out at the Distracted Globe nightclub, etc. The only things that really changed are things that wouldn't necessarily translate well to a 140-minute movie, like the FlicSyncs of WarGames and Monty Python and the Holy Grail where Wade has to act out the entire film as one character, or that the producers couldn't get the rights to, i.e. most of the giant mechs mentioned in the final battle.
    • Inverted amongst many of the novel's detractors, who feel that the film vastly improved upon the book and made it into an actually enjoyable story, by streamlining at a times clunky and unfocused narrative, removing most of the more, let's say, "controversial" aspects, and allowed the good ideas the novel had to shine brighter.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Wikia Fandom blogger Ayo Norman criticized the film for a virtual Race Lift of the protagonist's in-game best friend Aech. In the book, the avatar Aech is a white male, but the film makes him an orc-like creature. The book made a significant reveal out of the fact that the person behind the avatar Aech is a black woman, noting that she picked this to avoid sexual and racial harassment on the Internet; Norman also notes the fact that, in-universe, the virtual world of Oasis is an escape from a Crapsack World. This reveal loses quite a bit of power in the adaptation.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • A lot of people view it as a missed opportunity that Wade/Parzival talking to the Curator after watching James Halliday's video about going backwards, or just simply watching said video, didn't act as some sort of Event Flag that would finally allow the player who achieved the flag to open the ramp that leads to the race's backwards track. At least then, it would have provided a much more believable explanation as to why players couldn't figure it out for five years that the key to beating the race was to just go backwards.
    • Given how nearly every player in the OASIS trying to help the heroes is wiped out by the bomb at the end and loses everything, it might have been interesting to see Wade reimbursing them out of gratitude after taking over or the effects of so many people starting over again under the new management.
    • The scene where Wade's neighbors confront Sorrento does show some impressive real-world bravery and righteousness from people who've been living their lives inside of their heads. Then he pulls out a gun and they all just back off.
  • Unexpected Character: The film adds a number of references or characters that were not mentioned in the book:
    • The Iron Giant, which was spoiled in the first trailer. It was mentioned in the book, but only in passing very briefly.
    • Overwatch mascot Tracer has a split-second reaction shot that is featured in a trailer and is a Recurring Extra in the film proper. She even has a few minor lines provided by her regular voice actress Cara Theobold.
    • Child's Play villain Chucky makes an appearance as a weapon.
    • Ruby Rose of RWBY makes an appearance in the final battle. Rooster Teeth co-founder Burnie Burns was actually shocked that he was approached for permission for her to show up.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Aech is actually a girl, but the only indication is a brief mention of her real name, and inattentive viewers might mistake her as a guy in real life.
  • Win the Crowd: After a troubling pre-release cycle as far as social media went, a significant amount of praise to the film at South by Southwest did wonders for the film.
  • The Woobie:
    • James Halliday, who, despite his success, is slowly revealed as having been an extremely lonely man crippled by his social anxiety and died with many regrets. This is one aspect of the story that worked much better in the movie than the book, as in the film we don't see him engaging in stalkerish behavior, and his social anxiety is much more clearly revealed, making him a far more sympathetic character.
    • Ogden Morrow as well. His best friend and wife are both dead, lost control of a large part of the company he tried to make, and as the curator of the Halliday Journals, is essentially reliving his greatest regrets. Thankfully, things do seem to be getting better for him at the end.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: