So. Ready Player One is a book by Ernest Cline about a kid named Wade who lives primarily in a virtual world – OASIS. He is caught up in a world-wide hunt for the ultimate video game Easter egg, left there by OASIS’s creator, which will grant the winner control of OASIS (and the company that owns it) when found. To find the Easter egg, you must solve riddles and master video games that require knowledge of basically every piece of 1980’s pop culture out there. Movies, music, video games, live-action TV, Saturday-morning cartoons, anime, cereal commercials.
Wade knows it all. An avowed solo, smart, driven. Wade is poor as all hell – like most of the rest of the starving world – and determined to win. Of course, so are thousands and thousands of other gunters (short slang for “egg hunters”) on OASIS as well as the evil drones from IOI, the corporation who wants to get their hands on the OASIS company and monetize the OASIS utopia into a modern nightmare.
Ready Player One is a fun book. Ready Player One is set to be turned into a movie. Cue casting news.
Comicbookmovie.com posted an article listing several young actors and actresses slated to play Art3mis, the primary female protag. They are all very lovely. Problem is, Art3mis is not meant to be some beautiful Hollywood starlet. The book, and Wade, directly states that even her avatar does not take the usual route to be beautiful. Her figure is described several times as being shorter and rubenesque. Not only that, Art3mis constantly talks against beauty IRL. She has her reasons (I believe they are WRONG, but she has them), and casting some gorgeous teen/twentysomething would be disingenuous to the character.
As far as Wade/Parzival’s character, he too decided to go the not quite so dashingly handsome when making his avatar. Thinner, smaller nose, little taller, but still basically the same. That again means casting too good looking when Wade is just supposed to be this poor over-weight kid with acne, who has lived all his life in a closet, is bullshit. And Wade, unlike Art3mis, does spend a good time out of OASIS (not sure how much they’ll do for the movie). For at least the first half, he’s also FAT outside of OASIS. And he doesn’t make some sort of Chris Pratt change, either. He’s fat, then he’s not fat. He’s not fat then ripped.
Also, please don’t cast the kid from Jurassic World. I loved Jurassic World, but that guy could not carry a movie. And Wade HAS to carry a movie. He also has to carry like three or four OTHER movies. He has to act through Wargames, Monte Python and the Holy Grail, and possibly the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Also, it is vitally important that you cast Aech well! The Daisho brothers are great, but they spend almost no non-OASIS time, and very little time alone with Wade.
JUST MY OPINION – JUST THE STORY
Interestingly, I read this book again (for like the 10th time) last night, before I saw this article.
Some thoughts I had, and generally have: I do feel very sorry for these kids, and it comes to a head with pretty much all the primary characters EXCEPT Wade. In the Hunt, all of these people get stuck in the 80s. Nostalgia is a big deal now, and I love it, don’t get me wrong. I love looking back and appreciating the greatness of what has come before, but we are able to take what has come before and still create new things. Comics, for example, take from continuity and build on it. (Or at least, some of them do… I’m looking at you DC.) These kids, however, don’t have that. They live in the 1980s with only brief dips into the 70s.
On top of it, characters like Art3mis and another (this is kind of hard without spoiling things, interestingly enough) character mention, white males, even far in the future, still hold the controls. Even with anime being a strong pop culture driver, the Daisho brothers take a back seat in that in a lot of places to Wade.
I enjoy the hell out of this book. It’s fun as shit. But you still have people hiding who they are because they won’t be accepted, or haven’t been accepted. All looking to a young white man to save them. And to give them validation.
I love this book, it’s a happy re-read when I want something light and amusing, but it’s also weird to me in that way that all future-set distopias are. That fear that it is impossible to progress to a better place.
Not that Wade’s overly privileged or unlikable or anything, I’m not saying that, but the culture of that world, and the strong focus that the Hunt forces on a strongly masculine, strongly white 80s culture… I wonder how much of that has gone into the OASIS as a whole. We know there are international gunters, of course. But they – by necessity, must buy into that culture. It becomes homogeneous, and not even just within the gunter community, but – to some extent – outside of it as well, as we know from learning about Aech’s background.
Acceptance doesn’t become the norm, the norm becomes the only form of acceptance. Which – in a depressing way – makes sense, I guess, when you can be WHATEVER you choose to be. Unlike other, more depressing books however, Ready Player One doesn’t focus on this at all, and rather focuses on video games and movies, because that’s the point of the plot. So you won’t really get wrapped up in all that subtext unless you’re the kind of person who gets wrapped up in subtext.
Since this IS a review, I suppose I should review! As far as the news goes? I’m not happy with the casting. Obviously. As far as the book goes, I think it is an interesting book to read for people of a certain age who appreciate video games and movies and the possibility of zero-g dancing – even if only in virtual reality.