This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Mr. DuLac’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
She wanted to go dancing, so we watched a movie.
A rare occasion where a film that improves upon the book and it's a win for everyone involved. Ernest Cline gets to adapt his own novel with the help of Zak Penn and in doing so fixes some minor and major problems that were in the source material.
The biggest fix is probably the character of Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) and her incredibly creepy relationship with Parzival (Tye Sheridan). In the novel you could argue that she is nothing more than a trophy for the protagonist that he stalks until he "wins her". Here he's just kinda in awe of her because she seems to be quite frankly a better gamer than him and some of the action sequences from the novel are actually taken away from Parzival and given to Art3mis instead. She also has an entire "rebellion" sub-plot that wasn't in the novel either. Her character is still a bit shallow in the movie, but not any more than any other character in the story at least.
The other aspect that Cline fixed is something I think he was trying to get across in the novel, but succeeds much more in the film. I'm sure it being directed by Steven Spielberg helped a great deal as well. I'm talking about the character of Halliday (Mark Rylance) and how the film managed to make him a much more sympathetic character. His story at the end comes off as much more tragic to me. This genius who seemingly had everything in the end died alone with nothing. It shows that at one point in his life he had it all; fame, fortune and fell in love. In the end though he loses his love for no other reason than he was scared to take a chance. His greatest accomplishment? The OASIS? A virtual world he created because he was afraid to live in the real world. Growing up the most important things in his life were video games, movies, tv shows and board games... nothing real. He shut himself off from real human beings because he couldn't fit in and stopped trying because he found friends in pop culture, but they weren't real. His virtual world is just how he grew up but takes it to an extreme level. In the end his invention was turning the people the world over into "shut ins" like himself.
Plus you know there's tons of superficial cool shit like The Shining scene, the Chucky scene... Goro! Ect, ect...
Tell me it's shallow and superficial... I'm not really going to care.