With the film version of Ready Player One due out this weekend from Steven Spielberg, it’s past time that I take a look back at Ready Player One, the book by Ernest Cline. I really wanted to love Ready Player One, and it seemed right up my alley, despite some reservations from certain reviews and excerpts I’d seen online. I wanted to read the book before the film came out, even if I was years late to the party. But I came away not only disappointed but also extremely frustrated. I understand its appeal, and I don’t begrudge anyone for liking it, but I found reading it to be an unpleasant experience, in spite of its creative setting and generally entertaining story. Overall I’d give the book a C-, but read on for 5 Things about Ready Player One, 3 that I hated and 2 that I liked.
When I tell people that my favorite director is Steven Spielberg, I tend to get a lot of eye rolls from fellow movie buffs. He’s considered too popular or mainstream, he plays it too safe and isn’t edgy or artistic enough, he’s too sentimental and melodramatic, his only interest is in spectacle, etc. Cinephiles love to hate on the man who is probably the most successful (critically and commercially) filmmaker of the last fifty years, and are often quick to point out alternative artists who they feel has a similar career but does everything better (Christopher Nolan frequently pops up in these discussions). But from now on when anyone brings up these hackneyed Spielberg criticisms I will simply point them to one scene from The Post and ask them to show me another filmmaker who could make that scene any better.