Ready Player One, the movie based on the novel originally written by the author Ernest Cline, was a movie I personally really was looking forward to, as I quite enjoyed reading the novel. I have a lot to say about this movie, but for the sake of not making this post too long, I'll stick to a few points, mostly looking at the changes that were made.
Firstly, the three missions to get the keys in order to get to Halliday's golden egg. In the book, the first key was hidden on the planet Ludus, which is the planet where our main character, Wade Watts, and his best friend, Aech, go to school. Not only was it hidden on a planet that was only mentioned once by name in the movie, but the challenge itself was completely different. In the book, Wade figures out that the first key is hidden inside of a Dungeons and Dragons map, which is hidden a bit away from his school lot on Ludus. In order to get the copper key, Wade must defeat the Demi-Lich in the 80s game Joust. Wade just so happens to be good at this game as he has played it against Aech many times. But the importance of this first key's hidden place is the fact that Halliday met the love of his life, Kira, playing it, and it's also the game that made him bond with his best friend Og. So obviously, this challenge holds more importance than the epic race we first see in the movie which, in my opinion, was more of a VFX show off than an important plot point. I don't have much of a problem with the change of the remaining two challenges as they don't hold as much importance to Halliday's personal life as this one.
Ludus also holds a bit more importance than just being the location of the copper key. Wade, as mentioned, is a student on Ludus and therefore they have all of his personal information. And in the book, this is the way that IOI first comes by Wade's address, not through him accidentally spilling the beans on who he his to Artemis and Mr. big skull chest overhearing it. The way this is set up in the book portrays IOI's powers much better than how it's shown in the movie. In all honesty, in the movie, IOI was made out to be much of a lesser antagonistic force than it is in the book.
Speaking of IOI and just how evil they are.
In the book, Daito is physically killed by IOI, and not just his in-game character as shown in the movie. The reason why I see his death as a very notable instance in the story is that this further shows just how sinister IOI is and how far they will go in order to gain control of the OASIS.
Going to another character, Og, the best friend of Halliday, I was incredibly disappointed that he was not a bigger part of the movie than he was. In the book, Og helps out the High Five as much as he can without interfering with the hunt as he obviously would hate to see the OASIS fall into the hands of the IOI. But an important thing to note about Og and Halliday's friendship is that it broke partly due to Og marrying Kira. Og and Kira's life together also plays quite an important role in what happens in the book, and in general, he was just way too important a character to not have included him more in the movie.
Lastly, I want to touch on something about the ending of the movie, so SPOILER ALERT, if you haven't watched the movie, stop reading here! At the end of the movie, Wade has already met all of the members of the High Five pretty early on in the movie, and in that exact moment, he decides to share the prize with his friends.
The book does this a lot better. In the book, Wade first meets Aech in her van as Aech is helping him run from the IOI. Wade wants to pick up Artemis as well to save her from an attack from the IOI but ends up actually not meeting her till the very end in a very sweet and awkward, yet lovable moment, that just pulls more on the heartstrings.
So okay, I know that books don't translate well into movies most of the time, and being a film student and aspiring screenwriter myself, I know just how hard it can be to adapt something into a movie or a TV series. However, a lot of the decisions made in the writing of the script seemed to be more focused on the money making shots and not so much on more important character development and backstory moments.
I believe that the way that Wade was portrayed in the movie, he shows little to no important character development, which is the biggest letdown of them all in the entirety of the film. In the book, Wade goes through quite a change of character in the matter that he goes from a nerdy introverted kid from the stacks to a pretty badass guy who sets out to oppose the IOI by taking them on from the inside, and I just wish they would have shown more of this transition and emphasized it more in the movie.
All in all, I didn't love the movie, but I didn't hate it either, it wasn't really the most interesting movie. And especially due to lacking that major character development that the book portrayed so well, the movie just lacks content. They should definitely have focused more on story than on big epic VFX moments.
But that is all just my opinion!