I will start with the disclaimer that I haven’t read the book, so what I write is about the movie itself. Not about how it’s adapted, not about the book, just about the movie.
The movie itself is like a sinusoid ride. There are amazing moments and storylines, but there are also ones which just aren’t that good. The cinematography is alright, as most of the scenes were beautifully crafted, but there are some scenes where it’s difficult to tell what the hell is going on. In this aspect, the movie is quite unique, as most movies have bad parts and good parts split apart by acts, while this one has the good and bad scattered through the movie. The characters are alright but don’t get that much development. The story is fun, but the weave of reality and Oasis doesn’t really work that well. I enjoyed the movie, somewhat, but the best part was the references to other works. Yes, I dropped a tear when the Gundam charged the Mechagodzilla, but that’s only an extra point.
Overall, it’s an okay watch – I give it 5,63 / 10.
— SPOILER ALERT —
Okay, so I am kind of a nerd and play way more video games than I should… so why didn’t this movie work for me? Why didn’t it work for my not-so-nerdy wife either?
After a lot of thought, my problem is the mixture of reality and Oasis and it’s not because the stories would be bad, but because they are so disjointed.
The reality story feels like a survival dystopian story, with appropriate characters and conflicts. The Oasis story, on the other hand, is essentially a high-magic fantasy adventure/investigation, with different characters (yes, they are avatars of the real people, but they act differently in reality and in the game, so they really feel like different characters) and different conflicts. And this was a problem because whenever I got immersed into one story, the switch to the second one threw me out of it. In retrospect, the movie felt as if it was made of two very different movies glued together through an overarching story.
Nevertheless, I am happy that I saw the movie, because it contains one lesson I found extremely valuable – when you mix storylines, make sure they are the same genre because the opposite can really throw the viewer/reader off.
Last thought – I wanted to skip it, but it won’t let me sleep – the fact that their whole group lives in the same city is total horseshit. One of the main draws of online gaming is meeting people you would normally never meet and it’s exactly what happens irl. I dislike it doubly so because of the message the movie is trying to push – that reality isn’t so bad and gamers should spend more time in it. Would that message work if Zet was indeed from Ohio, but Art3mis from France, Aech from Peru, Daimyo from Japan and Sho from Phillipines? No, it wouldn’t, because turning Oasis off would mean that they would get separated, which neither of them would want.