Ready Player One – A note on adaptation

You may or may not remember that I read Ready Player One about 6 months ago, although devoured is probably a better word. And after saying my piece about the book, it seems only right that I should follow up with a few words about the film, seeing as it’s arrived.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

The first thing to be said, especially for those of you who’ve read the book, is that it’s quite different to the original material. (If you need it, my brief-and-spoiler-free synopsis is in the post linked above, for reference.) The challenges that stand between player and key are significantly changed, and much of the real-world action has been doctored too. But stick with me, that’s not to say it’s all bad, far from it! The Gates that a player must pass through to obtain the keys that will eventually lead to finding Halliday’s Easter Egg in this virtual reality multiverse (I most definitely stand by my comments made in the last post – I do NOT envy the writers trying to exposition this bad boy on film) needed to be changed. They were far more complex in the book, with more stages to get through, and they were not always very visual, if at all.

Yeah that’s right, I’m praising changes made to the adaptation.

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Call Me By Your Name – Poetry dressed as a novel

With the release of the film starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet a few months ago, which was met with critical acclaim, it seems everyone has swarmed around this book ever since. And what better way to break my 2 month hiatus than to get myself a piece of this book. (Thanks to MrsNightRead for lending me her much loved, highlighted and labelled copy.)

**SPOILER FREE POST**

A basic synopsis then. Elio is seventeen, and lives on the Italian Riviera with his family, where they host a summer guest for a few weeks every year. This year, it’s twenty-four year old American, Oliver. And in just six weeks, the pair share an all-encompassing summer romance of such intensity and magnitude, that the ripples are felt even two decades later.

So, what did I think of it? That actually isn’t the easiest question to answer. From the positive ravings that seem to be everywhere in its wake, I actually thought I’d love Call Me By Your Name more than I did.

I should explain.

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The Shannara Chronicles – Ultimate guilty pleasure TV

Someone asked me recently about what my favourite films and TV of 2017 have been, and let me tell you, that’s not an easy trophy to give out to just one film and one TV show. I did eventually manage to name a favourite TV show (Legion) in the end, but there was one show that stuck in my brain, crying out to be recognised, that I couldn’t quite bring myself to name as my favourite. And that show is The Shannara Chronicles.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

I have talked a bit about The Shannara Chronicles before, in one spoiler-heavy post from season 1, (where there’s also a brief synopsis of the overall concept if you’re interested) but there’s more to be said now that season 2 is on in the UK. It’s a fantasy series, based on an epic series of books (and epic is the only word for it, when you count up over 20 books set in Shannara!) by Terry Brooks. It’s big and bold, and I am completely hooked by it. It’s not all good though – the show is a bit crap in places, and doesn’t do the best job of hiding that fact. Yet somehow, that’s part of its charm! Hence, it gets the title of ‘guilty pleasure’ TV. I couldn’t name it as my favourite more out of principle than anything else, but it’s definitely up there in my top 5. And I’ve been itching to do a commentary on it. Who knows, maybe it’ll even persuade you to give it a shot?

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Lady Bird – Mothers and daughters, a love story

At the London Film Festival, I had the immense pleasure of attending a screening at Leicester Square, which was hosting a ‘Surprise Film’ screening on Saturday night. And when previous years have shown the likes of Birdman and Silver Linings Playbook as the LFF Surprise Film, well, consider my curiosity well and truly piqued.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

(…I’m not a monster)

The Surprise Film turned out to be Lady Bird, the directorial debut of American actress and filmmaker, Greta Gerwig. Starring Saoirse Ronan in the title role of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, the story follows a year of her life as she prepares to leave high school and go off to college, with all the troubles and turmoil that entails. It’s a character film, centred on the prominent relationships in Lady Bird’s life, and in particular her female relationships; it’s a different kind of love story.

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Ready Player One – Geek-fest thriller and blockbuster in the making

This book has been on my To Be Read list for a good couple of years now, and with Spielberg’s film adaptation just around the corner, it seemed like now was as good a time as any to pick it up. And it barely took me any time at all from opening the first page to logging off at the last.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

30 years in the future, most of humanity spends all the time they can spare logged into the OASIS, a global virtual reality universe, to escape the harsh reality of their slowly dying planet. And when James Halliday, the mastermind behind the OASIS passes away, he leaves his fortune to the person who can solve the hidden riddles and puzzles he left scattered throughout the OASIS.

After years of searching, by millions of people, Halliday’s Easter Egg remains no closer to being found. That is, until Wade Watts discovers the first key in the puzzle, and the contest kicks off in earnest as thousands of players compete to be the first to find Halliday’s Egg, and the stakes are raised to new and dangerous levels.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Sequels maketh Hollywood

After the blinding success of Kingsman: The Secret Service it seemed only natural that there would be a sequel right around the corner. And here we have it: Kingsman: The Golden Circle hit cinemas a few days ago and the box office has been booming.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

The basic plot goes something like this… Kingsman HQ is blown sky high by Julianne Moore’s eccentric villain Poppy Adams, and the surviving agents head to their American counterparts, Statesman, for aid. The two organisations must now cooperate to get back to saving the world from the next evil genius in line to threaten humanity.

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Northern Lights – Not gathering dust on my shelves

With The Book of Dust announced (fairly) recently for release in October, I was reminded of the trilogy I never finished, and was driven back to its pages to rediscover what I missed the last time. Northern Lights was read to me when I was younger – why it was only book one and not the rest of His Dark Materials, I do not know – but I decided it was high time that I revisited the tale, and go the whole hog this time. Now you may have seen the film adaptation The Golden Compass, but whatever your opinions of that, stick with me here, because the book has plenty more to offer.

Before starting Northern Lights, I remembered most of the main beats of the story from being familiar with the film version. As a 10-year-old, I had no quarrel with The Golden Compass. Now though, revisiting Pullman’s world as it was originally intended, it’s much easier to see the glaring holes left by the filmmakers.

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