Ready Player One
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Hannah John-Kamen, Phillip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch, et.al.
In 2045, after much of the economy has collapsed and overpopulation threatens to choke the planet, the one place people can find refuge is a massive, interactive on-line community called OASIS, where people can be or do anything they want. For Wade Watts, spending time in the OASIS is the only thing that gives his life meaning. It’s where his friends are, and it’s where he can escape his decidedly ordinary existence. Upon the death of the OASIS’ creator years earlier, a series of puzzles were activated that, upon completion and collection of three keys, would grant the winner total control over the game. After Wade figures out the first clue to the puzzle, he and his friends race against the players from a rival gaming company, IOI, to finish the game and take control of the OASIS, all while avoiding danger in both the real and virtual worlds.
I haven’t read the book that Ready Player One is based on, so I have no idea how many of the massive number of music, movie, television, and gaming references were or weren’t carried over into the film, and which ones are exclusive to the film itself. I can say that, as someone unfamiliar with the material, I enjoyed the movie. Tye Sheridan works well as an everyman, as he isn’t too fit or ridiculously attractive, and he has good chemistry with his fellow castmates. Getting Steven Spielberg as a director undoubtedly made it easier to obtain the rights to all of the materials, especially since many of references were of movies he either directed or produced.
The special effects are amazing. While the real world scenes mostly just have background filler and a few instances of slightly futuristic technology, the scenes inside the OASIS are fantastic. None of the characters, items, or locations in the game look real-world, with all of it being animated, aside from old video files in the game’s library, which is used to research the creator and find information about the contest. Even when something does have a real world counterpart, the colors are slightly over saturated, giving it a surreal look.
This is a very entertaining movie. As stated before, I haven’t read the book, but that seems like a plus in this case, because I wasn’t worried about all the differences between the two. The sci-fi elements aren’t too overwhelming, so people who don’t usually like sci-fi should find it interesting. The action sequences look great, especially in high definition. As for the story itself, it’s basically Charlie and the Chocolate Factory set in the future, with an eccentric old man leaving his vast empire to a random stranger who has managed to prove themself worthy, but that’s not to say that it isn’t entertaining.
Ready Player One is not available free to stream anywhere at the moment, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.
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