Ready Player One
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cook, Lena Waithe
“Ready Player One” is a futuristic adventure film that comes across as a video game version of “Willy Wonka”. A technological genius named James Halliday created a virtual reality system called the “Oasis” that users can wear goggles and be virtually transported to a place where they can have any type of adventure they want.
Tye Sheridan portrays Wade aka “Parzival.” He doesn’t really have a lot going for him and isn’t going anywhere, but he enjoys hanging out with his virtual friends in the “Oasis”.
Halliday mananged to leave clues about his life scattered all throughout the Oasis, so that after his death someone would be able to follow those clues and unlock a hidden easter egg. Whoever does this will gain full control of the Oasis and become a trillionaire. Parzival, along with his friends “Aech”, “Sho”, and “Daito”, along with video game superstar “Art3mis”, are trying to solve the mystery of the game before it falls into the hands of an evil corporate enterprise being led by “Sorrento”, played with slimy glee by Ben Mendelsohn from Rogue One.
THE GOOD: Even though the storyline itself is pretty simple, it works when you consider the skeleton of the plot is a video game. Heroes much face challenges and try to succeed in their plans as the villain tries to stop them. It’s the amount of Pop Culture references in this movie that is beyond staggering! Characters, vehicles and props from some of our most popular movies and TV shows make an appearance, and even though 75% doesn’t really contribute the plot, it’s so much fun to see these characters and items involved in this story on the big screen.
THE BAD: I’m no prude, but with all the pop culture reference and Spielberg at the helm, I figured this would be much more of a family type movie. I’d say based on the multiple swears, an F – Bomb, and a sequence containing a ridiculous amount of blood, this is not for the younger kids. Kudos to the man who created “PG13” to make a movie pushing the rating right up to the limit. Even though some of the third act felt a tad bit cheesy, it’s so much fun, you just have to bask in the pure Spielberg of it all!
OVERALL: With the film being 50% live action and 50% CGI, this looks like some of the most ambitious digital character storytelling since James Cameron’s 2009 Avatar. The performances are good all across the board, even the smaller characters get a brief moment to shine. I think with ALL the pop culture visuals scattered throughout the frame, people will forgive any weaknesses in the storytelling, of which there are very few. Truth be told, any film that’s even marginally entertaining, but can incorporate scenes of Speed Racer, Firefly, and Cowboy Bebop all up on the big screen, is probably going to get a big thumbs up from me regardless.
I had ALOT of fun on this journey. Looking forward to revisiting the Oasis.
Grade: 4 out of 5