Believe it or not, there were actually naysayers for the newest Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One, which is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by author Ernest Cline, who also helped write the film’s script alongside Zak Penn. Spielberg has proved the naysayers wrong yet again with this vibrant, emotional, and most of all, fun adventurous feature.
A teenage boy named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) does not feel like he has a place in the real world whatsoever. The only place he ever feels like he belongs is in a massive virtual reality game created by James Halliday and his friend Ogden Morrow called the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation).
When a person is logged into the OASIS, they can be whoever they want to be, and they do not even have to reveal their real name – players can mess around in the game anonymously. OASIS users can control characters such as Batman, Harley Quinn, Iron Giant, Jason Voorhees, etc.
Before his death, Halliday hid three keys – a copper key, a jade key, and a crystal key. To find the keys, OASIS users must look everywhere they possibly can to find the keys in order to obtain the big prize. What exactly is the big prize? The first individual who finds all three keys will inherit all of Halliday’s money (he was a billionaire), as well as having complete control of the entire OASIS.
Now it is up to Watts’ avatar Parzival with the help of his two friends Aech (Lena Waithe) and Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) to find all three keys. However, at the exact same time, a corrupt corporation known as IOI (Innovative Online Industries) has nearly every employee searching desperately for the keys. So, who will get there first?
Ready Player One was a film that I was extremely excited for. I found the novel to be an absolute blast, and luckily, the film does not disappoint.
There is a plethora of pop culture references and secrets to be found in this blockbuster extravaganza, and will have online film websites scrounging the film for weeks trying to find every reference and hidden pop culture secret. But fortunately, it never feels like just a pop culture reference fest and that’s it. It’s a film that has heart, and has fun doing so.
One sequence in the film’s second act had me grinning from ear to ear, and I just could not stop smiling at how well done this certain scene was. It is a sort of parody of an extremely classic horror film and it was one of my favorite film scenes in at least a year. If you have already seen the film, you probably already know what scene I am referring to.
Our main protagonist Wade Watts, or Parzival, is a remarkably likeable character. His home life is absolutely terrible, as he gets abused by his caretakers, and the only time he feels like he can be free is when logged into the OASIS. Right from the beginning, you want him to win, and you are always with him the entire journey. Sheridan brings a lot to the character, and it is great to see that he so effortlessly portrayed the character just as he was in the book – a nerdy kid with a big dream.
Also exceptionally great in Ready Player One is Cooke as Art3mis. Just like in the novel, she is a witty and adventurous character that has fun while in the contest. Exactly like Sheridan, it feels like Cooke was meant to play this role.
That being said however, there are quite a bit of differences from the novel and this new film adaptation. There are a lot of things that are completely different from Cline’s novel, but there are also elements in the film that are the same. Either way, I actually loved the changes that were made for the motion picture, and they did not bother me.
It also brilliantly makes you think about the dangers of using too much technology and being too immersed. What happens when you do not venture out into the real world? What if you spent all your time playing a video game? All those questions are more are set up and answered in an excellent way in Ready Player One.
Unfortunately, there can be a bit of exposition a tad bit, but it is most evident in the film’s opening as Watts explains how the OASIS works and why exactly these people are searching for an easter egg. Also, the film can feel at times a bit long, and in the film’s opening fifteen minutes, it was hard to understand what the character of Aech was saying.
Besides all that however, this is a blockbuster film that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible and with the loudest sound. Even if you are not a gamer, you should still seek this one out, because there are plenty of elements in Ready Player One that are for everybody. Sure, if you are a gamer, certain scenes may entertain you more than non-gamers, but, nevertheless, if you want an extremely fun film that has a great sense of heart, exceptional character development, and a fairly gripping story, this is a film that you should go see. Spielberg has yet again pulled off another great film.
Ready Player One is big, bold, and has an extremely fun adventure at its core which is in part thanks to director Steven Spielberg, and the great acting coming from Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke. It suffers at times from exposition and its over two hour running time, but in the end, it is truly a film that will leave you happily exhilarated.
To watch my video review of Ready Player One, please click this link: https://youtu.be/WrSKcapMnLU
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudity and language
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 140 minutes