Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance
I’d been hearing about the novel Ready Player One online for a while now. Consensus was it was true homage to geeks, just stuffed to the brim with references to beloved bits of pop culture…specifically, the pop culture of the 1980s. Excitement grew when it was announced that Steven Spielberg would be directing the movie adaptation. Spielberg announced that, to not seem too self-congratulatory, he’d be omitting all references to his own movies. I shared with a co-worker who was a big fan of the book, and he said, “But…that’s like half the book!” Needless to say, what glimpses we got in the trailer of the Iron Giant and the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future had me hooked.
In the not-too-distant future, the world has become quite dystopian. As such, the most popular past time in the world is OASIS, a massive online virtual reality video game. When the game’s creator, James Halliday, passes away, he announces that he hid an Easter egg in the game. The first to find the three keys to unlock the Easter egg will be granted Halliday’s personal fortune and complete control of OASIS. Enter our hero, Wade Watts. In OASIS, he goes by Parzival. He, like many others, has dedicated his online life to finding the Easter egg. He’s soon joined by his best friend Aech and rebellious spirit Art3mis. When they find the first key, they quickly become the targets of the IOI corporation, who seek to find the Easter egg and monetize OASIS to death. Soon evading IOI in both OASIS and the real world, it’s up to our heroes to find the Easter egg and save OASIS. Can they do it?
What I Liked
Much like Wreck-It Ralph, I’m pleased to report that the multitude of pop culture references are more sprinkles on the cupcake and not a prerequisite to understanding the universe. That being said, the make the action sequences such a delight as they are stuffed to the brim with Easter eggs. This is one you’ll have to watch frame-by-frame on Blu-Ray to catch them all. There’s a great soundtrack of 1980s hits, our heroes are likable and ones we like to root for, and the bad guys are slimy that we love to hate. Also, the Iron Giant fights Mechagodzilla.
What I Didn’t Like
As much fun as it was, couldn’t shake the fact that it was still a rather routine “hero’s journey” kinda plot.
Ready Player One is very enjoyable, very fun, and shows that Spielberg still has what it takes to do big, fun blockbusters.