Ready Player One Movie Review: If you haven’t read Ernest Cline’s 2011 immersive novel Ready Player One, you may not understand why it’s so gratifying as a fan that its adaptation fell into the hands of Stephen Spielberg. The entire time I read the book I considered how immense and complicated of a process it would be to bring these scenes to the big screen, how it would be unlikely to pull off well. Lucky for audiences it’s all good thanks to the most seasoned director of all time, especially in the action-adventure and sci-fi genres. Cline, along with screenwriter with a coincidentally awesome name Zak Penn (The Avengers, X-Men Last Stand) collaborated to work out the kinks needed to ensure a smooth transition from page to screen. Elements from the book that were much too elaborate for the film, like challenges taking place in the classic film War Games or a giant D&D game, weren’t missed. In order to appeal to the masses and not run 3 hours, cuts had to be made to the immense universe created by Cline.
In a couple of decades from now as economies and the environment deteriorate, society has but one safe haven left, the OASIS, a virtual world accessible to everyone, created by offbeat genius James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Upon his death, it is revealed by Halliday that he has embedded three challenges culminating in the possession of a golden egg into the OASIS which grant the winner control of the OASIS and Halliday’s trillions in wealth. Having been a child of the 80’s Halliday embeds his fascination with the era into the every corner of the virtual challenges, and only those versed in Halliday and his revered pop-culture have a shot at the egg.
In the five years since the challenges went live, no one has beat a single challenge, or found a key or clue. Until we meet Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenage boy living in dystopian Columbus, Ohio among “the stacks” aka future tall trailer park. With his avatar Parzival, Watts and a few other Halliday egg hunters, or “gunters,” seek to ensure control of the OASIS and protect it from the greedy grasp of IOI, a typical villainous corporation led by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) out to ruin the virtual world by exploiting it for all its worth. The cast chosen by Spielberg fits what I imagined as a reader, and the new characters or changes didn’t disappoint. The only critique I have was that I wish there had been more involvement from Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg), Halliday’s business partner, and more exposition regarding fellow gunters Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki).
I believe the majority of audiences will leave the theater feeling immensely entertained by the action, and in awe of the visuals and effects of Ready Player One. Even if they’re not aware of every single nostalgic reference. At times, in both the book and film I felt I didn’t know enough of the characters, games, and films that inspired Cline but I’m sure someone a few years older than me would know and appreciate just about all of them. I think Ready Player One is a great film that pays tribute to past classic movies and video games and the era that birthed them. Now that the people that lived through that as children and gobbled up all that culture are the ones in charge of creating the next generation of films and shows, like Stranger Things, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of what they grew up on permeating their work and resurrecting those influences. Cline and Penn mentioned during their SXSW panel that they hope every viewer leaves having at least had a good time, but also that some see the message that kids are capable of saving the world against the misled adults (shout-out to all the kids that marched this past weekend hoping to do the same). I do think they delivered on both fronts. And as usual, Spielberg delivers at making a movie that is touching, comedic, suspenseful and visually stellar.
Ready Player One
|Ready Player One|
|RELEASE DATE:||March 29 2018|
|AUTHOR:||Roxy De La Rosa|