Ready Player One can be considered one of Steven Spielberg’s most ambitious projects, yet I feel this has been said a tremendous amount of times in regards to the legendary filmmaker. I went in certainly excited for it for numerous reasons: it’s a Spielberg film, it features a great cast, it looks tremendously fun, it seems as if it features a lot of pop culture references, and has gotten some great “buzz” since it debuted at SXSW. My levels of anticipation for the film were through the roof, but I calmed them down to not live in a realm of disappointment if anything happened and also in order to deliver an objective point of view. Does the film live up to the hype or does it get lost in an oasis of bad films? Let’s find out…
Ready Player One is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel of the same name. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse, but the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery, and danger.
All I can say that sums up my thoughts on Ready Player One perfectly is that it’s the film of the year so far. The spirit of adventure that many Spielberg films embody is captured perfectly in the Oasis with a great story that features a lot of heart and a truly important message (even some pay-to-win criticism, finally!). I was thoroughly surprised by how much the message hit home and how much I truly enjoyed the film overall. I haven’t read the book yet, but inaccuracies are present in the film, but we’ll get into that a little later. Heading into the film, I went in with a tremendous amount of worry for the CGI and nostalgia factor the film showcased in its trailers. Thankfully, this was executed tremendously and I actually came out surprised and blown away by the finished product.
The CGI in the film was one of the best I’ve seen in my young life so far. From the avatars to Kong smashing a city with no regard at all, everything looked astonishing. You would think that in the final battle with every character you can imagine the CGI would falter or look dodgy but it doesn’t, it’s consistent throughout the whole film. A very impressive moment in the CGI department was that of when our group of heroes is on the hunt for the second key, and all I’ll say regarding this is that this sequence alone is worth the price of admission. If you’re a fan of The Shining, definitely watch this movie and thank me later for that. In terms of nostalgia itself, there are small moments that are just there for the sake of it, but for the most part, it’s in the film to serve the story and does so extremely well. It leaves you more than satisfied if you’re a fan of the franchises presented on-screen like I am, then you’ll find yourself smiling more than once in uncontrollable happiness. Another thing that makes these moments effective is that of the great performances by the cast itself.
Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, and Mark Rylance were the standouts for me in a film filled with some great performances. The chemistry between Sheridan and Cooke is really felt throughout the film in a romance element that was executed in a non-suffocating and heartfelt way. Ben Mendelsohn can do no wrong as a villain and Mark Rylance was a huge surprise for me. It wasn’t as much that he gave a great performance that surprised me, it was more of how well his character was presented and what he did with the material given. I really can’t stress enough how good the rest of the cast was and I also have to give credit to the screenwriters for how these were written. The only problem that one can/may have with the characters or the film itself is that of book accuracy.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I haven’t read the book in which the film was adapted from, but some friends that have read it told me there are some pretty big differences. Seeing as how I didn’t read it beforehand, I had no problems at all with the film, but those of you who have should take this as a warning of sorts. It shouldn’t be surprising, as almost all films adapted from books differ from the source material, some being minor to others featuring big differences. Another thing that the film doesn’t explore as much are the secondary characters and the real world, and yes before you get to say that I said the characters were great–hear me out. The secondary characters are really good, but in terms of overall development, we really don’t get to know much about them. The real world also suffers from this as we spend a lot of time either in the Oasis or in the IOI offices, but we get enough from it to understand how the world is. This is just nitpicking at this point because the film really doesn’t have any major flaws that would just ruin it.
Ready Player One is a cinematic joyride that gives a sense of adventure that not many films can provide. You can’t help but smile when you see a character or a film relic you adore or remember, yet it isn’t there just to do that. Everything serves the story and message of the film really well, and the phenomenal cast makes it hit home even harder. The CGI is truly astonishing and could’ve ruined the film but didn’t (Bless you ILM). Other than some REALLY minor flaws and possible disappointment if you read the book due to inaccuracies, you should definitely see the film for yourself (Again, especially if you’re a fan of The Shining). The film encourages you to “take the leap,” so do yourself a favor and take that leap to the theaters and see this film in the biggest and best theater you have near you! –Kenneth Colon
Rating: 9 Pop Culture References out of 10
Ready Player One is in theaters on March 29, 2018.
Ready Player One- Ready Player One is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel of the same name. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse, but the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery, and danger.