Ready Player One is not a movie you have to worry about. It’s based on a best-selling book, it’s directed by Steven Spielberg, and it has more easter eggs and pop culture references to the 80s in it than Stranger Things (at the moment). There are no billboards, tangerines, or fishmen you feel uncomfortable watching, and there are no pointedly profound statements on life that your parents will feel uncomfortable talking to you about after the movie (except if you’re a hardcore gamer). Based on the premise alone, that Ready Player One is about a poor kid trying to save the world mainly by using a video game might be the only point of concern. Video game movies have not had the best track record in Hollywood so far, the new Tomb Raider is the only standout, probably because it came out recently, so it hasn’t been forgotten yet.
The movie is directed by Spielberg and although it’s doesn’t rival Jurassic Park or Jaws, the fact that it’s a mediocre Spielberg movie makes it the best video game movie ever made by default. Still, it does have its faults. The film is based on Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One, in which a teenager named Wade Watts (in the classic tradition of Peter Parker and Bruce Banner) growing up in the 2040s, to be exact 2045, embarks on a quest inside the OASIS, an extremely freeform online game that has, in a world where reality has been given up on after environmental and political catastrophes become a substitute for the world’s economy.
the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, dies at the beginning of the book and proclaims posthumously that he will give his wealth and control of the OASIS to any player that can find three keys, leading to a final easter egg. Thousands, including Wade, search for these keys while IOI an evil company with an army of hired players called Sixers seeks to win the contest to dominate the OASIS with the most horrible thing imaginable, pop-up ads and microtransactions. Ready player one. Cline doused in the book in 80s pop culture, something the movie has adopted with considerable creativity, while it skips over the particular about the world in the 2040s, briefly mentioning it in the beginning narrposition (narration + exposition). The movie’s story also differs from the book’s, it replaces Dnd’s Tomb of Horrors with an epic race for the first key, changes the other challenges for the final two keys, and focuses more on the value of 80s pop culture, friends, and not playing video games, instead of 80s pop culture and maybe not playing video games.
To render the OASIS and transfer Cline’s story to the screen, Spielberg is helped by cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (who also did the cinematography for Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln, Minority Report, basically any Spielberg movie released after the 80s) and writers Zak Penn and Ernest Cline (author of the book). The movie looks beautiful, using extensive CGI but managing to keep the movie in the realm of Guardians of the Galaxy and not Jaws 3 or any of the video games in the movie, and the script is standard Spielberg fare, uplifting and entertaining while also dramatic and slightly predictable.
The actor’s people who will probably see will seem vaguely familiar, Tye Sheridan, Cyclops from X-Men: Apocalypse is Wade Watts, Olvia Cooke is Art3mis, the flirting partner, most recognizable in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl before this movie. Ben Mendolsohn, the bad guy from Rogue One is bad guy Nolan Sorrento, Mark Rylance, the bad guy from the 2016 Oscars who won Best Supporting Actor instead of Sylvester Stallone is James Halliday, doing a hilarious job being a nerd with more money than he knows what to do with. All of these characters also have slightly more CGI-looking avatars in the OASIS as well.
What to take away from this review is as follows, Ready Player One is a great movie to see expecting to miss quite a few of 80s pop culture references, awesome battles you probably made up with actions figures as a kid and having a great time. It’s a mediocre Spielberg movie, which means it had moments of ingenious creativity with the camera, passion pouring out of the picture, and lessons to think about for a few moments after it. Ready Player One is like one of those hollow chocolate Easter bunnies, it tastes amazing, but it doesn’t have as much chocolate in it as you think. Still, it is chocolate, and this movie is the same, entertaining, funny, and filled with easter eggs for you to find.