Ready Player One
Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One is nostalgia-lovers dream, capturing the throwback references of Ernest Cline's pop culture novel through the energetic escapism of a Spielberg lens. The characters and plot may not be as memorable as the source material the film pays homage to, but Ready Player One is still loads of fun and a perfectly good way to kill two hours.
Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg adapts Ernest Cline‘s pop culture novel Ready Player One to the big screen in glamorous Hollywood fashion, full of fast-paced creativity and world-building that is unafraid to reference as much media as humanly possible. Ready Player One is far from Spielberg’s best film, but it’s definitely one of his most entertaining, capturing endless imagination through excited eyes.
In the not so distant future, a virtual reality game called OASIS is created, which slowly starts to consume people entirely. Gone are the days of human in-person social interaction and in are the days of logging in to live, to play and to feel. It might sound like a funny concept, but I doubt that we’re that far away from a world where technology has completely consumed us all.
Ready Player One follows a typical young man (Tye Sheridan) as he describes the world he lives in and explains his love for the OASIS. The film also follows him and his squad of friends as they compete against others to find an easter egg leftover by the game’s founder that has passed away and left the keys to the kingdom up for grabs.
Think of Ready Player One as a futuristic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Ben Mendelsohn‘s character represents the big bad corporate greed, while Tye Sheridan‘s character represents the freedom of the people.
If I’m being entirely honest, Ready Player One‘s characters and general plot are rather weak. I didn’t quite notice this while watching the film, but the more I thought about it the more I found myself picking apart plot holes and shallow moments.
But I also had no problem ignoring all of that while watching the film, because director Steven Spielberg does a splendid job capturing the world-building of the novel and the endless abundance of creativity as we watch so many beloved pop culture moments get smashed together into one big thrill ride.
And Ready Player One is definitely a thrill ride. One sequence follows our main characters as they race through a city, avoiding a T-Rex and King Kong as they attempt to defeat each other in hopes of earning a secret key to unlock the next clue. It’s an adrenaline-fueled action sequence that Spielberg captures with ease.
There’s also a horror scene that is both scary and unique, again capturing a special moment through homage and skill. Only a seasoned pro like Spielberg could have done it to this degree.
Admittedly, most of Ready Player One‘s enjoyment is found through its clever and extensive winks and nods. It manages to become a story within a story. One that’s not quite fleshed out enough to work without the references, yet one that never uses them in poor spirits or with lazy objectives.
Most of Ready Player One can be described as clever and honest fun. It’s escapism cinema at its finest, only with Spielberg giving it some true street credit that works infinitely better because of his involvement.
Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn deliver performances that keep the story moving from point A to point B, while the general plot does play out like a video game; questions only get answered when convenient to the plot and most of the film’s bigger issues are brushed off in exchange for pure joy and entertainment.
Ready Player One plays like an average first-person-shooter, revealing only the necessary moments to get you to the next level. It’s often-times visually stimulating, but there’s not a whole lot of lasting appeal after you’ve played it. I had an absolute blast with it in 3D at the local IMAX, but the more I think about it, the less impressed I feel, which is exactly the opposite of how I want to remember the film, because it really is a great time!