Ready Player One is a 2018 science fiction adventure motion-picture produced and directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. Based off Ernest Cline’s 2011 book which bears the same name, it follows the exploits of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) and his friends who embark on a mission of uncovering a mystery left behind by a deceased game developer on a virtual gaming platform dubbed the OASIS that promises a lucrative reward upon completion.
More often than not, actors who feature in films dominated by a lot of special effects and animated visuals tend to hide their performances behind the latter in the hope that it will carry the movie all the way till the end which by the way, doesn’t always work out; this film is no exception in that respect. That said, it’s quite evident that the film is being told through the lens of Wade or if you’d rather, Parzival; they are pretty much the same person. Despite the fact that everyone in this 2045 world is going hog wild over this amazing “Oasis” video game and the endless possibilities it presents, Parzival stands out in that he has a deeply rooted connection not only with the virtual platform but also with the genius who invented it. He, alongside his pals in Artemis (Olivia Cooke) and Aech (Lena Waithe) have a better understanding of the game and thus when this challenge is set, you can put your money on at least one of them completing it successfully. With a film that has a plot of this caliber, it’s almost a no-brainer that an antagonist had to be in the fray and Sorrento, played by Ben Mendelsohn, does an exceptional job at it. His performance here is more less a walk in the park considering he somewhat has a fetish for playing villainous characters case in point Rogue One; A Star Wars Story and 2012’s Dark Knight Rises.
It’s safe to say that this film is a dream come true for video game super-fans like me and even though I have not read the book that provides the source material for this screenplay, I’d say Ready Player One is everything I have always wanted in a movie as it incorporates comedy, action, and drama in a way that appeals to anyone who might be genre biased, if you know what I mean. Steven Spielberg is a phenomenal director without question and his movies that include, among others, Indiana Jones, Jaws, E.T and Jurassic Park shaped the latter years of the 20th Century and I loved them all. Nonetheless, in spite of finding awe in his previous works, I had not the slightest clue that he had a film such as Ready Player One, lying around in his locker of greatness; the uniqueness of this project is so mind-boggling that I could definitely spend the whole of this review just talking about it; indeed I would. That said, let’s move along to the the few flaws that I noticed watching this movie.
First off, there are one too many references from other well-known films or just pop culture in the general. Don’t get me wrong, I love a reference or two in my movies which by the way need to be done well to win me over but at the same time, a line has to be drawn. Being the film critic that I am, I’d say it’s an aspect that got progressively worse as the movie went along, but that’s just me; I watch films from a different angle. Howbeit, if you just happen to be a strong fan of King Kong, Star Wars, Batman or even Mortal Kombat, I can tell you’ll be smiling a lot as you watch this photoplay; whether or not you will eventually find bother in it is completely up to you and your judgment.
Lastly, this screenplay is set in a dystopian world where aside from the OASIS hysteria, nothing else seems to be going on especially from an economic standpoint. Having this in mind, I found it so confusing that almost everyone has the ability to afford this expensive machinery needed to take one to this imaginary world even though people are not as proactive as should be the norm in order to earn enough money to invest in the virtual platform.
In conclusion, I can attest to you the reader that Ready Player One, though considerably long with a 2hr runtime, is deserving of your undivided attention; the plot has clarity, the cinematography and production design used to bring the OASIS to the big screen is commendable and I can see that particular person who has read and loved Ernest Cline’s 2011 book leaving the theatre with a “I liked it” look on his or her face.