Review: “Ready Player One”
Spielberg strikes again with his most recent box office hit, “Ready Player One.” With a fresh cast, stunning “Avatar”-level visual effects, a steady and enjoyable pace, and complex and for the most part unpredictable writing, this film did not disappoint.
Based on the 2011 Ernest Cline novel by the same name, “Ready Player One” details a futuristic Earth in which the OASIS, described as a Massively Multiplayer Online Simulation Game (MMOSG), has been created to give people an escape from the harsh reality of the world. The game’s creator died many years ago, but only after leaving a major “Easter egg” for players to find, promising extreme riches to the winner. Character Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) dreams of hunting down the egg so he can escape his modest life in Columbus, Ohio.
Part of what made this film unique was the fresh new faces. Many of the actors and actresses who landed lead roles have yet to have their “big break” in mainstream film. The characters seemed more believable because of these casting decisions, and it was nice to see young actors, especially young in the case of 14-year old Philip Zhao, who played Sho.
With a director who has spearheaded revolutionary visual marvels like “Jurassic Park” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” it is not surprising that this film was full of top-notch CGI and special effects. This was especially important to the fact that much of the movie takes place in the OASIS, a virtual reality world. There were so many places to look that even after seeing the film several times, one would probably still miss some of the details.
Coming from someone who has not read the novel “Ready Player One,” it was still easy to follow the world-building and structure of the film, and the many intricacies made it plain that this has come from a novel. However, many sources say that the film differs highly in the plot from the original novel, which may change how readers see it.
Though the film was about 2 hours and 20 minutes long, there was never a dull moment. Whether the plot slowed to give time for viewers to marvel at the special effects or the action thickened to put audiences at the edge of our seats, the consistent pace kept viewers engaged. That pace elevates in the last part of the movie, then leaves with a (mostly) satisfying ending.
As for the heavily advertised 80s nerd culture aspect of the film, I found that even Millenials and Gen-Z viewers could find enjoyment in the nostalgic and iconic pop culture references scattered throughout the movie.
Though the film wrapped up fairly nicely, there is talk of a sequel. Ernest Cline himself is working on a sequel to the novel, as confirmed in late 2017 on a Facebook live stream. There are still mysteries to discover in the OASIS, and maybe even secrets about the late creator of the game, James Halliday, and fans will surely crowd back to the bookshelves and the theaters to discover them.