Steven Spielberg presents ‘Nostalgia the movie’. Adapted from Ernest Cline’s 2011 book, Ready Player One is a fanboy or girl’s dream. Ever wanted to see Master Chief from Halo fighting alongside the Iron Giant? Like it or not, that’s what you get.
The film is a two hour wow-fest, as you balance following the plot with all the subtle and not-so-subtle references to pop culture of the last 20 years infused somewhere with a story about inheriting a vast fortune through a VR video game.
Basically, it’s 2045 and unfortunately for us it’s a dystopian-esque time where people live in relative misery, finding comfort only in an immersive game with infinite possibilities that is the first real sign of singularity in society as we shift into a digital existence. Ethical / philosophical questions aside, the ‘Oasis’ is a seriously cool place and it’s escapism for people to be who and what they want, forgetting they may live in a stack of caravans in a slum.
Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is a teenager on an Easter egg hunt. Not like the ones young kids would have done on Sunday, but a series of riddles and clues within the Oasis that has the entire world captivated. James Halliday (Mark Rylance) is the eccentric creator of the game who, after his death, reveals his entire wealth and company is imbedded in the hunt. The first person to acquire all three of his hidden keys gets the literal keys to the kingdom – complete control of the Oasis, oh and about a trillion dollars… really.
So of course the competition is fierce, everyone wants it – but after Wade is the first to solve the initial challenge, he garners the attention of some big wigs who have the money, power and recourses to run a sweatshop of workers who spend 24/7 trying to solve the puzzles. Think Veruca Salt’s dad in Willy Wonka. Ben Mendelsohn plays the corporate head honcho obsessed with winning at all costs.
The race is on. And Wade soon realizes he can’t do it alone.
It’s classic Spielberg; a family friendly adventure with fantastic camaraderie and catharsis in the storytelling, whilst epically slick in production. It is an initial hurdle to get past the strange CGI that is the focal point of the film within the Oasis and it may take you some time to figure out the rules of the world, but once it all clicks there isn’t a better movie of 2018 that is as enjoyable or unique.
After all, how could anyone hate a movie that has its crew referencing themselves? From Alan Silvestri harking back to his old Back to the Future theme to the T-Rex from Jurassic Par, Ready Player One is pure fun.
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