Blu-ray review: Ready Player One
Edgy, exciting, and enlivened with exceptional eighties Easter eggs, Ready Player One is as much a feast for the eyes as it is a Pop-Culture commentary. And while, yes, those seeking the trappings of a more refined, less “fan-boy” film may be sorely disappointed; those of us who leveled up on 8-bit games and witnessed films like The Goonies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Bueller… Bueller… – and Ghostbusters on the big screen will relish in Player’s thrust and throwbacks. The film defines early on the term “gunter” as a player who loves hunting for Easter eggs or hidden deposits of extra game content, be it a cache of rare weapons, an enhanced ability or – in the case of the film – a hidden level of a game. And while it won’t take an expert gunter to spy some of the more blatant eggs the film offers, true completists will likely need a second or even third viewing to appreciate the full scale of Spielberg and Cline’s offerings.
More than half of the film resides in the VR world of “The Oasis,” so many of the actors were tasked with the double duty of real-world and voice-acted performances, an aspect that should not be overlooked. And while, on occasion, this back and forth has the unfortunate effect of making the film feel somewhat disjointed, the visual appeal of the film coupled with brilliant performances and underdog nostalgic storyline are enough to pull it from the indignity of the bargain bin.
The extras menu mimics the 80’s love letter with a solid offering of behind-the-scenes fare. Special attention must be paid upfront for the wise decision made to make the Game Changer featurette almost an hour long, rather than unnecessarily splitting it into three or even four smaller sections in a transparent attempt to give audiences more “bang for its buck.” My hope for the future is that more studios adopt this practice, rather than rehashing the same clips and moments over and over in what would be identical features save for a few stray strands of information. We get it already, everyone was amazing to work with and the whole cast had a great time making the film… now let’s move on.
The extras menu is all highlights, from Spielberg’s humble stance on cutting more than half of the references to his films in The ’80’s: You’re The Inspiration to the aforementioned Game Changer feature which touches on all things film and function. Brave New World explores the visual effects of the film; Level Up and High Score probe the inner workings of the film’s sound design and score, respectively, and Ernie and Tye’s Excellent Adventure collects thoughts from author and action-hero preceding Player’s premiere in Austin, Texas.
So with high scores, high stakes and hijinks in spades, combined with a boundless array of delightful eggs, Ready Player One is a righteous romp to those of us who would love nothing more than to, “pop open a can of Tab, put on some Duran Duran and play Robotron.”
Studio Synopsis: In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spend their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—known as the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.
Studio: Warner Bros. Studios
Running Time: 140 minutes
Number of Disks: 2
- Game Changer: Cracking the Code
- Effects for a Brave New World
- Level Up: Sound for the Future
- High Score: Endgame
- Ernie & Tye’s Excellent Adventure
- The ’80’s: You’re The Inspiration
Cast: Tye Sheridan | Olivia Cooke | Ben Mendelsohn | Lena Waithe | T.J. Miller | Simon Pegg | Mark Rylance | Philip Zhao | Win Morisaki
Directors: Steven Spielberg
Central Writers: Ernest Cline | Zak Penn
Box Office Release: March 29, 2018 (USA)
DVD/Blu-ray Release: July 24, 2018
Genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy
Supporting Cast and more Writers found HERE
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