Ready Player One is now in theaters, and while some aren’t digging Spielberg’s adaptation of the 2011 novel, I for one found it to be extremely satisfying and quite enjoyable. Now I haven’t read the book, which may be why I enjoyed it so much; it was new to me, so I had nothing to compare it to, making my initial viewing an unadulterated experience. I just find it hard to believe that if you are a geek, gamer, or both, and you grew up in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s, that you won’t enjoy this film, because it is packed full of nostalgia from those decades and mediums. Sure the overall plot is easily guessable, and there may be no real twists, turns, or unexpected outcomes, but in the end it’s a damn fun film that looks out of this world, so it still warrants a viewing just to experience the spectacle.
If you want my full review you can watch the embedded video below, or read the script.
Hey now RPO fans, Matt Heywood here to review Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which is based on a book I never read.
That should be kept in mind while watching this review, because it may have affected my overall critique of the movie.
It’s always tough to bring a popular geek book to the big screen, and while I have never read Ready Player One, I can say from a pure entertainment factor, Spielberg and his team of creatives nailed that aspect of this movie. Within the first 10-minutes I caught myself mouthing “Fuck Yeah” out loud as I watched an explosion of pop culture from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s on the screen during a massive VR car race featuring about more popular vehicles from film, TV, and video games than one human can count.
Moments like this take place quite often in Ready Player One, so if you’re a child of the 70’s, 80’s, and even 90’s, and found yourself being called a geek, or you gave yourself that title, I promise you that you will be entertained while watching it.
The movie is set in 2045 in a world where the population spends more time in a VR world than their own, because as most gamers know, sometimes the real world is a place that needs escaping. This VR world is called the Oasis, and it’s literally packed full of awesome, which is especially true depending on your age and knowledge of 20th century geek pop culture. Let’s just say that you will need to watch this movie multiple times and have access to a pause function to go frame by frame to point out every pop culture reference and easter egg contained within.
Speaking of Easter Eggs, the entire plot is dedicated to finding a golden Easter Egg in the Oasis, which was left by its genius creator named Halliday, who is as eccentric as it gets. Upon his death he provided clues for all of humanity to find this egg, which in turn would give them control over the Oasis, which essentially meant they’d become the most powerful person on earth.
Naturally this game entices most of the world to compete for it, as well as a massive tech company called I O I, which is more or less trying to brute force its way to victory by sending endless waves of employees into the Oasis to try and win the 3 keys needed to unlock the master prize.
We follow Wade Watts, who becomes famous in the Oasis after he is the first person to find the first of Hallidays keys. Through Wade we meet his digital Avatar Parzival, as well as friends he’s made in the digital world. They eventually run into another main character in the Oasis called Artemis, and the group becomes known as the High Five and they start to work together to find the rest of Halliday’s keys, while also trying to keep their digital avatars and physical selves from harm at the hands of I O I’s CEO Serrento.
I’ll leave the rest of the plot alone, it’s not like it hasn’t been covered in the book, but for the sake of the film adaptation, I don’t want to reveal much more of the overarching plot.
I can reiterate to you though that I had an absolute blast following both Wade and his alter ego Parzival on his adventure, and as a lifelong gamer I couldn’t help but make connections to my own life and the times I used to spend online playing games with people from around the world I didn’t know and how bonds begin to form through that medium.
Also, the visual experience of this film is intoxicating. It’s easy to understand why the characters you follow want to spend so much time in the Oasis, because every scene that takes place within it is magical looking to say the least. To me the look of the world is exactly what I’d want if our own VR ever reached the levels of the Oasis. I didn’t mind the CGI feel, because after all they’re all in a digital world after all, so I’m fine if they look a bit too computer generated.
The action is also on point, and like I said earlier, within 10 minutes the opening action set pieces was radical enough that I involuntarily spoke, “Fuck Yeah” out loud while watching it play out.
You could make an argument that the plot is easily predictable and there are no real twists and turns, but I still found the adventure to be worthwhile and quite memorable, so even if the plot is standard early adult hero adventure fair, I’m quite alright with that. Besides, the cast is good enough to get you to buy into their characters, the world, and their plight within it, so I didn’t really care that the film spends most of its time in the Oasis versus dealing with Wade and company’s real world issues.
Ready Player One, at least to a non-book reader like me, is a 9 out of 10 type of geeky movie. The visuals are mind blowing and will require multiple screenings to fully realize all of the pop culture awesomeness packed into them, and the plot is very entertaining, especially if you’re a geek, gamer, or both. It’s just one of those extremely rewarding and fun creative films that warrants a viewing on the big screen. While other critics are poo-pooing Spielberg’s take, I found it to be masterful, and a film that I will continue to enjoy for years to come.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood here for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better movie watcher, one movie review at a time.
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