‘Ready Player One’ Review

FB_IMG_1521155113647Ready Player One is a sci-fi action adventure film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name. The film stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance. The film is set in the year 2045 where much of humanity uses the virtual reality software, OASIS, to work, to play, and as an escape from the desolation of the real-world. Before his death, the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, left an Easter egg hidden in the game that can only be unlocked after a player finds the copper, jade, and crystal keys. The first to find the Easter egg gains half a trillion dollars as well as full ownership of the OASIS. A Gunter (short for Egg Hunter) named Wade Watts becomes the first person to win the copper key putting him at the top of the scoreboard and into the spotlight. He joins several allies to search for the rest of the keys before Nolan Sorrento and his company, IOI, can do so and take control of OASIS for their own nefarious purposes. Steven Spielberg does a great job directing this film. It feels like his classic films (for obvious reasons) and evokes all the feelings of mystery, adventure, and nostalgia viewers are expecting. Every bit of the OASIS feels fun and exciting while the real-world feels boring and dreary. The juxtaposition of reality and fantasy is what this film is all about and makes the viewers understand why the people in this world choose to spend most of their free time inside the game. Zak Penn and Ernest Cline do a decent job at adapting Cline’s novel for the screen. The film is different than the book, but still maintains the same message and heart. The book mainly focuses on ‘80s nostalgia and goes deeper into the many things people use OASIS for. In contrast, the film uses nostalgia from many eras and doesn’t go in depth about the many uses of OASIS. The acting in this film is great, both in the real and virtual worlds. Tye Sheridan gives a fun performance as Wade Watts/Parzival. As the main character, we spend most of the film with him. He doesn’t have the best home life and like many people, Wade uses the OASIS as an escape. It’s the only place he has friends he can talk to and hang out with. He feels freer in the virtual world even though it’s not real. Olivia Cooke is amazing as Samantha/Art3mis. Her character is strong, independent and tough. She is also trying to find the Easter egg, but becomes close with Wade and develops a relationship. Their chemistry is great, and you can understand why these characters would fall for each other. Lena Waithe has some comical moments as Aech, with a hilarious one during the middle of the film. Ben Mendelsohn is fun as the villain, Nolan Sorrento, and T.J. Miller as Sorrento’s hitman i-R0k. The film looks great and the blending of CGI with reality within the OASIS is sometimes hard to separate. The jokes are funny, and all of the nostalgia works. Even though there are a lot of hints and nods, they never feel overused. The only negative is that they could have made a more faithful adaptation of the book. The sense of time in the film feels rushed as events seem to happen over the course of a few days rather than months. We don’t get more time with tertiary characters such as Daito, Sho, and Ogden Morrow, so when they appear viewers don’t quite connect with them. Also, while the film does present Sorrento and IOI as dangerous and the real-world as a bummer, but events never get as dark as they do in the novel. The film keeps most things light-hearted and fun to avoid detracting the younger viewers. I give Ready Player One a Decent 8.7/10. It’s a fantastic adaptation of Cline’s novel but not quite as good as the source material.

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