Maestro Steven Spielberg brings to life the nerdgasm book written by Ernest Cline.
In the future, real life has gotten so depressing that most people have just stopped caring about it anymore – instead, they escape into a seemingly limitless virtual reality world called the OASIS. The creator of the game has since passed away, but his life is worshiped as if he were a god. He left behind a legacy that connects all humans on Earth – and a challenge. Whoever can solve a series of puzzles and challenges within the OASIS, and find the final Easter Egg, will inherit control over the game and company he founded – essentially becoming the riches and most powerful person on the planet in the process. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is just an orphaned nobody living in the squalor of Columbus, Ohio, but something tells me that he’s about to become part of something huge.
Not a simple homage to nostalgic properties, Ready Player One is a world that relies on nostalgia of nerdy things like most stories rely on things like plot and characters. That’s still over simplifying things since it’s not just the story that relies on nostalgia, it’s the actual world and events in which the story takes place. It’s like those educational shows where math or history is way more important than it almost ever is in real life – knowing obscure trivia about the library of Atari 2600 games may actually be crucial to saving the world in a life or death situation. It’s an 80’s and 90’s fanboy tumblr page come to life. Properties like Batman and The Iron Giant coexist side by side with Monty Python’s holy hand grenade. If you count yourself a fan of nostalgic things from those eras then this will likely be one the most grin-inducing rides you’ll take this year. If not, it’s still a pretty wild sci-fi dystopian Speilbergian adventure but you might feel a little left out. It showcases a gamer’s mouth-watering dream of a futuristic something like an MMORPG, The Sims, the Holodeck from Star Trek, Occulus Rift, and Dragon Ball Z, all rolled up into one.
Ready Player One is so good just because of how much fun it is. It gets exactly what gamers might see as a utopian pinnacle of gaming. As Wade’s Delorean tries to outrace King Kong while making references to Mario Kart, it’s a barrage of easter eggs and references so intense it’s almost depressing – I know most of them whizzed by me without being caught. It’s going to take all of Reddit the rest of 2018 to catalog all the references, hidden and obvious.
With a mixture of live action, CG, and slightly uncanny motion capture, the film creates a unique and blended look that works pretty seamlessly. Despite being somewhat vague about the rules of the universe and how immersing yourself in the OASIS actually works, if you just go with it, it works. With an optimistic attitude and outlook in a somewhat depressing scenario, it plays like delightful popcorn fodder that has a tinge of intelligence to it, but not so much that it makes you think too hard or oversells anything. Quite a bit of fun, and with enjoyable characters well done action, and plenty of moments you’ll try not to blink at the next time around it is immensely re-watchable.
A quick note on the book – I never read it, but the general consensus of the crowd I was with seemed to be that the movie was much better and fixed the shortcomings of the novel.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film
Brother Hamster did not screen this film
My rating: Five out of five hats
Ready Player One hits start in 4,234 theaters, including IMAX 3D, March 29