Cert: 12A Runtime: 140 mins Director: Steven Spielberg Cast: Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg and T.J. Miller
Going outside is highly overrated
Steven Spielberg seems to grabbing the world by the nostalgic horns right now. Ready Player One is his latest film, that’s based on Ernest Cline’s novel. It has been in development by Spielberg for some time, generally these movies get shelved by him. But Ready Player One has seen the light of day, the trailer makes it look interesting but I wasn’t overly amazed by it. Since SXSW it has recived great acclaim and audiences are responding to it. With an Easter holiday release date surely this is going to be magical? What is Read Player One about you ask? 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 spends 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-aka the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.
Steven Spielberg delivers a wonderfully thrilling first third, but soon afterwards fails to keep the pace. Saying this Ready Player One is still a lot of fun, you are transported into a future that we are living today. We have are head in a phone or tablet rather than spending time with the people that we love or checking out the world. This is probably Spielberg’s biggest message from the film, it’s rather preachy but a necessary one. The wave of nostalgia is colossal through out from The Iron Giant to Freddy Kruger to Akira and even King Kong. This is what makes the film for me along with Mark Rylance playing a Jesus like Steve Jobs (TOP JOB). The visuals are something to be held also, you feel like you are following two different stories because of The OASIS. I wouldn’t recommend 3D as it really can be too much and you feel disorientated during some sequences. The scene to be held in the highest esteem is The Shining sequence, as a long time Stanley Kubrick fan I was transported back to one of my top films of all time.The real issue with Ready Player One are the character arcs and hollow plot line. It starts off strong, and ended the exact same way. The heart of the book (from what I have researched) was how this normal person rose from being one of us, to the savior of the universe.The film is missing that.
There is no real world connections and he just seems like a spoilt kid from the start. IOI are also made out to be idiots. They don’t solve any puzzles or collect any of the keys. Then there is the whole rebellion aspect of the story, hardly touched upon, was not explained, had unexplained henchmen, and ended abruptly. But the sheer fact that they had an army to fall back on in the real world weakened our connection to them for us as an audience. They were no longer the small guy going after the big corporation, now they were a small army going after what seemed to be just one man who was afraid of guns, and a mercenary woman who was beaten up by an eleven year old kid. The bad guys became a joke. Not to mention so stupid in that they keep there passwords written down for the world to see. The cast of the VR players including Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke were rather disposable and had very little to do in the real world, once they are in OASIS they are more alive (that’s the point of the game I get it, but you wish the real them would have more pop). Ready Player One does have it’s flaws and weaknesses, but Spielberg has woven some magic here. He made a movie that the young me would love! This will be a big hit with audiences, just like Force Awakens nostalgia will make it triumphant. Bags of fun but I wish there was more weight to the bag.