Ready Player One is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, T.J Miller and Ben Mendelsohn.
It tells the story Based on the Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name, in the not to distance future, where the planet is pretty much mess up. When one James Halliday (Mark Rylance) and his partner Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg) create the first virtual reality world called the Oasis, it becomes an instant success. It’s a place in which you can be anyone and do whatever you want and the perfect place to escape the awful world.
After parting ways with his business partner, Halliday runs the company alone and when he finally dies years later, he releases his final challenge to the world. He tells people across the globe that he has placed an Easter Egg deep within the Oasis and whoever finds it will inherit all of his assets and the Oasis itself. Of course, to find it, you have to first find three keys, or clues, to unlock the egg’s precise location, and it’s no easy task.
Set in Columbus, Ohio, we meet Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a young man who lives in the Stacks. A trailer park from hell, Wade has a pretty miserable existence in the real world. But he finds solace in the Oasis as his cool avatar Parzival, hanging with his avatar pals and desperately trying to crack Halliday’s challenge. When Wade/Parzival meets Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), his entire game and life changers.
The performances are all top-notch, especially from Sheridan and Cooke, who gel well together onscreen. Cooke particularly is engaging when she’s being her avatar Art3mis, full of cute swagger and confidence. Ben Mendelsohn chews it up with the best of them, and it’s perfectly fine for him to go over the top. Other standouts include the always-good Mark Rylance, as the sweet, kind-hearted, geeky moral centre of the film.
The true star of the film, however, is the Oasis. It’s simply the place to be, especially through Spielberg’s visual mind. No offense to the actors, but you are instantly sucked in the minute any of the characters put on their VR goggles, and you’re completely engrossed in the action sequences. The sights and sounds are nothing short of amazing, and you can actually feel Spielberg just giddily revelling in all the high-tech visuals he can create.
The film is also an ode to the 1980s, Ready Player One spoke to me on many levels. I felt like it was made for me. Author Cline co-wrote the script with Zak Penn, and the two are kindred spirits, stuffing the film full of that era’s references. So is Spielberg, to some degree, because it’s in the late ’70s and ’80s when the director perfected his craft.
It’s not just the ’80s being represented in the Oasis, but a number of great pop culture references, from beloved characters like the Iron Giant to King Kong and so much more. Ready Player One could be one of those movies that can appeal to just about everybody, even younger audiences who should appreciate the high-tech gadgetry and modern-day gamer mentality.
Penn and Cline have craft a narrative that isn’t necessarily surprising in its set-up but grabs you nonetheless, and while the film does seem to drag a little the closer we come to the climax, along with some characters sadly unused, Ready Player One is a Triumph.
Should you go watch Ready Player One? Yes
Why? Because it’s just one big bowl of Glorious popcorn fun, from beginning to end, and it’ll be one you want to watch over and over again.