Ready Player One is a 2018 adventure science fiction film directed by the great Steven Spielberg and starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg and Ben Mendelsohn. Welcome to Awesome Definition and today we are going to do Ready Player One Movie Review. Our rating for this Steven Spielberg modern classic is 3.5/5 for creating some really nostalgic moments and some superb action sequences and effects.
Ready Player One is a very interesting project for Spielberg to adapt though as it’s a book that seems like it exists solely to reference all our favorite 80s films. It’s almost like Spielberg’s love letter to himself and the kind of movies he’s famous for. But Ready Player One isn’t exactly trying to simply replicate Spielberg’s glory days because it utilizes a modern plot and modern effects from industrial light and magic, being a film set mostly in a kind of virtual PlayStation game.
So the story in this flick is set in the 2045 where living conditions are harsh and most people rather than tend to their problems in reality plug into the Oasis for the sake of escapism where they pretty much live their entire lives aside from eating and sleeping. A virtual reality world the Oasis is the haven for the inhabitants of the world to escape their mundane boring lives. It was created by the eccentric nerd James Halliday played by Michael Island and it was quite funny seeing the Shakespearean actor playing a geeky character.
When Halliday dies a hologram version of him appears in the Oasis where he promises complete control of the Oasis and an immense fortune to a worthy heir, who is able to complete a three-part contest which involves a seemingly unbeatable car race and some riddles which require knowledge of Halliday’s real-life.
Our hero is Parzival/Wade Watts played by Tye Sheridan and his quirky group but they are up against corporate bad guy Ben Mendelsohn playing the head of a shady organization who wants to win the challenge so they can make a lot of money out of the Oasis. The movie’s key selling point and perhaps the reason why the book was even made in the first place are the references and easter eggs. The film is littered with these references from Iron Giant, Aliens, Akira, Jurassic Park, Nightmare M Street, Minecraft, Batman, King Kong, Star Wars and countless others.
Some sequences are central to the plot like one of the riddles the main characters having to solve. It paved the way to a great sequence where our heroes have to go into the actual film of the shining and you get a genuine rush of nostalgia seeing all the familiar images and spooky soundtrack from Kubrick’s classic film. It is also possible for someone with no knowledge of the pop culture references to understand the film; it really does help to be a part of that generation who grew up with films and video games.
There are some really cool scenes like seeing the Delorean from Back to the Future engaged in a race with the bike from Akira and the car from Christine all while being chased by the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and the ape from King Kong. There’s a lot of noise in this film, a lot of images flying in your face but unlike others of its kind it is held together by a master of entertainment cinema Steven Spielberg.
It actually does have the magic of vintage Spielberg flicks and we were thoroughly entertained by it. Honestly Spielberg didn’t think he had a solid crowd-pleasing action film but the movie is a blast. It ticked all the boxes, the effects were great, it had likable good guys, solid bad guys, it was funny and there was genuine drama and tension. Even it was scary a few times and Alan Silvesti’s score was on point it.
We did think the film was a little long though at about two and a half hours. It started to run out of steam near the end and it would have been a bit better to have the big battle that ends around the climax instead it leaves you where you start to feel a little fatigue at the end.