Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance
Director: Steven Spielberg
It’s 2045, and the world is an awful place to live. The poor live in the stacks, unsafe high rise trailer parks, while an evil corporation, IOI, keeps them there by encouraging them to stack up debts that are impossible to pay off. Everyone escapes the awful reality by entering The Oasis, a VR world where you can do, be or have anything. The creator of the Oasis, Halliday (Rylance) has died, and IOI are keen to get their hands on the rights to the Oasis, to take control of it and make it lucrative rather than free for everyone. But to do this, they’d have to find the clues that lead to the Easter Egg at the heart of the game which would grant them control. So far no one has found any clues, until Wade Watts, aka Z, (Sheridan) manages to find the first one. With the help of his friends, including BFF Aech (Waithe) and the girl he has a crush on Art3mis (Cooke), he sets out to find the egg and keep the Oasis as a haven for everyone. But can he outwit the evil Sorrento (Mendelsohn) who is determined to win at any cost?
Based on the book by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is a film full of 80’s nostalgia because of Halliday’s obsession with that era. It’s a film for gamers or action lovers, with it’s focus on light, sound, action and spectacle. There are some truly exciting set pieces in this film, and one that you’re going to get a real kick out of seeing on the big screen. But in the masterful hands of Steven Spielberg, it’s more than just a spectacle, unlike a lot of blockbuster films of recent years. It’s fairly light, but the characters are all well delineated and give good performances. Yes, you’re going to be blown away by that world creation, but you’re also going to hate that bad guy, and want to see the good guys win, and in that sense, it has a lot in common with classic 80’s adventure films, which is a nice subtle touch.
It’s a fast paced thrill ride that’s got enough differences from the book to feel fresh to all those who’ve read it, and yet keeps all the important things intact: the characters, the main premise and the general plot. It’s a star studded cast who make sure the film stays grounded in relationships and emotions, and yet it’s also definitely a delightful spectacle, with a focus on 80’s music and culture, chases, action, explosions, and gaming. Perhaps a bit loud and overwhelming for some, it’s an incredible feat of film making from a masterful and imaginative director, and well worth a watch if you like your films big. (I do!)
See It If: you like your films big and studded with 80’s music and references. It’s a great ride, and should please sci-fi fans, gamers and a teen audience too. Great fun.