Movie Review: Ready Player One

Details: Released in 2018. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Stars Tye SheridanOlivia CookeBen Mendelsohn. About two and a half hours long. More information can be found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1677720/

Score: 7/10

Ready Player One is a children’s film. It is also a testament to the power of nostalgia and how just a drop of it can move an audience. After watching this movie, I know that it is mostly fluff. It’s a flimsy, fairly bad story. And yet by the end of it, the movie still made me feel some emotions. If anything, I guess Ready Player One is proof that movie goers (such as myself) are indeed suckers and just dropping a few images from our childhood is all it takes to amuse us.

Ready Player One centers on the character of Wade, a young man living in Detroit in the near future. In this time period, a lot of people play a virtual reality game called the Oasis. This is a virtual universe that all people can connect to and interact and play with each other. Players put on this suit and goggles and their motions are reflected in the virtual world. The creator and owner of the company that runs this game dies and says that he has left a series of challenges and whoever beats these challenges will inherit the company (valued at about half a trillion dollars) and control over this virtual world. Now everyone remotely involved with this game is doing all they can to discover and defeat these challenges.

It’s a silly plot that doesn’t withstand any scrutiny or sustained thought. You just kind of need to take it as face value and just accept the story for what it is.

The biggest draw for many people (including those in this film’s marketing team) is that there are many licensed properties utilized. You get glimpses of Batman, Back to the Future, Battletoads, Street Fighter, Gundam, etc. The list goes on and on. A major theme in the Oasis as well as for the movie itself is this feeling of nostalgia. They bring back so many glimpses of properties I’m familiar with that I couldn’t help but feel something seeing all of them pop up. Unfortunately, if you strip away all those references and take a look at the story that underlies it all, it’s clear that the narrative in this film is average to below average.

Visually, the film is great. Spielberg is directing, so you’re obviously going to get a decently made movie regardless of the plot. Lots of special effects, lots of action.

Overall, this was an okay movie. It tries to give you a moral or a theme, but it’s shallow at best. This film takes the overly done concept of a virtual world and loads it up with countless licensed references that only a directorial powerhouse like Spielberg could obtain. It doesn’t explore the concept of the virtual world too deeply, nor does it take the concept in a new direction. Ready Player One is just a fluff film and is moderately entertaining.

Score: 7/10

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