What probably stood out to most people after reading Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One was the thought that damn, there’s no way they’d ever be able to put that on screen.
Thankfully, Steven Spielberg doesn’t like the word never.
In the future, the world sucks. And everyone spends time away from it playing video games in a virtual reality universe called the Oasis. The owner of the Oasis has long since passed away but he left behind an Easter Egg. Whoever is the first to find it, will gain total control over the Oasis. Everyone wants a piece of the action, and since this is America, there is a giant corporate entity that will stop at nothing to find the Easter Egg.
If you haven’t seen the trailer by now, the draw of the Oasis and the film is that every single game, comic, piece of pop culture, exists in equilibrium. Meaning that it’s one big crossover episode. When Serenity flies in and drops off a Gundam suit, I cried nerd tears of joy it was so beautiful.
Thankfully, the film ditched some of the nerdier aspects of Cline’s novel in favor of more traditional challenges required to find the Easter Egg. Especially great is The Shining sequence.
But one thing about the story, besides its rote familiarity, is that it really is a nerdy nice guy white boy gamer’s fantasy. Especially when it comes to the love interest. Like oh wow she’s hot in the game and she’s hot in real life? What a surprise. BUT SHE HAS A BIRTHMARK ON HER FACE? Uggo city. What a hero for still wanting to make out with her. The collective groan from the female gender is loud enough to keep me up at night.
The film makes up for it with humor and visual style. The added T.J. Miller villain was a nice touch, along with casting Ben Mendelsohn as the big bad. Mark Rylance continues to show that he’s one of America’s greatest actors, even if only Steven Spielberg wants to use him. Sadly, Simon Pegg is a bit of a waste.
Bursting with colorful characters, Ready Player One is a tried and true formula with enough of a gimmick to get you past the cheese. Good luck counting all the references you recognize, there are literally thousands of them.
3 out of 4 stars.