I’ve always been a sucker for sci fi adventures and that’s why Ready Player One has been on my watchlist for the longest time, even though I have no background about the book and all that I know about the movie is that its directed by Steven Spielberg and that it has something to do with virtual reality. By its end, I felt as wrung out as if I’ve been part of the High Five’s adventure and that’s a good thing.
Synopsis: In the not so distant future, Earth’s cities have become slums and people’s way of life have become so deplorable that many choose to live out their lives in the Oasis, a virtual reality world developed by the genius partnership of James “Anorak” Halliday (Mark Rylance) and his best friend Oggy Morrow (Simon Pegg). After their partnership ended, Halliday left a parting quest for the citizens of the Oasis upon his death. He left three keys which will reveal a final Easter Egg which will unlock his final message and leave to victor his entire fortune as well as ownership of the Oasis. Parzival/Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), who idolizes Halliday decodes his clue and becomes the first to secure the first key. However, this triggers repercussions into the real world when Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelson), the CEO of IOI, a corporation that seeks to take control of the Oasis and profit from it, targets Parzival to keep him from winning the game. Luckily, his team comprised of Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Aech (Lena White), Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao) has his back.
If you’re a big fan of video games, you may enjoy Ready Player One a lot. The way the CGI was carefully designed could may very well come from your favorite game, plus there were tons of references to pop culture — The Iron Giant, King Kong, Mecha Godzilla, The Shining, Gundam, and even Easter Eggs (so meta!) — this film has plenty of coolness to spread around. And these pop culture references were not simply strewn around. They were actually integrated into the story making it more interesting for members of different generations.
Like a video game, the quest had different levels and involved a mystery/puzzle to solve. Amidst all this, Ready Player One also has the real world story to cover so there was a lot going on in this film. What I liked about it was that the theme of the game and the reality were very consistent. The quest in the game involved finding connections and the connections built within the game translated into the the real world. Halliday’s quest was complicated but the motive behind the mission was pretty basic. And this was what really reeled me in.
Of course, the movie was not perfect. By focusing on Wade’s relationship with his friends, very little attention was placed on this relationship with his aunt, and this took away from the emotional impact that one particular scene in the movie could have had. Some of the dialogues were also quite cheesy but because the storytelling was so effective and engaging, it still worked on an emotional level because audiences will find themselves invested in High Five and the strong bond that this team had. The first two quests also took a lot of time that it seemed that deciphering the final one was a bit rushed amid all of the action. The final battle scenes were epic and memorable and that’s what you really want to go for in this genre.
Nolan may be a suit but he was a very effective villain. He knew when and how to wield his power both in and out of the Oasis and that’s what made him all the more scary to deal with. He didn’t know his limits and it made his ruthlessness so real.
All in all, Ready Player One was tons of fun. It had a great cast that gelled well together and it had a very relateable and rootable story that was told properly without being overpowered by the CGI. It had a great core message that can be applied to today’s world, reality is what matters. Its pretty simple but to go through all that, it was well worth it. Word.