"Ready Player One": ETF Review
A Perfect Nostalgia Trip...
Ready Player One is an adaptation of the novel by Ernest Cline. This film was directed by Stephen Spielberg, and stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, and Ben Mendelsohn.
I had the pleasure of catching an early screening the night before it's release. I promise to keep this one very light and spoiler-free for you all as much as possible.
This film tells a tale set in a dystopian future, where mostly everyone escapes the harsh reality into a virtual world called the OASIS. But when the creator of this world dies, he releases a video out to all of his beloved players revealing that he has planted an Easter Egg into the game and challenges the entire world with finding it. He promises a prize consisting of his entire fortune, as well as control over the Oasis itself.
I'm not gonna lie, based on what I saw in the trailers and what I know about the original novel, I kind of expected this film to be a muddled, incoherent mess packed so heavily with pop culture references that a story would be both hard to decipher and impossible to keep interested in. Not that I don't have faith in Spielberg, the man is a genius.
Spielberg did a masterful job of bringing us a fantastic story, woven through an ocean populated by the things we all know and love from decades of film, video games, and television. This film lives and breaths nostalgia, presenting us every second with memorable quotes, characters, and artifacts from our favorite pop cultural moments. Nearly every frame is dripping with it.
Which is why this was the perfect time for this adaptation, at the height of the nostalgia craze that has swept Hollywood in recent years. If there was ever a love letter to the world of 80s cinema and pop culture, this would be it. But it stretches so far beyond the 80s that it is outstanding how much they were able to fit within this world of the Oasis.
The performances in this film were imaculate. But I expect nothing less in a Spielberg film. Every character is presented with a clear purpose or arc and they all fulfill them perfectly. There was just enough comic relief to make this one entertaining, but not too much to water down the seriousness of the plot.
I'm gonna try not to go to far into spoiler territory here. But there is one sequence I wanted to at least mention specifically. The Shining sequence. Yes, that's right my friends, there is a Shining related scene in this film, and I'm not gonna lie, as a horror fan, I fan-boy'd all over the place through this entire scene. It made the whole film for me. But I'll stop there before I ruin anything for anyone.
Those who know me know that I am not a fan of CGI in film. I much prefer practical effects whenever possible. Of course, I do understand that there are times when practicality isn't possible. Ready Player One is one of those examples. This is a film presenting two worlds to the audience. Reality and the game world. So it only makes sense that the world of the game be presented completely in CGI, considering all the characters within it are digital avatars.
Going in, I honestly expected the constant CG would be a distraction that would pull me right out of the narrative. But thankfully I was wrong. I actually found myself noticing it less and less as the film went on, almost to the point where I would forget they they were CG all together.
The sound track to the film was incredible, immersing you even further into that 80s nostalgia with hits from the period, as well as sound ques from various games and popular and iconic film scores. I can't imagine how much fun it must have been for Spielberg to create this world and populate it with so many characters and moments from films throughout his lifetime. Not to mention being given the chance to revisit aspects of his own greatest works and incorporate them into this film, giving them just one more chance to wow new audiences in a whole new way.
This was a beautiful film and a visual explosion. A piece where every frame is jammed with so much to see and so many hidden details to notice. I feel that one could watch this over and over and never fully realize all that there is to see.
I'm giving Ready Player One an A.
No matter what you are a fan of, there is something in this film that will feel placed there just for you. I never thought it would be possible for someone to create a film that everyone can enjoy. But some how Spielberg managed it. If you have any intention of seeing this film, get out there or get your hands on it and enjoy it to its fullest. I don't see how anyone can be disappointed by it.