Ready Player One Review

Updated on April 4, 2018

In recent years Steven Spielberg has shifted his attention to historical dramas like Lincoln, Bridge of Spies, or last year’s The Post; films that continued to mark a shift in the director’s more mature interests compared to his 80’s adventure romps. But now the creator of the modern blockbuster has returned to his popcorn movie roots with Ready Player One, perhaps the ultimate celebration of nostalgia and geek culture.

Based on the best-selling book by Ernest Kline, Ready Player One takes place in a dystopian future where people spend the majority of their days in the OASIS, a virtual universe where people can go anywhere and become anything their imagination can conjure up. The focus of most of its users turns to pop culture of the late twentieth century as that time represents deceased OASIS creator James Halliday’s formative years. The plot revolves around a giant scavenger hunt designed by Halliday. The player who can find three hidden keys will unlock a secret easter egg and gain control of the OASIS. However, the charms of Ready Player One will not be found in its plot or even its characters. It is first and foremost about an experience.

Ready Player One plays, for better or worse, like an amusement park ride that does not let up. Spielberg is clearly having a lot of fun staging all of the action sequences and he’s great at building momentum in this virtual playground. An early racing scene is particularly kinetic and a blast to watch unfold. However, it’s somewhat ironic that a 140-minute movie seems to be in too much of a race itself, speeding through the plot. Our leads move from one task to the next leaving little room for character development or attachment. While stars Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke don’t make much of an impression, the fault isn’t in their hands. Mark Rylance, on the other hand, shines as the eccentric, Willy Wonka-ish Halliday, but his screen time is relatively limited.

Much has been made of all the pop-culture references the movie constantly employs. I’ll admit that while I had some fun with them and at times thought they were used cleverly (there’s a great sequence based around a certain Kubrick film), I can also see how people’s mileage may vary on that element. It’s worth noting that as much as the movie celebrates geekdom it also exhibits a warning against such obsessions by the end. Although that message may be admirable, it’s thrown in so late in the game that it makes little effect.

While it might be tempting to compare Ready Player One to one of Spielberg’s other sci-fi efforts, I was reminded most of his 1941, a typically derided movie that I actually have a soft spot for. Both are flawed films, overstuffed with characters and non-stop action that is Rube Goldberg-esque in its execution. They may be relatively light efforts by Spielberg, but I find the charms of each outweigh the problems. Ready Player One has plenty of people nitpicking (and I’ve done my share in this review), but ultimately Spielberg still has the talent and enthusiasm to pull off a thrill ride adventure like few can.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)