Ready Player One is a futuristic look at how the world of video games and virtual reality could cause real complications in real life.
The film follows the adventures of Wade Watts, a boy who spends most of his waking moments in a VR world called the Oasis.
The Oasis is actually where most of the free world spend their time in the year 2045. They are able to attend school, shop, buy homes and vehicles, change their avatars to reflect their favorite pop culture figures, or pop into any one of their favorite pop culture worlds and live as the characters in them.
In a strange twist, the creator of the Oasis, a Steve Jobs/Bill Gates level genius by the name of James Halliday, has created a digital Easter Egg hunt of sorts and the first to win the hunt wins complete control of the Oasis and Halliday’s fortune, after his death. The challenge includes quests in which the players must decipher clues in order to gain three keys that lead to the ultimate prize: The Easter Egg.
In the film, five years have passed since Halliday’s challenge has been presented to the world, and no one has been able to beat the first quest, let alone all three. In all that time, our hero, Wade Watts has virtually eaten up every single fact he could learn about Halliday in order to win the hunt.
Halliday grew up in the 1980s and became obsessed with all pop culture of that decade, so naturally, the challenges for the Oasis are steeped in ’80s and ’90s pop culture trivia. Watts (known as Parzival in the Oasis) has a moment of clarity regarding Halliday’s challenge and is able to beat the first quest. Thus ensues nonstop action and adventure that includes a love story and an antagonist in the form of an evil, greedy corporation bent on winning the contest to be able to monetize the Oasis which has been mostly free to use for all, until now.
Because Ready Player One is so steeped in ’80s and ’90s pop culture, who better to direct the film than ’80s and ’90s director guru, Steven Spielberg? Spielberg was able to incorporate some of his most loved characters and other 80s pop culture figures into what is the most advanced level of CGI and live action movie that we’ve seen to date.
There is even an homage to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, that allows those of us who love this Stephen King horror classic to see the film through fresh eyes and with a new appreciation. The result is a movie that stands alone from the book and can hold its own with fans of the books and new generations as well.
Fans of the book Ready Player One written by Ernest Cline will leave this film with a certain sense of disappointment. Even though the film on its own is great, readers will be sad to have missed out on seeing some of their favorite scenes from the book rearranged or left out altogether.
The premise and the plot of the film are the same as the book, but creative liberties were taken to create an all-new animal. The only redeeming fact for most readers will be that author Ernest Cline co-wrote the script for the movie and so his creative genius is still included in the film.
All in all, this reviewer would recommend anyone to see this film, simply because it is fun and entertaining. The movie is safe for viewers of most ages without having a “family film” feel to it. The only reason parents with smaller children may want to opt out is for mild profanity throughout the film.
Ready Player One is scheduled to be released to theaters everywhere on March 29, 2018.