Ready Player One Film Review
Well he’s Back. Steven Spielberg I mean. With another movie and with another adventure. Ready Player One is the name and Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is the main hero in it. Well… Parzival (his Avatar in the OASIS) is to be honest, but i’ll get to him in just a sec.
You see… The Earth in 2045 is a shit-hole and much of the population lives in Stacks. A slum-like cities going all the way to the sky. Because the living conditions and atmosphere in the Stacks are so dire, everyone escapes in the VR world. Just put on your visor and you can become anything you want and go whenever you please. The users in the OASIS software have discovered Anorak’s Quest. A game hidden within the OASIS that was designed by the late creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Right before he died, he set up an Easter egg in Anorak’s Quest and 3 keys that lead to the Easter egg. Whoever finds it, will get a large sum of money and full ownership of OASIS. But it won’t be a walk in the park, for Perzival, his on-line friends Helen Harris / Aech (Lena Waithe), Akihide Karatsu / Shoto (Phillip Zhao) Toshiro Yoshiaki / Daito (Win Morisaki) and his love interest Samantha Cook / Art3mis (Olivia Cooke). Why? Cause also Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), the CEO of Innovative Online Industries (IOI) is also looking for the egg and he has a whole company on his disposal to make sure he finds it first.
Is Ready Player One a fun movie to watch? You bet it is! Is there anything noteworthy besides the fun? Very little! Let’s start from the positives, shall we? Spielberg’s discovery Mark Rylance is yet again a stellar in one of his movies. The Academy Award winner is brilliant as the nerdy, introvert and borderline Asperger James Halliday. He actually brings a touch of humility and gentle nature to the movie, and I found myself actually enjoying his scenes. They also bring a quiet much calmer contrast to the abundance of CGI packed chase, fight and action scenes. Olivia Cook and Lena Waithe are true stand out stars among the younger cast, and you can always count on TJ Miller to bring the laughs. Even in a CGI character like his i-R0k- a freelance weapons and magic item dealer and bounty hunter. Miller is phenomenal too, and you can’t really fault the steady and confident directorial work of the man himself. He’s maybe in his early 70’s but Ready Player One shows that he’s not lost his touch even in a SF/action/CGI movie like this one.
But my biggest qualms about Ready Player One is the fact that the movie doesn’t dig deep in any aspect. Seriously. There is no character depth in any of the characters (even the lead), the love story between Parzival and Art3mis is poorly constructed and in the development area… the movie is focused solely on completion of the Easter egg hunt. There could be more meaningful sub-plots here, but I’m afraid everything else is put to the side, forgotten and abandoned. The dangerous escapism and subsequent addiction to the virtual reality that is a possible real life reality for every single one of us? Nope… it’s barely touched. The dangers of the greedy conglomerates and their ruthless policies on commercial selling out? Sadly no, and it’s a shame because there was a lot of potential in the Nolan Sorrento character.
He may stared of as Halliday’s intern but I was hoping to see more of his motives and progression to the spineless, sleazy and greedy CEO. But the abundance of nostalgia is ever so present. It’s in almost every scene. From the visual nods and homages to your beloved games, film, comic book and TV characters to the nostalgic rock/pop classic in the soundtrack. They’re all there and they are stunning. But they don’t have the power to hold the movie together alone, and pretty much every fan watching the movie knows it. You need to have a substantial depth, and I’m afraid this movie is lacking in any kind of substance, depth or meaning. It’s nice on the eyes, but not much anywhere else. Don’t you think?