Movie Review: Ready Player One

As we left the theater after seeing Ready Player One, I told my wife, "I think that's the most fun I've had at the movies since Deadpool".

 

Not the best movie, mind you--but certainly the most fun. However, by happy coincidence, Ready Player One is also a great movie.

 

The concept is that virtual reality has sent much of the world's population into a computerized universe that's way better and more fun than the real one, which of course leads to the real world  getting that worse. In other words, it's the way things are pretty much headed in real life. By 2045 everyone, including Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is going into the OASIS, where you can be anyone you want and do anything you want. A good example of this is right at the opening, when we see some people climbing Mount Everest--with Batman.

 

For instance, you could have your own time machine.

 

Wade lives in a trailer park so overcrowded that the homes are literally stacked on top of each other, and won't that be fun the next time a tornado comes along? He's competing to find clues to a contest that will give the winner control of the OASIS, along with the fortune of its creator, James Halliday (played with relish by Mark Rylance). When Wade wins the first of three challenges, he gets on the radar of some very powerful people, which ends up endangering both the OASIS and the real world of Wade's friends and family.

 

Where does Hollywood get its ideas? Where everyone should: books.

 

Now, let's be clear: Ready Player One is another science fiction action-adventure, nothing more. But in the hands of a master like Stephen Spielberg, nothing more can become ... more. From the moment Wade hops into the Delorean from Back To The Future to race the Akira motorcycle, Bigfoot, the A Team van, and the freaking Batmobile, you know you're in for something special. And that's before King Kong shows up, and by the way, that's just in the first ten minutes. It's breathless and breathtaking, spectacular and funny, and the only thing that's missing is a John Williams score--although having said that, Alan Silvestri does a great job weaving in well known themes for a memorable soundtrack.

 

By the way, is there any SF fandom Simon Pegg hadn't been involved in at this point?

 

Spielberg has said Ready Player One is the most difficult film he's made since Saving Private Ryan, twenty years ago, and the third hardest ever behind Jaws. I believe him; but he pulled it off. Oh, and yes, there are themes and deeper issues, as well as plot holes along the way.

 

If you're into pop culture references, you'll probably want to see Ready Player One more than once, just to catch everything. For me it was one of the fun parts of the movie, and honestly I'm bursting to shout out all the references, from the obvious (The Shining) to the blink-and-you-miss-it (Firefly). And if you don't recognize all those shout-outs ... doesn't matter. Still a great movie.

 

If you don't recognize at least one of these, you'll recognize something else.

 

 

My Score:

Entertainment Value: 5 out of 4 M&Ms. Yeah, I said it.

Oscar Potential: 3 out of 4 M&Ms. There's quality in every aspect of this production, but sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Academy totally ignores this picture as being too much fun for their lofty standards.

 

 

Comments

Tamara Wilhite Added Apr 13, 2018 - 3:43pm
Thank you for the review.
Mark Hunter Added Apr 13, 2018 - 3:50pm
Thanks, Tamara!
Jeffrey Kelly Added Apr 13, 2018 - 6:19pm
Haven't seen this one but I'm selective with the movies I watch.  Looking forward to the Avengers and Deadpool II.
Mark Hunter Added Apr 13, 2018 - 6:25pm
I’m selective only from a budget standpoint; but I knew this one would be big on special effects, just like the two you mentioned, so big screen it was. On a related note, you just named two of the other movies I’ll be headed to the theater for.
James Travil Added Apr 13, 2018 - 6:33pm
Thanks for the review  I'm looking forward to catching it this weekend! 
Mark Hunter Added Apr 13, 2018 - 6:35pm
James, if you don’t like it ... try not to be too hard on me!
Michael B. Added Apr 14, 2018 - 8:56am
I watched a good documentary a couple of years ago called Atari: Game Over, and the author of that book had a prominent part in it. I totally agreed with him in that everyone wanted an Atari 2600!
Gerrilea Added Apr 14, 2018 - 11:51am
Mark H--- Now that you brought this movie to my attention with the rave reviews...I'm gonna have to go see it.  We all need a little R&R and a break from reality, once in a while.
 
Thanks for the tip and review.
 
Jeffrey Kelly Added Apr 14, 2018 - 5:14pm
@Michael B.
I watched that as well!!!!  I got a 2600 for Christmas when I was a kid, I loved it.
Mark Hunter Added Apr 15, 2018 - 12:55am
Michael B, Atari 2600 is the reason why I don't play video games anymore; it made me aware of my addictive personality. Got pretty ugly.
Mark Hunter Added Apr 15, 2018 - 12:58am
I hope you like it, Gerrilea. I'm always a little concerned, because I tend to be easily entertained and willing to overlook problems that often bother other people.
John Minehan Added Apr 15, 2018 - 7:37pm
I wondered what it was about. 
 
Odd note, while Atari was a US Company, "atari" is also a Japanese word that means "straight ahead."
James Travil Added Apr 15, 2018 - 8:10pm
I was a real gamer addict back in the day. My addiction started with the basic B/W Pong, then the Atari 2600. Went to the 5200, NES, etc. The last gaming system I had was the Playstation 2. After that I lost interest and with the family don't have the time to find time to spend on that nonsense.
 
Oh BTW, I saw the movie and liked it. Thanks again for the review Mark.
Mark Hunter Added Apr 16, 2018 - 12:17am
That seems like a pretty good company name, John.
Years ago I read a comic called Atari Force, which did a fairly good job of tying some of the games into a serious (relatively) outer space plot.
Mark Hunter Added Apr 16, 2018 - 12:22am
Glad you liked it, James!
My family has had Playstation and Nintendo in the house, and now we have a Wii Fit, but I have to be very careful of how much I'm on them. I don't want a repeat of that Lost Year of Missile Command. Luckily I'm more disciplined in my writing than I used to be.
Michael B. Added Apr 16, 2018 - 8:56am
In the Atari documentary, Cline picked up a DeLorean and drove it by Roswell and the Very Large Array before winding up at the dump site where the E.T. game that allegedly toppled the video game industry in the mid-80's were buried (that just isn't true). If that wasn't a mega-geek, tera-nerd tour, I don't know what is. But who am I to judge, as Cline's great grandchildren are probably set for life, lol. Anyway, I'm intrigued, I'll have to check it out.

Recent Articles by Writers Mark Hunter follows.