Ready Player One is a science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The film is based on the 2011 novel of the same name and stars Mark Rylance, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Tye Sheridan. The story takes place in 2045 where humanity uses virtual reality software called the OASIS to escape the harsh and dystopian reality of the real world.
The protagonist of Ready Player One is Wade Watts/Parzival (Tye Sheridan) who uncovers clues to a hidden game within the OASIS. The winner of this game will gain full ownership of the OASIS. Wade, with the help of his allies, tries to win the game before players working for a company run by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) can do so.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Ready Player One
I said this in my review of The Post and I will say it again now; Steven Spielberg is the greatest director of all-time. He has made amazing films in literally every genre of film there is and, in some ways, he was going back to his roots with Ready Player One. Indeed, Spielberg made a name for himself with adventure films such as the Indiana Jones trilogy and Jurassic Park. From the trailers, Ready Player One looked like a fun adventure film and the reviews for the film confirmed that it was quite entertaining and a throwback to Spielberg’s earlier work.
I could not wait to see what was in store, especially when it came to finding all of the pop culture references and Easter eggs. Moreover, I had never read the novel on which this film is based upon so I had no preconceived notions about what the film had to do in order for it to equal or better the novel. I did not expect Ready Player One to rank amongst the best of Spielberg’s diverse filmography. Instead, all I wanted to watch was an entertaining film with high re-watchability.
My Thoughts on Ready Player One
By a long way, Ready Player One is the most entertaining, fun cinematic experience I have had in recent times. I was grinning from ear to ear for the majority of this film and it is absolutely one of my favourite films of 2018 so far. For me, re-watchability is important in the overall quality of a film and Ready Player One is eminently re-watchable. This is just for trying to find all the pop culture references alone. Truly, the film is littered with them and trying to find as many as I could kept me engaged throughout.
Still, while this was fun to do, it was not what fully propelled Ready Player One to a place where it was one of my favourite films of 2018. It was the story and the amount of world-building in the film which did this. Every time I was in the OASIS, I was hooked from a visual perspective. I loved how vibrant it was. It left me longing for a world where virtual reality technology like the OASIS exists but I guess I will have to be patient in that regard.
I also found the story in the real-world to be captivating due to how it contrasted to the OASIS. The OASIS was full of imagination and possibility whereas the real-world was, to be honest, quite depressing. I connected to the characters in both worlds and loved how the story interconnected between the two.
Pop Culture Commentary + The Cast of Ready Player One
As the film progressed, I also noticed how much Ready Player One was a commentary on pop culture and fandom. This was interesting to me given how Steven Spielberg has had such a big role in shaping both of these things as we know it today. It was a theme in Ready Player One that gave the film some meaning and depth, especially towards the end of the film where the cast really shined for me.
The entire ensemble cast gave very good performances. I liked Tye Sheridan in the lead role but my favourite performance was given by Mark Rylance. He played the character of James Halliday who created the OASIS and some of the stuff he was involved in during the film was very touching, particularly in the third act. He was a character I could really relate to and he was just one element of many in Ready Player One that I absolutely loved.
If I am going to be a bit nit-picky, the only thing in Ready Player One that annoyed me was an incredibly cheesy line of dialogue in a scene between Wade and Samantha (Olivia Cooke) towards the end of the film. I understood why it was said but it was too cringe-worthy for my liking. Still, that is an incredibly minor issue in an otherwise fantastic film that you should absolutely see as soon as you can.