“Ready Player One” premiered on March 29, 2018, was directed by Stephen Spielberg, the master behind such acclaimed films as “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Jaws” and was written by Ernest Cline, who wrote the book that the movie is based on.
The movie follows Wade Watts/Parzival (Tye Sheridan) as he tries to find the final Easter egg hidden in a gigantic, virtual reality game called The Oasis which gives the finder control of the entire simulation as well as half a trillion dollars. The game’s creator, James Halliday (Academy Award Winner Mark Rylance) left the egg as a final challenge after his death.
Wade, along with his in-game friends Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Sho must work together to find the egg, in order to stop an evil corporation named IOI from finding it first and taking control of the game.
The plot for the movie is relatively simple. The beauty of this film lies in the execution. Spielberg and crew create a truly breathtaking virtual world inside the film, filled to the brim with all sorts of pop culture references from many time periods. Many small references may pass over the viewer's head unnoticed, but many more are easy to find an outright regarded to as references within the film.
Even through virtual characters done through motion capture, the characters still come alive thanks to very well done performances and fantastic CGI. Spielberg shows again that he is able to bring out fantastic performances from a diverse cast filled with many newcomers and veteran performances.
This is not a straight adaptation of the novel. The movie changes several plot points from the book, mostly to help streamline the story and change some of the more obscure references in the book into more well-known ones for the sake of the movie. Ernest Cline is able to reinvent his own story for the big screen in fantastic fashion. There will always be the book, but even with the many changes, the film still captures the nostalgic heart and soul of the novel.
The film takes a book that is good, but relatively niche, and turns it into something much more approachable to a wider audience, which overall is a good thing. This may leave some fans of the book who enjoyed the more obscure references a little annoyed, but for most this is a welcome change.
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The movie incorporates tons of music from the 1980s into its soundtrack. This, along with a beautiful score by Alan Silvestri really helps drive home the virtual world of Ready Player One, and helps to immerse the viewer in the Oasis.
Spielberg also takes care to not reference his own work. Despite being an icon of pop culture himself, his references are to other creator's works, showcasing that Spielberg can handle other's creations with care and respect.
The movie isn’t perfect by any means, with some of the constant references to other works feeling a bit overdone. Some of the side characters, like Aech and Daito, also lack a lot of development that they had in the book, in order to push the plot itself forward. The film also has a breakneck pace, and it's easy to get lost if you aren't paying close attention to the details as they come at you. This is a movie that requires the viewer to stay engaged througout.
Overall though, Stephen Spielberg delivers an incredibly satisfying, nostalgic and action-packed blockbuster that is sure to delight pop culture fans of all generations. It’s a must-see this year.
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