MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Ready Player One” stars Tye Sheridan (Mud, X-Men: Apocalypse), Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Signal ), Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Dark Knight Rises), Lena Waithe (Master of None [TV series], This Is Us [TV series]), T.J. Miller (Deadpool, Big Hero 6), Simon Pegg (Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol, Star Trek Into Darkness), Mark Rylance (Dunkirk, Bridge of Spies), Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki (A Yell From Heaven, Sherry), and Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Killjoys [TV series]). It was directed by Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Jaws), while the screenplay was written by Zak Penn (The Avengers , Alphas [TV series]) and Ernest Cline (Fanboys, Red vs. Blue [TV series]). Based on a novel, this film is set in the year 2045 where the world has grown to be a harsh place to live. All that humanity lives for is escapism found in a virtual reality world known as the OASIS. Wade Watts (Sheridan), a young man, plays under the name of Parzival in the game, and like everyone else he is trying to locate secret keys the creator of OASIS placed for anyone to take over his share of the company.
Let the countless references to video games and film begin. It seems as though we’ve hit a nostalgia era in filmmaking. Many movies and shows that are released nowadays have to harken back to some sort of media, whether it was found in the 80s or not (but more than likely it’s from the 80s). Why is this happening? When did it start? You got me, but Steven Spielberg is cashing in with his latest release of “Ready Player One,” a feature that unfolds reference after reference to pop culture in order to attract those hungry nostalgics to the theaters. Spielberg himself is a bankable director; I think he’s more than proven that over his extensive amount of years in the business. However, I can’t help but feel that the guy isn’t directing his pictures anymore, even if his name is plastered on the credits as doing so. “The Post” was an alright flick that could’ve been better. It had some Spielberg flair to it, but overall I was disappointed in how much it lacked. Now we make it to “Ready Player One,” which didn’t pull me in at all when the trailers were released. I’m done with nostalgic filmmaking. Sure, it’s always nice to reminisce, but that’s what those movies/media is for. How many more outlets of 80s content do we need in order for us to move on? Clearly, not enough. I had almost no expectations for this, not only for the nostalgia fact, but also because I’m not the biggest fan of films surrounding the consuming world of technology. It’s been done time and time again, and to see a story revolving around a VR world just doesn’t interest me. Then, I actually saw “Ready Player One.” Before I go into my full analyzation, I must have you know: I did not think this was fantastic. It’s not top-tier filmmaking whatsoever, but it does have its own charm that surely pulls you in. One of my friends put it best by saying that this film is “the definition of entertainment.” It’s pure visionary surrealism; a spectacle to behold in regards to its visual effects and direction. If “Ready Player One” doesn’t put a smile on your face at least once during its run through, then there is something wrong with you. There’s a piece of culture in this movie for everyone, whether it be a film character, music score track, or object. It’s what you expect in a nostalgia piece such as this, and I will say that throughout its entirety I had fun with “Ready Player One.” It’s a non-stop roller coaster of thrills and excitement, utilizing cunning special effects to display a world unlike any other. Sure, the visual effects aren’t life-like (they have to simulate a video game), but there are some casing where it comes as close as it can get, specifically in my favorite scene of the feature. I won’t go into spoilers, but it was jaw-dropping, and had me grinning from ear to ear (you’ll know it once you see it). Outside of the world building itself, there’s a few more things to enjoy about this picture. The musical score is fantastic, composed by the great Alan Silvestri. Also, the direction and cinematography were immaculate, making for an intense adventure. The performances were alright, with some acting better than others. I thought Tye Sheridan did a solid job as well as Mark Ryalnce. Others were a bit flat and one-dimensional, but did enough to push the story along. The greatest thing “Ready Player One” did was exceed my expectations. It’s an entertaining joy ride filled with enough thrills to keep you locked in, and I would recommend it to those looking for a fun time. The cons to this feature simply lie in its story development. We are supposed to care about the real world surrounding these characters, but it is hardly ever fleshed out for us to even bat an eye. Everything important takes place in The Oasis, causing the real world to be more of a side thing that comes up every now and then. Also, almost all of the characters aren’t given much room to grow. Like I stated before, the acting was a bit flat and one-dimensional, all due to their characters’ lack of development. I didn’t necessarily care for any of these people, which in turn made it a more entertaining than impactful experience. The only exception to this lied in one scene towards the end that is shared between Sheridan and Rylance that really got to me. It was a well-written scene that actually felt grounded and not so elevated. All in all, you aren’t going to get a lot of gripping, character-driven moments from this feature. You shouldn’t have expected that from the trailers. It’s really a piece of entertainment that is served to fill the holes of all nostalgics in the audience (albeit, it is very fun and I enjoyed my time watching it). Kudos to Spielberg for surprising me, though I hope his next picture has some real depth. FINAL SCORE: 82%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: