By Marc Woodfork
‘Ready Player One’ tells the story of a society that has become reliant on spending as much time as possible in the world of virtual reality gaming. A world where one can do anything, go anywhere and become anyone you want. The only limits are your own imagination. This virtual world is called Oasis, and when the creator dies, he “gifts” his creation to the one player who can put together the clues and find the ‘easter egg’ that is hidden within the game.
‘Ready Player One’ works on multiple levels. Based on the novel of the same name, the idea of this story is brilliant. It’s well written and crammed full of excitement and energy from start to finish. For those who love a taste of nostalgia, then this certainly has plenty. 1980’s and early 1990’s nostalgia is vomited all over this film. But it’s presented in a very creative and imaginative way. The sequence relating to the film ‘The Shining’ is particularly genius.
Make no mistake about it, this is a Steven Spielberg film full tilt. How the camera moves between scenes, the action sequences, to the dialogue and how the characters speak to each other is quintessential Spielberg. And there lies the beauty of the movie. Not sure another director would have been able to pull it off. For this movie to work, the director needs to be someone who enjoys the playground so much that when it’s dark and time to go home, he/she pretends they don’t hear their parents calling them so they can stay and play a bit longer.
The cast of young actors, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe and others are superb in their roles. Very likable and genuine. Veteran actor Mark Rylance plays the creator of the game, is exceptional in his role.
My only criticism of the film is that I am not sure the same audience that is currently reading or has already read the book will understand a lot of the 80’s pop culture references. But, if that ends up being the case, there will be plenty of people watching ‘Ready Player One’ that will be more than happy to explain or answer any questions that may come up.