Sunday, April 15, 2018

Movie Review: Ready Player One

Steven Spielberg adapts the nostalgia-filled novel of Ernest Cline about the future of virtual reality. I read the book a few years ago when I first heard about the movie and liked the plot of it enough to be curious as to how they would adapt. There are a lot of changes made during the transition to the screen but the film is still a fast-paced ride, though it backs off the action until the finale. The references were numerous in the book too and I wasn't always able to understand who they were. Some of these references are updated in the movie and some are still brought over. The obsession with the 80s time period is not as prominent and the film seems to incorporate more modern video game characters. I'll have to watch it again see all of the crazy things they packed into this movie.

The story follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) whose parents died when he was young leaving him with the superhero alter ego name. He lives with his aunt in the stacks of a trailer park but escapes into a hideout amid trashed cars. There he can strap on a headset and suit to enter into a virtual world known as the Oasis. The creator of the Oasis, James Halliday (Mark Rylance) left behind a secret game when he died and players have to seek out three keys to find an Easter egg. Wade works with Aech (Lena Waithe) to solve the first challenge, a wild car chase that includes King Kong and a T-rex. A big corporation IOI also tries to find the Easter egg so that they can control the Oasis led by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn). Wade meets Art3meis (Olivia Cooke) who is willing to risk everything to find the key and he becomes attracted to her.

Wade solves the first mystery by going backward and finds the first key. He spreads the word to his friends but eventually the corporation figures it out too. Sorrento tries to convince Wade to help him but Wade refuses so Sorrento sends F'Nale Zandor (Hannah John-Kamen) after him in reality and I-R0k (T.J. Miller) after him in the Oasis. Wade escapes but then he is brought to a hideout where Samantha, Art3meis real identity, is leading the resistance against IOI. Together they find out about the second challenge in The Shining hotel after they search the archives with the help of a butler. Wade delves into the history of Halliday and his co-creator Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg) and Halliday's failed attempt at a relationship.

After they find the second key by surviving the horrors of the Shining hotel, their base is raided and Samantha is capture. Wade escapes and uses some special technology created by Aech to trick Sorrento to make him think he is in reality when he is still in Aech's warehouse in the Oasis. Wade frees Samantha who is in the slave labor area of the IOI headquarters. The final key is in a castle on the gamer shooter planet and the task is to beat an old game. Wade knows what he needs to do but Samantha has to destroy the shield the IOI but around the castle first. A giant battle with all the characters ensues but Sorrento blows everyone up. Wade survives with an extra life and finds the secret before gaining control and living happily ever after.

In between this movie and Spielberg's other release, I tried to watch all of the master director's other films but I came up short. So does this movie in several ways but as I managed to watch quite a few, this movie does not fail to be really entertaining and fun. The concept of new technology was really intriguing and the world is so vivid thanks to all the character cameos. The acting and dialogue weren't great but the spectacle made up for it. I was glad that so many properties were willing to share their ideas and look forward to seeing this technology become available in the future. 

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