A Brief History
On March 29, 2018, movie and video game fans in the United States will be treated to their long awaited premier of the new major motion picture, Ready Player One. Visually stunning and relentless in pace, the movie lasts 140 minutes but feels like a much shorter film, as the audience never gets a chance to get bored or distracted. We strongly recommend the movie goer pay close attention to catch all the little Easter Egg cultural references in homage to previous sci-fi and horror movies.
Based on a 2012 novel by the same name, Ready Player One differs from the written story a bit, which probably helps the movie flow better.
Set in a sort of dystopian future (2045) in Columbus, Ohio, a dispirited and dreary public is preoccupied with a virtually universal fascination with a virtual reality video game world called Oasis. The film goes from live action to CGI VR world action, which by the way is of the highest quality, closely approximating live action itself. Our hero, Parzival (played by Tye Sheridan), joins thousands (millions?) of other gamers in an attempt to find 3 keys left behind by the revered inventor of the game as Easter Eggs within the game. He meets a female avatar in the game and is smitten by her beauty and engaging personality, a character known as Art3mis (played by the rising star of television and film, Olivia Cooke).
We do not want to provide spoilers, so at this point we will lay off the details of the plot. Suffice to say, the action is driven by the desperate attempt by Parzival and Art3mis and their fellow “Gunters” (egg hunters) to find the keys. In this they are opposed by the typical evil corporate organization called Innovative Online Industries (IOI) headed up by the arch villain Nolan Sorrento (played to perfection by Ben Mendelsohn) who wants to seize control of the Oasis VR world. A team of other players joins Parzival and Art3mis in their quest, and although these characters are extremely well cast and well played, their background stories are ignored. For that matter, other critics have bemoaned the lack of character development, but honestly, we disagree. Too much character development would have slowed the pace of the film and detracted from what we think is a tremendous eye candy treat with an interesting take on the future.
The soundtrack includes 1980’s songs inserted artfully into the action, as are previously mentioned cultural references to such films as Godzilla, King Kong, Child’s Play, The Shining, and others. The sharp movie fan will catch even more! The CGI is terrific, and the movie is eye candy and action filled. The audience loved the movie, as evidenced by the applause at the end (always a good sign) and the gushing, glowing comments afterwards.
Produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, you know the movie is going to be a spectacle right off the bat. Another clue is the generous $175 million budget, which lets you know ahead of time there would not be shortcuts in making the movie great.
Obviously, we loved the movie, and this in spite of this author’s lack of video game experience. Rated PG, we would not hesitate to take kids to the movie and in fact recommend the film for families. The parents will dig the music on the sound track even if they are not video game aficionados. The whole family will love the action. We strongly recommend Ready Player One, so go see it on the big screen, especially if you can find it in 3D or XD!
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For more information, please see…
Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One. Broadway Books, 2012.