Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ready Player One - Movie Review

Written by Shiggins

Unleash the references of war!

When Wreck-It Ralph was first being announced, all the trailers made it look like it was going to be a festival of characters from other properties working off of each other. Many went to see the movie, expecting to see Ralph and Bowser hanging out together, but it was quickly revealed that the film wanted to focus on its own story and that the other characters were just icing on the cake. And that situation is what Ready Player One finds itself in.

So many references... and yet I didn't see one single Pikachu!
Directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One features the tale of futuristic society that refuses to deal with its own problems and instead escape at every opportunity they can to a colossal virtual reality world known as "Oasis". When the creator of Oasis passes away, he leaves a will stating that whoever can find the "Easter Egg" he left within the game's massive worlds, inherits all his money and the Oasis itself. 

The focus is on harmless protagonist Wade Watts played by Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse), and his journey to find the Easter Egg along with his friends Aech, Art3mis, Daito and Sho. Each of them are fun in their own right, with Wade taking on the predictable role of the lovesick hero who adores Oasis, Art3mis as the tough girl, Aech as the tough but simple friend, and the others as... the Asians who rarely get development.

Nice dress, although I would have personally worn something more famous. Like Lady Gaga's... If I was a girl, obviously!
The villains on the other hand, while equally as predictable, are a lot more fun. Ben Mendelsohn plays our main antagonist Nolan Sorrento, and he is just having a great time hamming it up. From his suit to his ambition, everything about him has been done before but he's just having such a fun time with it. Also bringing fun to the villain side is T.J Miller, playing the "scary" i-R0k. I won't give away any more than that.

The real star of this film however is the Oasis itself, obviously. If I had to guess why Steven Spielberg chose to take this job, it would be because he saw the potential in creating the Oasis for the big screen and all the amazing visuals he could create. Something as simple as a library is suddenly epic and wondrous in Oasis, just because of the presentation. A scene set in the club is a particular standout, with its vibrant colours and funky beats. I don't want to give away any more than that.

The quest is to find three special keys. That is so ridiculously old-fashioned that I actually kinda love it.
Thanks to the direction, the visuals and the camerawork, Oasis truly does have a sense of wonder and joy that Spielberg so often works best with. This felt like a world that was truly alive with players, and that I myself wanted to be a part of. The idea of choosing my own avatar, running into this world of beauty, and doing anything I want with friends from all over the world, utterly exhilarates me to no end. When you close your eyes and imagine the future of VR technology, I'd be surprised if you didn't come up with something like this.

The "avatars" themselves are worth talking about as well. As with almost every game these days, Oasis allows people to create and customise their own characters to gorgeous effect. Wade's avatar for example is a Final Fantasy-esque pretty boy, complete with blue tattoos and big gorgeous eyes, but the movie cleverly makes sure he looks like that and not, say, like he's meant to be a realistic human. Human avatars are designed to avoid the uncanny valley with exaggerated expressions and features, which really helps the immersion that this is a video game they are playing in. If this film tried to make everyone as impressive as Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One, it would be awful to look at it in the years to come.

And that brings us to the references. Oh the references! I could sit here for hours and just write down every reference I saw. From Overwatch's Tracer, to Back to the Future's DeLorean, to King Kong, to... well, so much more. The amount of time, money and effort it must have taken to get the rights to use these properties must have been absolutely staggering and thankfully, everyone looks amazing here. They look exactly like you expect them to, and I mean that in the greatest way possible.

My new ship.
If I did have a nitpick with the references however, it's that I wish they could have been taken advantage of more. Characters like King Kong are used to great effect as obstacles, but the film rarely takes the time to have some great fun with the gifts they've got! For example, I remember seeing Street Fighter's Chun-Li appear in one scene. Wouldn't it have been funny to see her hanging out, playing sports or whatnot? Or what about having a stereotypical cute anime girl swearing with an older man's voice? Maybe some nerds arguing over Pokemon, while looking like the Pokemon they are fighting over? That's just off the top of my head! 

While I'm sure it sounds like I think this movie is perfect, the truth is that the drama is where it falls behind. The characters themselves are not that interesting sadly, and the story can be predictable in many areas. This is a very flawed film in terms of writing, as Wade heaps out exposition to the audience and the player behind Art3mis attempts to gain sympathy for something that is nowhere near as big of a deal as the movie tries to make it out to be. Again, I am trying to avoid spoilers.

I will say though that if the avatars were this sexy, then Oasis would be absolutely filled with perverts ruining the game. You know I'm right.
Does that make the film bad though? No, absolutely not. Ready Player One might not be the most sophisticated or complex story out there, but it is a beautiful adventure that relies on imagination and love for fiction. Near the beginning, Wade says that some players like to climb a mountain with Batman in this world. And that to me is a perfect example of the surreal but brilliant world concocted in this movie and, I assume, the novel, that makes this film worth checking out. 

In the end, I asked myself this; Did I have fun? 

The answer is yes. I had fun. I had fun watching my own geek fantasy come to life before my eyes, where players could be whoever they wanted to be and in any way they wanted to be. I had fun watching the teens take on the corporate villain in the suit. I had fun immersing myself in the world of Oasis, and dreaming of entering it myself while looking like Spiderman's Venom, or with a sexy twink avatar so all the boys and girls would love me.

Shooting Freddy? Tell me where the dating sim level is! If he's in Oasis, I want the option of marriage as well as murder!
If you're a lover of pop culture from the 80s to last week, I say you should definitely check this out. Don't expect this to be as funny or emotional as many of Spielberg's other works, but definitely be prepared for a smile on your face as you enter a world of Virtual Reality that we will hopefully one day reach ourselves.

Film Rating: 8/10

Best Performance: Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento.

Best Part: The heroes enter a classic movie.

Worst Part: Reality drama. (How ironic). 

Yeah, I'd probably drive in that car too. Or Dick Dasterdly's Mean Machine.
Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on or go to his tumblr page

1 comment:

  1. I really feel like you're gonna have to do a spoiler version since it makes it hard to follow on your talk and overall this is one of those movies that will be a hit or miss people in the same way sword art online was. I personally feel this had more distractions than actual narrative development and a vague saying on "The real world sucks" doesn't really say why or what happened for people to be in this or even how the hell are they surviving in a virtual world alone. but for me personally this wasn't my kind of movie since at best it'll have a hit and miss with people.