Ready Player One
Release year: 2018
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline, Ernest Cline (based on the novel by)
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Philip Zao, Win Morisaki
In a future where humanity has given up on solving problems life is mostly lived in the virtual reality OASIS. When the creator Halliday (Rylance) of OASIS dies, he informs there is an Easter Egg hidden inside the program and whoever finds it will inherit all his fortune, including OASIS. But to find the Easter Egg, you must first find and go through three challenges. So far only the first has been found and not yet overcome, but maybe it takes someone who like Halliday is a fan of old-school pop culture, someone like Wade (Sheridan).
When creating a movie that almost constantly reference pop culture in form of music, movies and video games, there is a high chance it will become a movie where spotting said references values higher than the story. Leave it to legendary director Spielberg (Back to the Future, 1985) to find the perfect balance as well as creating a top-modern futuristic movie that takes place more in a virtual reality than in real life yet still manage to capture the magic we know from his earlier movies. It somehow feels like he has returned home and Ready Player One is one of his best work in years. Except for Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, 2004) there aren’t many known faces in the cast and since you mostly see their avatars it doesn’t matter at all. Especially not since everyone delivers incredible performances, with lead Sheridan (Mud, 2012) continuing to prove his great talent while Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, 2015) also proves one to watch for. The growing bond between the two character, first in virtual reality and then in real life, is a touching element of the story that makes sure the movie lives up to its own message of how to remember to life in real life as well. Next to the love story and the strong element of friendship, there isn’t much character development in the movie. This could have been a bad thing, but in Ready Player One it doesn’t matter much. One could even say it fits the video game concept. What makes the movie so excellent is the incredible roller coaster ride it is. From the high-speed car race starting not long after the movie the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat with Spielberg’s incredible talent for gripping you and keeping you gripped. Watching the movie is a thrill and both young and old will find joy at spotting known and beloved characters in anything from smaller parts to blink-and-you’ll-miss-it parts. Whether Chucky, The Iron Giant, Halo, Spielberg’s own Back to the Future, Doom or an irresistible The Shinning scene, the movie is simply a smorgasbord of pop culture references that only enhances the charm of this incredible thrill ride.
Alan Silvestri worked closely with director Steven Spielberg to achieve the right direction for the original musical score that would not only be original and distinctive that would not allude to any of the film’s 1980s and 1990s pop culture references, but also to evoke and enhance the film’s story and tone of optimism, innocence, beauty, and a sense of wonder and old-fashioned adventure that many of the Hollywood films of the 1980s and the 1990s utilized to great effect.
Picture copyrights: Warner Bros