Food & Adventures

Thursday 19 April 2018

Ready Player One: A Review

Steven Spielberg's latest blockbuster is a full on pop culture geek-gasm with cameos and references from all areas of movies, books and games. I haven't read the book so I went into this film with no preconceptions and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I took my son Harry, 11, and daughter Heidi, 9, and they both loved it too and proceeded to point out all of the characters who were making appearances, even though I already knew them all (I'm not so completely ancient that I don't know who Tracer is).

The premise is tried and tested albeit in a new setting. In the future real life is pretty shitty so most people spend their time in the virtual world called The Oasis. There, you can customise your avatar to look how you want to look and interact with everyone else around the world. The main character is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a guy who lives with his Aunt in a trailer park called The Stacks in Columbus, Ohio. In The Oasis Wade is Parzival, his best friend is Aech (Lena Waithe) and along with some other players Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Phillip Zhao) as well as pretty much everyone else in the world are trying to complete a quest set by The Oasis' creator.

James Halliday (Mark Rylance) created the The Oasis but died a few years before the film, in his will he set a quest for anyone willing to undertake it. Whoever completes the quest will receive his shares in the company and effectively own The Oasis. The players have been trying for years but no one is even close. As well as the players there is also another company (Innovative Online Industries or IOI) who are trying to win so they can start charging people to use The Oasis and sell advertising and head of the company is Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) they archetypal joyless douchebag with no imagination.

The first part of the quest is a race through a sprawling city racetrack. Some of the racers have vehicles from various TV and Movies including, The Pontiac Trans-Am from Smokey and the Bandit, The A-Team Van, Mad Max's V8 Interceptor, the 1966 Batmobile and of course The DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future. The race is littered with obstacles including the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and the end level Boss is King Kong.

Obviously there has to be a love story, Parzival fancies Art3mis straight away and tries to win her over with some dance moves. In the real world they meet up when IOI tries to kill Parzival to stop him winning anymore of the challenges. It turns out that IOI are a pretty dark company as they buy people's debt and make them work it off in 'Loyalty Centres' that are essentially virtual work camps.

The next part of the quest involves solving a riddle in the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. This was my favourite scene, the hotel is recreated perfectly and it's just as creepy as in the actual Shining complete with the twins girls, the ghost woman in room 237 and the blood coming from the elevator.

The final challenge of the quest seems easy as they just have to play a game on the Atari 2600 (fun fact: I used to have an Atari 2600 when I was a kid). However, they don't know which game. IOI have loads of players trying to play every game from the Atari 2600 and failing. They have also set up a huge shield around the game so no one else can try and play, so Parzival and the rest of his crew recruit an army of players to lay siege to the shield and a huge battle ensues.

The battle is chock full of cameos too, with Freddie Krueger, Chucky, The Army of Darkness and Spawn all making appearances. The Iron Giant is teased throughout the film and finally shows up in this battle to help get Parzival inside the the shield.

As enjoyable as the film was I don't feel this will be a classic along side Spielberg's other big hits but it is still worth watching. The plot was a bit predictable but the the aesthetics are incredible and the soundtrack is pretty decent too. The acting is secondary to the action but there are some good performances particularly Ben Mendelsohn who seems to be carving out a good niche for himself playing dickheads, there are also good cameos from Simon Pegg and T.J. Miller. As fantastic as the film seems it's not so far fetched with regard to the way VR Tech is going and something like the Oasis is probably not that far off.

Well, that's all for now.




  1. I watched this a few weeks ago after falling in love with book (and being a child of the eighties/gaming nerd). The film is very different, however, still worth a watch and my 14-year-old daughter thoroughly enjoyed it. Lisa :)

  2. We saw Ready Player One on the Vue Extreme screen. I love all the references to other things. Like the deloreon in the race game. Marvin the Martian etc.
    The film was good and made me think is this the potential near future?


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