Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg
Written By: Ernest Cline, Zak Penn
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Studio: Warner Bros
Buy On Amazon.com
The pop culture book has been turned into a pop culture movie and will have pop culture references every 2 seconds – just warning you now. Getting that out of the way, Ready Player One is an highly enjoyable film although it’s a bit too long.
The movie takes places 2045, and many of the cities around the world have become beyond poor. Many of the residents use their money to take part in a digital world called OASIS and provide some escapism. The creator of the game passed away but tells the world he left 3 easter eggs in the digital world, whoever finds all three will get full ownership of OASIS and become rich. Ready Player One centers around Wade Watts/Parzival (Tye Sheridan) and 4 other gamers that take on a big corporation who want full control of OASIS.
I didn’t think much of the movie trailer when it premiered. It looked overly CGI but I guess it makes sense since it’s in a digital world. Perhaps the SFX wasn’t completed fully in the trailers but I wasn’t impressed. It looked ten times better in the actual movie though. I still think the mouths of the characters was slightly out of sync, particularly Olivia Cooke’s character Art3mis. I liked the story for the movie since it reminded me of Willy Wonka in a way, except it’s a digital world. I liked that the movie did feature a lot of stuff in the real world, besides just nothing but in the OASIS. I think it would have gotten too much if it was just in there. Obviously I loved a lot of the pop culture references but it did feel at times, like they were shoving it all down your throats. I did crack up at several things like the Zemeckis Cube, the holy grenade, and laughed out loud when they unleashed a certain horror character into the battle late in the game. I was kind of disappointed to see nothing Star Wars in there, or at least obvious choices. I would imagine Disney didn’t want to share the rights with them or maybe Spielberg didn’t put them in?
It would have been nice to know why the creator of the game was so obsessed with pop culture and the 1980s. There was some backstory but not enough, the same goes with Wade. I barely knew who the people he was living with or just went over my head when he announced it in the beginning. I found it funny that Artemis told Parzival that he would be disappointed to see her in the real world. Um, she has a slightly burned mark or birthmark on her face, she’s still pretty to me! That was kind of silly. I liked that the characters were going up against a greedy corporations. It’s not new but damn it’s satisfying seeing that. I wasn’t a fan of Aech’s distorted voice in OASIS. I could tell from the beginning the person wasn’t who Wade thought he was. I just wish they had her do a different voice or didn’t have it so distorted. They explain some of that in the featurettes too but I don’t think they did a good job with it.
The Blu-Ray and Digital HD include featurettes on the 80’s, the making of, the visual effects, the sound design, the score and other things. It was awesome to see how they did everything. This definitely felt like a different kind of Spielberg movie, especially after The Post. It felt like he never really did a movie like this before, where he had to do all his directing from a little room with pre-visual effects on the screen. When watching this, it almost felt like a Zemeckis movie than a Spielberg movie, if that makes any sense. So there’s a featurette about the cast, the author and everybody talking about their love of the 80s. There’s an interesting featurette on the sound design, the making of and all the stuff that is featured in that was cool to see. Of course, I loved watching the Alan Silvestri featurette and author Ernest Cline was beyond geeking out being at the session. He’s heavily featured in the extras and he just proves he’s one of us, and not some phoney trying to make money on geek culture.
Ready Player One is entertaining but it’s a little too long I think. Sometimes the movie and I guess the book rely to heavily on pop culture to move the story along. I loved the 3 challenges part of the story, as well as taking down a greedy corporation. I feel like this movie will only get better after seeing it a few times because you’ll pick up on things you missed the first time. Not everyone will like this movie but I thought it was fun, despite some of its flaws.
The ’80s: You’re the Inspiration
Game Changer: Cracking the Code
Effects for a Brave New World
Level up: Sound for the Future
High Score: Endgame
Ernie & Tye’s Excellent Adventure
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 kbps)
English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Bottom Line: Entertaining movie but a little too long and shoves the pop culture references down your throat
Running Time: 140 mins