Don Reviews "Ready Player One"
While in college in Montana, I was able to participate in a contest held by a local radio station called “The Jingle Bell Rock”. There were clues at each of the station’s sponsors, and if you were the lucky listener who followed those close to an actual rock, you won. In the second year of the contest, I was that listener and won $1,500 in gift certificates. (And yes, I actually had to pay the taxes on the value.) It’s not a half trillion dollars, but it was still a lot for me.
“Ready Player One” is the new film directed by Steven Speilberg (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and stars Tye Sheridan (Mud, X-Men: Apocalypse), Olivia Cooke (The Signal, Ouija), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Animal Kingdom), T. J. Miller (Silicon Valley, Deadpool), Lena Waithe (The Chi, Dear White People), Win Morisaki (Sherry, Kamen Rider W), Hannah John-Kamen (Black Mirror, Tomb Raider), Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), Mark Rylance (Dunkirk, The BFG), and Philip Zhoa (who is making his debut). Taking place in in Ohio around the year 2045, overpopulation, a bad economy, and climate change has forced the majority of the people to live in slum like cities in stacked trailers. About twenty years prior, a virtual world called The Oasis was invented, where people live their lives, and after its founder, James Halliday (Rylance), passes away with no heirs, so he unveils a quest that gives everything to the person who can find three keys that lead to an “Easter egg”. This motivates a young man named Wade/Parzival (Sheridan) and his friends Aech (Waithe), Sho (Zhao), and Daito (Morisaki) along with a blogger known as Art3mis (Cooke) to act as a team to make headway on finding the three keys before IOI and its evil CEO Sorrento (Mendelsohn) do.
The CGI is beautiful here, as I really liked how they went back and forth from The Oasis to the real world. Their contrast was so sharp that I was able to understand why everyone wants to be in The Oasis. I also enjoyed how each avatar’s mannerisms seem to be pure copies of their human counterparts. The acting was good overall as well with Sheridan and Cooke doing well as the leads ad a supporting cast that compliments them. Mendelsohn does well as the evil villain CEO with little morality who only cares about controlling The Oasis for his own financial gain. I also have to give it to T.J. Miller, whose character really adds good comedy, and even though he is only see in The Oasis, his voice, tone, and emotion does the work for him.
From a storytelling standpoint, I truly enjoyed the first half of “Ready Player One, but the last third of the film went down the wrong path. I have never read the novel this film is based on, so I can-not give that perspective, but at two hours and twenty minutes long, I started to feel it by the end to the point where they could have cut about ten to fifteen minutes. I think they extended the climax and added extra action just for action sake. There are some great tributes to pop culture and certain iconic films in this movie that I truly loved with some great comedy in it, so I will recommend this film as a matinee showing in the theaters.