Ready Player One

ready_player_one_ver2_xlgBased on the best-selling 2011 novel of the same name written by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is entertaining science fiction fantasy that effectively recreates the video game experience with its frenetic pace and overabundance of CGI. The plot revolves around Wade Watts, played by Tye Sheridan, who lives in a futuristic Columbus, Ohio in 2045 and finds himself on an adventure in the so-called OASIS, a virtual reality world that most people tap into to escape their dystopian real lives. Wade whose avatar is named Parzival is what is known as a Gunter and searches for the Easter eggs that the creator James Halliday, played by Oscar winner Mark Rylance, hid within OASIS after his death. The person that discovers the three keys will become the sole owner and operator of the massive virtual world in addition to receiving $500 billion from Halliday’s estate. With the possibility of such immense power, the villainous CEO of the video game corporation IOI Nolan Sorrento, played by Emmy winner Ben Mendelsohn, enlists an army of indebted OASIS users to discover the clues left behind in order to take control. Wade races to discover all of the Easter eggs before Sorrento and eventually teams up with a group of other avatars known as the “High Five,” including the young and beautiful Art3mis whose real name is Samantha Cook, played by Olivia Cook, and Wade’s virtual best friend Aech, played by Lena Waithe who is best-known for her role in the Netflix series Master of None. The movie feels very much like the audience is alongside Wade as he battles through what is essentially an elaborate video game, with the telltale graphics of a modern first-person shooter and the presence of avatars and Easter eggs. Besides the spectacular and almost seizure-inducing special effects and action sequences, the film is remarkable for its nostalgia and homage to vintage and contemporary video gaming as well as past pop culture, in particular the 1980s and even to the director Steven Spielberg’s earlier movies. Overall, I found it to be a unique and creative cinematic experience that, for better or worse, feels like a video game nerd’s fever dream brimming with so much insider geeky knowledge to be almost too overwhelming for general audiences.

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