Reviews: Gaming to save the word in Ready Player One
Ready Player One,
Directed by Steven Spielberg,
Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance
Steven Spielberg brings Ernest Cline’s bestselling science fiction novel to the big screen, and I’m going to start now by telling you all, go see this on the biggest screen you can find. Don’t wait for it to come to the small screen in your home, you won’t get the benefit, and you will lose out on the reason that the cinema was invented. The story is that in about twenty-five years from now the majority of people are gamers who visit the online landscape of The Oasis, for many an escape from a run-down, impoverished reality. The creator of The VR world has died and left a challenge to the players of The Oasis to find three keys, by completing three challenges, and win his shares in the company. There is a huge corporation out to find the keys, employing a number of gamers to flood the challenges, so that they can control the ad space in The Oasis. One young gamer seeks to win the challenges and get out of his mundane life in The Stacks.
I sat there, feeling terrible, as I have of late (long story, not your problem), and all that, and despite feeling rough this film made me feel like I was a kid again. I was young loveable Gar who had the complete future ahead of him, I was cute back then, at least my Mom told me so. I would get to go to the cinema a few times a year when we could guilt the parents into taking us out. The 80s were a sparse time for disposable income but the cinema was always the go-to place for us. Ready Player One brought me back to watching E.T., The Goonies, and Inner Space, as I would sit there and watch these wonderful adventures come to life in the Adelphi, Dublin. These films brought me to love the cinema as an experience and Ready Player One brought those feelings back.
The film, as I must confess Ihaven’t read the book (I have and it’s terrific fun and recommended – editor), is basically Willy Wonka blended with the Matrix with every pop culture reference that you can think thrown into the mix. I seriously felt assaulted, in a pleasant way, about the visual and audio experience that was presented. I watched this film in 2D IMAX and felt as though I was entering The Oasis as the players were.
The cast which includes Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, TJ Miller, and lately Spielberg staple Mark Rylance add to the two worlds that are created, making them coming alive. The reality of the future, is presented in a way that will strike a little fear into the hearts of those who know what is going on in the world. Companies buying debt and forcing those who owe them cash into what they call Loyalty Centres until the debt is paid off; we are not too far from this modern indentured servitude, and it’s a slightly creepy precursor of what may come. In the void the characters all take on their different Avatars and if you don’t know anything about the world of gaming don’t worry as they’ll explain it for you. For those of us who have been slaves to Pop culture for most of their lives the references here will overwhelm you and flood your mind as you try to spot every single character and game piece that shows up.
The one problem that I had with this film, and it’s a good problem in a way, is that the film is about thirty minutes too long. The problem with the problem is that I don’t know a single scene that could have been trimmed without losing that magic the film gave me. When this film opens on general release I will be back at the IMAX and sacrificing the other screenings that I have to go to. We spend too much time complaining that the cinema isn’t used correctly and here Spielberg recreates his golden years. This year he gave us The Post as well, which none of you went to see (I did! – Editor), and I loved. Ready Player One is the big summer movie that I didn’t know I needed; superheroes are there, but used in clever ways, and the games and movies of the past and present all brought into one joyful bundle. I cannot stress enough to you guys and gals that this is a big screen movie, one that really needs to be seen in a cinema, not at home on disc or streaming. Don’t wait for home viewing you’ll be the biggest loser. I’m honestly in love with this film.