From the best-selling novel of the same name, Ready Player One is a decent example of how to mix pop-culture references and futuristic technologies in an interesting, albeit uneven, film. Steven Spielberg does his best to create an absorbing homage to the past in what could have been an overstuffed nostalgia reference.
Taking place in the year 2045, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) lives in Ohio with his aunt on top of a stack of trailers in a section fittingly called “the stacks”. With the economy destroyed, the only currency that’s worth anything is inside the massive video game named OASIS. So naturally, instead of trying to fix the outside world, many people retreat into this virtual world created by James Halliday (Mark Rylance).
Halliday is the richest man on earth and when he passes away he promises one lucky person ownership of OASIS and its riches. Wade hopes to become that person, but he must solve Halliday’s three obscure challenges and fight against Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), who hopes to put his company IOI (Innovative Online Industries) on top, to unlock the hidden easter egg.
The film does a good job of taking its world seriously but a bad job of making the world feel feasible. OASIS is a game that towers above all games; people make a living and survive by playing this game. It is never explained how profitable the game is or what else there is to do besides play this game. This fact never detracts from the events that take place but thinking too hard about the aspects besides virtual reality can lead to questions about what is happening in the outside world.
Steven Spielberg does a good job of creating an interesting and imaginative world within OASIS and of the outside world. Spielberg creates a world that weaves pop-culture references and special effect set pieces together in a way that doesn’t diminish the key messages.
A constant fear of movie adaptions is changing sections to be more interesting onscreen while destroying the writer’s vision. With Ernest Cline co-writing the screenplay for the movie it feels as though it is given a stamp of approval to stay true to the themes of the novel.
Even with some missteps, Ready Player One is still an exciting adventure that has plenty of entertaining action sequences as it does heartfelt moments that should entertain most moviegoers.