View from the Vault: Ready Player One Review
Ready Player One is not like it’s novel counterpart and that’s OK. It is, however, like every geek and gamer’s wet dream, and that’s great. This is GeekVault’s movie review of Ready Player One. Ready? Let’s begin. For starter’s it is a visual feast, that leaves you stuffed but asking for seconds. Secondly it’s the Where’s Wally of pop culture in fantastic film format. There is something in there for everyone and Spielberg is back with a ton of nostalgia and good feelings.
So The story goes… The year is 2045 and real life isn’t looking so good. People live in “stacks” now, trailers stacked one on top the other, the height of skyscrapers. The only place to turn is the OASIS, a virtual reality, where anything is possible. People live out there entire lives there, work, learn and most of all play. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is one of those people. Living in his aunts trailer with her string of abusive boyfriends. His only escape is through the OASIS. It’s creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance) hid an Easter egg, after his death, within his vast reality, the finder of which would get the key to his fortune as the heir of the OASIS itself.
Thus sparks the greatest hunt ever in which Gunters (egg hunters) face off against the IOI, the second largest company with intentions on being the first. After several years of no progress the interest has died down to only the most hardcore fans until Parzival, Wade’s avatar, finds the first key. Now he must battle off against the evil IOI, headed by Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), and with the help of his friends Aech (Lena Waithe) and Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), find all three keys and win the egg.
Level 1: No Spoilers.
So firstly, we here at GeekVault, as geeks and cinephiles alike, absolutely loved Ready Player One. Every five seconds we couldn’t help but point out to one another a reference way off in the background, it was just utterly ridiculous fun. You just have to sit back, relax and go with it.
There is nothing new about this film, it’s your typical hero’s journey, mixed with popular teen dystopia rebellion against evil corporations. Which is still as poignant as it’s ever been. It’s impossible to be original these days, and this film doesn’t try and hide the fact that it is one massive movie and game reference. It is, in my opinion, the most successful retelling of where the future of technology, such as drones and virtual reality, could lead us, without keeping mega corporations in check and allowing everyone un-tampered access to the internet.
So this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, you can argue that it relies too heavily on other franchises to make this film work. Strip it all away and you have a typical heartfelt, everyday little guy stands up to the big bad company. You just have to accept that you’re going to get a hundred cameos shoved at you in one frame. If you can pretend you don’t recognise all the Overwatch/Batman characters, you’re left with the same feel good movie.
The performances from our main characters are great, especially considering half of it was CGI Mocap, it felt real and believable. Mendelsohn plays a great menacing villain once again. The humour is on point. You are thrust into the action straight from the get go and they never really take their foot off the gas. Allowing a handful of moments for you to catch your breathe. I one hundred percent recommend seeing it.
Level 2: Spoilers Ahead!
So as stated it is very different from the book, which is understandable to make it more engaging for a viewing audience. Right from the get go, the school planet, the only one Parzival can visit in the book is replaced with an epic and impossible race no one can win to get to the first key. The gates are wholly abandoned, I’m guessing due to time restraints all films must abide by.
Also forgoing Parzival using his new fame to make money sponsoring products. Buying his own planet. The long frustrating wait between finding the keys. In the movie it all happens rather consecutively one after the other. The War Games recreation is replaced rather ingeniously by a recreation of The Shining. In one of the best sequences in the film. As well as replacing Wade’s involvement on the inside of IOI with Art3mis. However the spirit and overall path taken were kept the same.
One thing I am rather thankful that they changed was the focus on the eighties, whilst still keeping it present. It didn’t feel real in the books, sure everyone loves the eighties, but it took away from all the great things that have been made since. Plus almost every kid from the twenty-forties being obsessed with only things from fifty years ago was unbelievable. This issue was resolved in the film with the inclusion of great things such as Overwatch, Street Fighter and a personal favourite, The Iron Giant, on top of tons more. I am at least now sated enough not to ask for an Iron Giant sequel for another ten years. What else is there to say? Except for… “It’s fucking Chucky!”
Level 3: Game Over?
The problems I had with this film are very miniscule, mainly that they didn’t touch on the school aspect of things. The idea in the book that everyone had a right to free learning and that’s where he hid the first key. Simon Pegg’s Ogden Morrow wasn’t a particularly big part, like the removal of his ball scene, that showed off his godly admin powers. Mainly I was just upset that they didn’t show the Iron Giant going full war mode. Though the Terminator sign off kind of made up for that. Really I find it hard to hate anything in this film, I mean, who ever thought they’d see an epic fight between The Iron Giant, MechaGodzilla and a Gundam? Is that the possibility of a live action Gundam movie we see in our future? We can only hope.
OK the character’s are a little flat and the story is a little typical, but what were you expecting? This is E.T. and the Goonies on steroids.
This is something I have wanted to see since I was a little kid. So many of our favourite characters under one roof, in one movie! I mean that’s why we love Marvel movies right? Why we enjoy the idea of Alien vs. Predator? Seeing these character’s come together. I think, if you hate that this is one film about a hundred other films, you were always going to hate it. Frankly, why did you even bother? But if you can let go, and just enjoy seeing these character’s interact with one another, you will love it. Just be open to some meaningful light hearted fun about video games. If anything it will leave you hopeful as an insight for the future. The technological virtual reality side anyway, not the murderous corporation dystopia. This is a future Spielberg classic, prepared to stick around for a while.