I’m a super big movie and pop-culture nerd over here with an intense interest in getting back into video gaming (it’s been a while…) so seeing Ready Player One ASAP was a must!
Ready Player One directed and adapted by Steve Spielberg from the hit Ernest Cline cult novel; is an action-adventure movie filtered through the googles of a spectacular high-concept gaming story set in a not to distant dystopian future; as we travel alongside our hero Parzival or Wade Watts IRL (played by Tye Sheridan of X-Men: Apocalypse + Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), as he embarks on a sci-fi mystery thrill-ride.
There’s so much to love in Ready Player One. Even the opening shots feel as though they’re in honour of movie classics before them; for an small example, we swoop over Wade Watt’s home – The Stacks in the establishing shots and it reminded me immediately of the same shots used to set the scene in Hitchcock’s Rear Window. I loved the detective movie aspects of Ready Player One as we follow Parzival on his Willy Wonka-esque contest bid to unravel the mysteries of the OASIS; and witness his increasing confidence in himself and in his friendships with fellow gamers Art3mis / Samantha (played by my Bates Motel girlfriend Olivia Cooke) and Aech or “H” (played by Lena Waithe – Master of None). I think it’s also a real positive that in Ready Player One the plot is what you see is what you get; sure there might be some aspects that are new to non-gamers, but I liked that you don’t have to do extra work to enjoy what’s going on on-screen, it’s just a beautiful nerdy Spielberg visual feast, like a pop culture massage for your weary brain.
If you’re a fan of The Shining (which I very much am!) then you’ve got to see Ready Player One for the hugest, most loving pop culture easter egg of all time as Spielberg is a massive fan of Kubrick’s Shining, he goes to town on it’s inclusion in Ready Player One; plus that’s a good heads up for you if you’re planning to take kids along, make sure they can handle some creepiness too. Thematically there’s all the awesome Spielberg stuff you’d expect like camaraderie, a strong hero’s journey, friendship and self belief. The main thematic takeaways are definitely that “Life is not a 1 player game” and that we need to remember in life we create the self we want others to see; and that’s a pertinent one when you consider the construction of perceived self on social media, or in this context the construction of an online self or avatar; and on a deeper level this speaks to movie theory, in that directors create exactly what they intend for us to see on screen too…nothing is ever innocently put into the frame or fluked.
There’s WAY too many awesome moments and characters from all your favourite pop culture movies and books woven into Ready Player One to name-drop them all, so I’m not even going to list them out here; but I am definitely keen to read Ernest Cline‘s work to revisit the world of OASIS and experience the movie again too, plus I wanna chat with you if you’ve read the book and seen the movie so we can compare notes – hit me up and tell me what you thought in the comments!
The CGI and mo-cap of the actors to characters is painfully good, like so beautiful it hurts. Physical SFX make-up in Ready Player One is also so finessed and accomplished; there’s some aging of characters required throughout their arcs in Ready Player One and the resulting work looks organic and real. Every little detail in Ready Player One, either in the grimey reality of The Stacks or the clinical buildings of IOI; to the sumptuousness of the worlds of the OASIS, has been meticulously crafted for repeated viewings for years to come. The soundtrack is also an 80s hit-fest which speaks to Parzvial’s yearning to have come from the era of pop culture inception; with tunes from New Order, Blondie, A-Ha, Twisted Sister, Tears for Fears and more gems.
Ready Player One is a solid instant classic, 10/10 kind of movie for me that I know I’ll see again and again for it’s great journey, enjoyable characters and the thrill of the quest. Check out times for Ready Player One at your local cinema here: Event, Hoyts, Rialto or Reading Cinemas.
Ready Player One has the potential to connect with heaps of people: what interests you about this gaming, action- adventure movie? Have you read the book? Just love Spielberg movies? Tell me what makes you wanna see Ready Player One.