Ready Player One - Review


If you're a fan of anything 80s, Ready Player One seems like a match made in heaven. The film (and book it is based on) is awash with references, easter eggs, and characters pulled straight from the time, but as interesting as the 80s are to Ready Player One, it attempts to mix in elements of dystopia, calling to mind the dilapidated world of The Walking Dead, minus the zombies. 

Ready Player One spends almost all its time (about 70%) in a fully CGI world known as The Oasis. In the first moments, it feels odd; characters move weird, voices take a while to sound natural, and the mix of cultures is abrasive. This soon gives way to a sense of childlike wonder, as the film gradually pulls you into its world through rich backstory, great characters, and creative set-pieces designed to please fans. 

Ready Player One keeps the characters and general plot of the book in tact, but changes just about everything else. These changes are interesting, creative, and exploding with culture. A scene that takes place in the world of The Shining blew me away with its daft mix of references and clever writing from the out-of-place characters. Ready Player One feels a step ahead of what's trending, despite its director's age and recent stint of less-than great films. 

Character is another place where Ready Player One shines, particularly through its supporting cast. Main character Wade Watts (played by Tye Sheridan) is a blank slate in the real world, but his character model in The Oasis is a sight to behold. Smooth animation and video game-like modeling create an original world brimming with life, seen in the vastly more interesting side characters, who's models range from ridiculous to ingenious. Even the villain is a winner, a nuanced vision of a corporate CEO turned bad that is easy to believe.

Ready Player One is a fun, exciting film from a director I didn't think was capable of directing fun again. It feels like all of Spielberg's tricks have been put into this one, resulting in a film that both honors and goes far beyond its source material. While some faulty characters and an average real-world story line bring the film down, Ready Player One is, ultimately, a good time.