Rating: Solid B+
Summary: The creator of a virtual reality world hides an Easter Egg.
… Wait, the Easter Egg WASN’T Serenity flying in? What?
No one makes a kid’s movie quite like Steven Spielberg. Part Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, part Polar Express, part Baby Driver, and part Star Trek, Ready Player One is a wonderful movie that both adults and younger can really love. A really fantastic popcorn movie, if you will.
The story is pretty simple- be the first to the eggs, overthrow the cheating billion-dollar company that wants to control gaming for $$$$$ rather than the pure joy of playing, find a cute avatar, make sure there’s a cute person controlling said-cute avatar, have a great time. Taking place in 2045, the world escapes poverty, natural disaster, corruption, etc. by heading into the OASIS, a virtual reality world where you can be anyone and/or anything you want. The creator of the OASIS Halliday (Mark Rylance) passes away, but not before sending out a message about hidden Easter Eggs throughout the OASIS. The person who find all three inherits the company, billions of dollars, and power only Mark Zuckerberg can dream of.
Of course, Spielberg takes this simplicity and dazzles it up with some really incredible and memorable visuals and chuckles along the way. I don’t think the story is anything extraordinary and me being an adult had a bit to do with that. There were some snooze-worthy moments in this. I even dubbed some of the characters “Exposition Person XX” because they just served to describe what was going on. And there were some moments that I admit were extremely formulaic and if you’ve played any video games or watched Hook, you might know where things were going, but that’s fine. Make no mistake- Ready Player One is a whole lot of fun to watch and it’s really that enjoyment that makes it so good. This was a genuinely enjoyable experience. It’s not just the pop culture references that are fun (Whattup Master Chief!) or the anticipation of literal Easter Eggs that could pop up- but the way the action is shot and the film moves along is one of the smoothest roller coasters I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not only exciting to watch, but purely comprehensible action.
I don’t really understand why this particular factor is so hard to get in lots of big action movies. I had one of the easiest and most enjoyable times watching the big battles in this because I could understand what was going on. I get that with action movies- especially those that the practical effects- there are a lot of variables that aren’t always controllable, but in situations such as Pacific Rim, any of the Fast and the Furious series, and Transformers– these are computer generated images that you could have that smooth control over. Just let me see what’s happening! To go along with that, the CG is smashingly good in this- incredibly vibrant with lots of texture and depth.
Not to mention, the characters and their motives were meaningful. Now, I’m not sure if this is something they got from the book or not (I haven’t read it), but the story has a lot of heart and the characters- particularly Art3mis and Ogden Morrow- have particularly beautiful arcs that drive the sentiment home. (Also- Simon Pegg is so, so, so good in this.)
The heart of the movie is something that takes Ready Player One from just another movie where people can take their kids to an actual kid’s movie. I can see if I went with a little nugget of my own, how much fun this would be- reference points of my childhood + a truly worthy movie for thiers= bonding time. I’m all about bonding time. I wouldn’t be disappointed if Ready Player One became that movie the next generation of adults always talks about- I think it’s incredibly worthy of the title.
PS: I have lots of questions about OASIS’ translation of IRL abilities. Am I supposed to believe everyone knows kung fu in 2045?
PPS: I feel like this movie could have used Michael McElhatton. Just putting it out there.