What do you do when there's no where else to go?
Take a trip to the OASIS.
And when the man behind this fascinating virtual world hides an obscene fortune somewhere within the world's biggest technological marvel, it's time to get your game on like ever before.
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Lena Waithe, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen and Philip Zhao
Based on the bestselling novel from Ernest Cline, Ready Player One sees Steven Spielberg transporting viewers to a world on the edge of chaos and collapse. In 2045, people find salvation from their depressing lives within the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday. When the man dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg hidden somewhere in the OASIS.
Sparking a contest that grips the entire world.
Amongst the chaos, we join Wade Watts, a young man known within the confines of the OASIS as Parzival, on the hunt for said fortune. Upon entering the virtual world, viewers are treated to a beautifully crafted landscape crammed full of pop culture references - most from the 1980's.
If you're a pop culture junkie, such as yours truly, this is certain to be the most enjoyable aspect of the film for you. Whether it's Wade engaging in a fast-paced race behind the wheel of Doc Brown's DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future, a gaggle of gamers searching the Overlook Hotel from The Shining, or Parzival charging into battle alongside The Iron Giant, there is just so much to love for those whose forte is popular culture.
However, we will admit that this aspect of the film can be more than a little overwhelming from time to time. There is just so much thrown into this movie that it's almost impossible to take in everything within the first viewing. Granted, these references were something we loved most of all about Ready Player One, but it most certainly won't be for everyone.
Still, even if scoping out Easter eggs isn't your thing, there is plenty to love about the film.
First up, the world where Ready Player One takes place is downright spellbinding to behold on screen. Whether it be the futuristic take on Cleveland, Ohio or the techie land that is the OASIS, Steven Spielberg has crafted something truly wondrous to behold with your eyes. Both settings feel very much like the past works of Steven Spielberg, and there's no doubting that Warner Bros. made the right move bringing the visionary director on to the project. From A.I. Artificial Intelligence to Minority Report, Steven Spielberg has proven that he's more than capable of creating wondrous worlds set within the future - and the world of Ready Player One is no exception.
Then there is the cast. While the feature film version does stray away from a few aspects present in Ernest Cline's original book, we felt the casting behind Ready Player One was very well done. Tye Sheridan feels very much like the Wade Watts of the novel, while Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance perfectly embody the duo of Ogden Morrow and James Halliday.
Olivia Cooke is also a standout addition to the ensemble, sweet and emotional underneath a layer of fiery determination driven by a sense of vengeance following the death of her father. We felt Cooke was the strongest member of the film's cast, and the only character with any true motivation throughout the film beyond those seeking out Halliday's fortune. Her character gave the film a little more depth and expanded the plot beyond a mere treasure hunt...
Something that we really appreciated.
Additionally, we also felt that Lena Waithe, Win Morisaki and Philip Zhao were great supporting cast members whose characters give the film an almost Goonies or Hook type feel.
It's familiar territory that longtime Spielberg fans are sure to like.
Without giving too much more away about the film, we walked away enjoying the experience, if not slightly overwhelmed by all the pop culture references spread throughout. Granted, the feature film version does stray away from certain aspects explored within Ernest Cline's original book and, while this may be somewhat of a problem for purists, we honestly don't feel these exclusions really hurt the finished product that is Steven Spielberg's final film.
The Blu-Ray version of the film also includes a nice selection of special features set to send fans deeper into the visually stunning techie world of the film. Warner Bros. has loaded up the disc with 90-Minutes of bonus material that include interviews with the cast and crew, and even more 80's nostalgia if there just wasn't enough to keep you amused throughout the film.
Ready Player One is an enjoyable and unique experience buoyed by extremely strong visuals, a top notch cast and plenty of pop culture references fans are sure to love! Yes, it's not a spot on adaptation of Cline's original book, but this in no way hurts the final product, nor the level of fun you're sure to experience through the film's 140-Minute runtime.
If you're a pop culture junkie, you'll enjoy Ready Player One.
If you enjoy visually stunning feats of the imagination, you'll enjoy Ready Player One.
In short, if you enjoy movies, you'll enjoy Ready Player One.
Overall: "A visually stunning spectacle that calls to mind the classic cinema of Spielberg."
Ready Player One arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD today!
Special thanks to Tyler Robinson of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Until next time, Infinite Earths fans!
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