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Ready Player One Review

Ready Player OnePosted by Wilson Morales

March 23, 2018

From ‘Tron’ to ‘Resident Evil’ and more recently a reboot of ‘Tomb Raider,’ we’ve seen our share of films based on video games where survival is the endgame, but here comes a film adapted from a novel that centers on a kid playing a virtual reality game to win a bigger prize, while also surviving many obstacles. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One is a pleasurable, fun ride filled with nostalgic references that will bring back the kid in you and make you wish you can stay young like Peter Pan.

Based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, the film stars a bevy of familiar and fresh faces to the screen such as Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Hannah John-Kamen and Mark Rylance.

Set in the year 2045, Earth is in ruins and folks live in wasteland areas. The only thing that keeps them entertained is staying indoors and playing OASIS, a virtual reality game. Seems like everyone addicted to the game, so much that it’s creator James Halliday (Ryland), who died with no heir, decided to give his entire fortune (half a trillion dollars) to the one person who can skillfully decipher the Easter egg code he left in the game. A fortune that can set anyone for life, everyone’s eager to play including young Wade Watts aka Parzival (Sheridan).

With no parents and no human friends around, the game is what makes him happy. With the help of his online friends, who all have codenames like Aech (Lena Waithe) and Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), he has the team to propel him to the top but little does he know that he’s not the only one looking to win the grand prize. His main competitor is Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), the head of Innovative Online Industries (I.O.I.), who raises the stakes dangerously high.

If you were born in the 60’s, 70’s, or 80s and grew up a nerd,  a movie or video game connoisseur, there are so many pop culture references laid out in the film, that you will be mentally playing a game of “name that character, object or music from yesteryear” for days on end. It’s a fun feeling to watch a film and go back to memory lane to things you did as a kid and maybe obsessively. Who could forget when you played on your Atari or Nintendo with no time time to sleep or playing that favorite song repeatedly. References to films like Back To The Future, Stephen King’s The Shining, Child’s Play and Iron Giant are among the standouts along with songs from Van Halen and Michael Jackson.

Although his last kid friendly vehicle, The BFG, stumbled at the box office and didn’t click with audience, at the age of 71, Spielberg still has enough energy and appreciation for the youth that he continues to dazzled them with an entertaining fantasy. It’s just as good as The Adventures of Tintin and Hook.

As far as the actors, Sheridan holds himself well as the lead, and actually has good chemistry with Cooke. In her first big screen role, Lena Waithe (of Netflix’s Master of None) is a riot of fun along with T.J. Miller as Sorrento’s evildoer henchman. Mendelsohn has played the baddie in one more films that you can name and is a bit resigned here compared to some of his previous films. At over two hours, there are moments when the film drags a bit, but there are more eye-popping scenes to offset those boring moments.

With so many apps like Facebook and Instagram and games on today’s cell phones and folks never being away from it for at least a day, Ready Player One shows you, through memory lane, that technology has always been the bane of non-human interaction. It’s a fantasy film where you could go and have an evening’s entertainment.

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