Ready Player One – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Ready Player One – 3.5/5 – Film adaptation always have heightened reactions.  When you adapt any material to film (book, comics, shorts, etc.), you always have that comparison to the original source.  No matter what’s lost in translation, an adaptation should be judged on its own merits.  Ready Player One is a film adaptation of an acclaimed novel.  Through the spirit of the story, it takes you on an adventure that is filled with spectacles at an infinite degree.  Even with basic story elements and characters, Ready Player One is a fun journey that will have you feeling the innocence of being a kid once more.

Premise: When the creator of The Oasis releases an Easter Egg into the world, one boy will must journey to find himself and save what he loves.

In the lead role of Wade is Tye Sheridan.  Sheridan does a decent job creating a character that commands the screen in the real and virtual reality world.  A mixture of flaws and genuine appeal, Wade is a youngster who embodies the common ‘heroic’ trope.  With some relatable traits, the audience lives this dystopian world through his eyes.  Outside of some cliché ‘emotional’ relationship developments, Sheridan is serviceable throughout the film’s journey.  For the rest of the cast, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  The secondary cast are basic archetypes that you find in any stylistic adventure film.  From the love interest Samantha (Olivia Cooke), to the sidekick Aech (Lena Waithe) and antagonist Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), they are all based on standard fantasy archetypes.  What makes them slightly standout is the actors/actresses’ ability to push forward with oddities and personal quips to create colorful characters.  This allows you to see the world of The Oasis in an organic way.

With this film, you have a director in Spielberg that knows how to adapt this kind of source material.  Through his vision, he gives a delicate balance of mastery and direction by blending creativity, sensibility, excitement and fun in a straight-forward adventure film.  Everything on the surface is the basic outline of the ‘quest to save the world,’ but with intuitive source material, Spielberg modernizes the tale with a focal point on that journey.  The parallels of realism and fantasy merge within an adapted dystopian setting.  In the prologue and first act, you are introduced to the world through visuals and general exposition.  It is the year 2045, where people escape the confines of the real world (including Wade) through the virtual reality space known as The Oasis.  Moving quickly through some convenient storytelling tropes, the plot centralizes on a linear ‘quest’ style plotline.  The second act revolves around this quest, where the people of The Oasis must find three keys to gain access to the creator’s Easter Egg (MacGuffin).  The bulk of the second act is placed between thinly developed characters, their motives and the overall ‘journey’.  You get a sense that the driving factor is the source material, but it can’t complete scrub the flaws of the basic adventure outline.  This causes a revelation of terrible subplots, generic dialogue and melodramatic moments.  Even when the film gets bogged down by unneeded subplots, Spielberg streamlines the focus on Wade’s journey in The Oasis.  Commonly known as ‘style over substance’, the enjoyment of the escape is able to create a fun ride where this cyberspace juxtaposes the character’s reality.  This causes great endearment of characterization, creating a blur of what Wade feels is real within both worlds.  This allure sheds light on some of the underline ‘good vs. evil’ overtones, creating a sense of wonderment, innocence and frailty of human desire.  Through some amazing sequences and unpredictable interactions, the aura of the adventure takes center stage to create a purpose for the journey.  Once in the final act, all of it becomes a mixture of action, visual prowess and nostalgia overload.  Even with some obvious call backs and ‘hero triumph’ motifs, you enjoy the excitement of seeing random characters/pieces that show up in the final battle.  Once in the climax, the film contrasts the large-scale battles with tales of endearment, gravitating the audience towards a characterized personal touch.  The epilogue brings the film through an ‘ever after’ like closure, but it ends with a cautionary reflection of the world.  Here, the subtlety is what makes this a Spielberg film.

The cinematography is contrasting of stylistic escapism with ominous realism.  With the film going between the real world and The Oasis, there is texturing that creates raw separation for believability.  The visuals of the real world are grainy and dreary, provoking a typical dystopian world.  This creates great distinction with The Oasis, where you escape to a place of fantastical elements that provoke creativity, color and strong imagination.  The score is a complimentary soundtrack of 80s music.  The music is a basic trail of nostalgia and life.

Ready Player One might not be a complete reflection of the source material, but the spirit is felt throughout the adaptation.  From the fun adventure feeling to the nostalgic appeal, there is something for everyone.  If you’re a fan of adventure films and Spielberg, this is one for you.  I say it is worth going to theaters and seeing it on the big screen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *