After a string of political dramas and biopics, Steven Spielberg returns to the blockbuster genre, this time with an adaptation of Ernest Cline’s best-seller of the same name. As usual, Spielberg delivers endless amounts of eye candy, elaborate setpieces, and instills the film with a sense of lighthearted optimism. Couple this with the treasure-hunting storyline, and it’s increasingly tempting to think of Ready Player One as an Indiana Jones with video games in lieu of religious artifacts. Unfortunately, though, that would be giving Ready Player One far too much credit.
While technically a film, Ready Player One comes across as a collage of indulgent references clumsily stitched together by a convoluted narrative. Not that Ready Player One doesn’t have its redeeming qualities, with a wonderfully detailed and visually dazzling universe that was near salivating to watch. However, the film’s eye catching style can’t overpower it’s nonsensical substance. The asinine storyline aside, the unending plethora of references and homages reek of desperation, and even if the filmmakers are being entirely sincere with their allusions, that doesn’t stop the fact that they’re tortuously misguided(particularly a gratuitous homage to Stanley Kubrick). Not helped is the fact that the film is lead by a painfully dull protagonist with an equally dull performance by Tye Sheridan. Sadly, there are solid, even engaging performances to be found in Ready Player One, but most of them are wasted on characters who are either poorly written or underdeveloped.
Lastly, the film centers around a moral(wouldn’t be a Spielberg pic if it didn’t) about how people need to detach themselves from video games and focus on reality. This would be an endearing message if the entire film wasn’t a total and complete glorification of video game culture, but I digress.
That’s not to say that Ready Player One is terrible. It’s not even Spielberg’s worst picture, but it was a bloated mess that tested my patience. While the first third is serviceable, if not entertaining, Ready Player One takes a steep decline into 8-bit monotony. 2/5
Written by : Gabe Theis
The most compelling parts of this film for me were the incredibly detailed visuals. It is often hard for films to balance two worlds; while the differences between the Oasis and the real world are vast, there are subtle similarities between the two. The color scheme and an overall futuristic theme are apparent similarities as characters bounced between worlds. The original avatars in this film are well designed and do a good job of resembling the characters but not in a painfully obvious way. A video game themed film wouldn’t be complete with references to popular games, while I was left confused with the inner workings of the planet it was nice to see both characters and references to video games throughout the years.
I applaud the movie for its textbook example of a quick and informative opening. From the snarky voice-over provided by the main character to the continuous shot showcasing the maze that is his trailer park, as a viewer I was immediately enticed and ready for the rest of the story. Being that this film is an adaptation I wasn’t fazed by the runtime being over two hours but as the film progressed I could not help but think that the story was lacking at certain points. So much so that I even powered my phone on to check the time. Fortunately, the actors were able to hold their own throughout the film. Tye Sheridan’s role as the leading man fell short for me, in a world with so many characters you would think the main character would be the most compelling, sadly that was not the case. The supporting roles did their part but aside from a few recognizable faces there wasn’t a notable performance.
I would give this film a faint 3. It was not so horrible that I would recommend skipping it but Spielberg’s directing and visuals are enough to keep you entertained despite the odd pacing of the film. If you’re up for an action packed sci-fi with tons of nostalgic video game references check out Ready Player One.
Written by: Ahmad Wilson