Why Ready Player One Is A Classic And Contemporary Jewel

Ready Player One is centered in a virtual universe called the Oasis, created by an eccentric genius named James Halladay. When he dies, Halladay sets up an Easter egg hunt the winner of which will inherit the creators fortune and the Oasis itself. Inside this three-dimensional virtual domain, users can live out their wildest dreams on a limitless number of themed worlds, with avatars, vehicles, and abilities beyond the known realm.  

READY PLAYER ONE Final Trailer (2018)

Final Trailer for Ready Player One

The year is 2045 in Columbus, Ohio is the fastest growing city in the world thanks to the billions of people using the proprietary technology thats exclusively licensed to the company that created it.

Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, Philip Zhao and Mark Rylance, Ready Player One proves once and for all that Spielberg can still make a big time, blockbuster science fiction movie that contemporary audiences and old-school fans alike can enjoy.

There is an untold number of fans modern day directors who credit Spielberg as the muse of their craft. 

Science fiction film directors and aficionados like James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith and Steven Soderberg are but a handful of the dozens of directors working in the film today who credit Steven Spielberg as their primary inspirations.

The Netflix series Stranger Things is basically a serialized homage to all things Spielberg.

But Ready Player One, though filled with tidbits and winks to at least 20 movies, films, and toy brands, is ultimate 80s homage with both feet planted in the future. It is classic but contemporary. A rare feat.

The film has one foot in the digital realm, and one foot in the real world, with life and death consequences in both. During the depressed times in which the film is set, people spend most of their time in the virtual world.  Not only can individuals do whatever they want, but they can also be whoever and whatever they want.

The protagonist, played by Sheridan, is Wade Watts aka Parzival. His mother and father are deceased, and he lives his dull, hopeless life in The Stacks with his aunt and her deadbeat boyfriend. Consisting of trailer homes stacked on top of one another on metal girders, The Stacks are basically a junkyard.

He is set up as the ultimate everyman in a world of social upheaval, energy shortages, and economic upheaval.

But, in the Oasis, things are much different for Watts under his Parzival online moniker. In the Oasis, Parzival has a loyal group of friends who he can rely on, drives the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and is an expert of on all things James Halladay, whose memories have been placed in a virtual library.

For individuals of a certain age, each of the pop culture references that are on the big screen scream in unison, validating every E.T. movie, every Star Wars action figure, and every Cabbage Patch kid that we ever laid our eyes on.

But, of course, you cant make a whole movie off of pop culture references, so the story was absolutely necessary.  However, to be perfectly honest, I could have just stared at the bright and shiny things for two hours. And there were just so many bright, shiny things. Oh, so many!

No one packs scenes with so much information, or elaborate action set pieces with so much energy while ensuring that you always know whats going on and why.

UNCUT ‘Ready Player One’ Interview | Rotten Tomatoes

Director Steven Spielberg and stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, and Hannah John-Kamen talk about which Spielberg film would make the best virtual experience, the connections between ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Ready Player One’, and what it takes to bring virtual characters to life.

Ready Player One is adapted from the Ernest Cline novel of the same name, but there are slight differences between the book and film. For example, in the novel, The Stacks are in Oklahoma City, not Columbus, Ohio.

Parzivals virtual reality persona is an alien humanoid with blue skin and a haircut that looks as if were created by someone in 2045 who was going for that 80s look.

His best friend is Aech, played by writer/director Lena Waithe.  Since this is a spoiler-free review, Ill go light on any details. However, I will say that Waithes character, a giant cyborg, was the strongest player in the OASIS, and I was curious as to why Aech would even ally herself with Parzival.

Early in the film, Parzival comes across Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), one of the best players in the entire Oasis world.  For reasons that would reveal too much of the movie, Parzival is infatuated with her.

Unheeding to Aechs advice about Art3mis potential for trouble, Parzival goes all in when he finds out that she is actually an activist looking to take down the multinational corporation Innovative Online Industries. IOI is taking the Easter egg hunt to the next level, having fielded an army of professional gunters called Sixers.

The Sixers job is to win the game at all cost, thus securing IOIs position as a corporate world leader.

Art3mis drives Wades desire to change the world for the better, but there are those who would rather see the 1 percent become that much richer at the expense of the people.

According to the rules, anyone who can complete three challenges within the game.

Ben Mendelsohn plays Nolan Sorrento, a rat-bastard of a powerful executive who will stop at nothing to win.

The formula of a shadowy government or corporate agency’s nefarious agenda is one that is often used in science fiction, but thats not a knock at all. Easily discerning the good guys versus the bad guys makes an otherwise dense story easier to follow.

 Additionally, a storyline in which the people tired of allowing others to clumsily lord over them without vote or consequences is indeed apropos. Considering the current times of tumult in the United States, a dystopian future in which these events are of historic record, and in which the people are simply sick of the bullsh*t, does require much suspension of disbelief at all.

An enjoyable film, for a myriad of ages, tastes and personalities, Ready Player One’s only knock is it didn’t come out in the summer.

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