Blockbuster films have lost their appeal over the years. While we used to get ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘WarGames’, we are now subjected to ‘Transformers’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’. When ‘Ready Player One’ was announced, it looked like it was going to be “References: The Movie”. While it undoubtedly is full of more easter eggs than any film ever, it’s so much more than that. I should know by now to never doubt Steven Spielberg.
In 2045 the world is a bit of a bummer and we follow Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who escapes it all by entering the OASIS, a virtual reality world where most of humanity spend their lives. Hidden within the OASIS is a challenge from the world’s late creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Wade soon finds himself thrust into the challenge and within a race in the OASIS, as well running from real life dangers. As far as blockbuster plots go, it’s rather formulaic, but a stupendously immersive world, top notch acting and pop culture references that are more clever than just in there for the sake of it, propel the film to absolute greatness.
‘Ready Player One’ manages to keep everyone entertained and as enthralled as the players in the film.
The world of OASIS is arguably one of the greatest ever crafted for the big screen. Whether you grew up in the 90’s playing video games or are only just starting to watch films themselves, there is something for everyone in the world. It could’ve been so easy for this film to alienate people who aren’t fond of video games or haven’t seen every pop culture film of the last few decades, and while there are some jokes aimed solely at that demographic, ‘Ready Player One’ manages to keep everyone entertained and as enthralled as the players in the film. The race that happens early was the moment I realised this film was going to be something special. Easter eggs galore, visuals effects that matched the chaos happening and, most importantly, a whole lot of fun. That’s something blockbusters seem to have forgotten to do in recent years. They seem too preoccupied explaining every single detail in rooms with computers and just making things go bang to show off their budget. ‘Ready Player One’ does make things go bang, but it always feels earned and it’s also not afraid to have moments that aren’t full of explosions. Despite a 140 minute run time, which could put some people off as too long, the fact it’s not a “bang, bang, crash, crash” fest means the film never feels like it’s dragging.
…it’s a film that restores your faith in big budget films.
The cast list may have a few big hitters and Spielberg returners, but Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke shine, mainly when playing their avatars Parzival and Art3mis. Their chemistry is instantly charming and they carry all the scenes they lead. It’s somewhat odd it’s not as natural in the real world between the two, but it doesn’t derail the film in anyway. Ben Mendelsohn turns up as another villain and, as usual, is great. Sorrento is a rather subdued villain at times, spending more time processing his plan rather than causing havoc. It’s a welcome change that the villain doesn’t just want to destroy everything because he’s really evil. It actually could be seen as a take on how businesses are ruining modern gaming at times, i.e. by taking control and wanting to fully oversee everything instead of allowing the product to just be enjoyed. The film is full of other interesting characters, but a lot of development is left in the editing room which is a slight shame. But, with the film already clocking in at 140 minutes, it’s understandable that’s secondary characters would lose out.
‘Ready Player One’ does not disappoint. It is full of an insane amount of easter eggs that will only put a smile on your face. It also has arguably the best scene you’ll see in a cinema all year (No spoilers here, but you’ll know it when you see it). Most importantly, it’s a film that restores your faith in big budget films. It doesn’t attempt to set up any future films or only appeal to half of the audience, it’s a film for everyone, regardless of gender or age. Put simply, it’s the best blockbuster film for years.