Ready Player One is Entertaining, But Not Eternal

3 out of 4 stars

Just months after the theatrical release of The Post, Steven Spielberg has another film opening in theaters—Ready Player One.

Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke in Ready Player One

Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke in Ready Player One

The film is an adaptation of the 2011 science-fiction novel by Ernest Cline. However, movie studios were well aware of this novel’s appeal. So much so, that Warner Bros. acquired the rights to the novel a year before it was published.

Ready Player One takes place in 2045, where the world is so desolate most of humanity uses a virtual-reality software known as OASIS, to escape it. This includes Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager who lives in the slums of Ohio, who one day hopes to capture a legendary Easter egg.

The Easter egg was hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday, prior to his death. The player that finds it will be awarded ownership of OASIS and his fortune. Now, the software is filled with “Gunters” (egg hunters). So Wade (with the help of some new friends including Samantha, played by Olivia Cooke) must capture the egg before it falls into the wrong hands.

Ready Player One is an energetic movie-going experience that celebrates both fandom and nostalgia. It really emphasizes the idea of Easter eggs, by loading this film with them. There are so many classic characters and references that it would take at least two or three screenings to catch the majority of them.

That’s one thing positive about Spielberg’s latest film: there are always things going on, things rewarding the viewers for observing the entire world—not just the main characters. Yet, can depending on nostalgia be a crutch? Surprisingly, I felt Spielberg manages to create an entertaining story (inspired by the classic 80s adventure films) that uses references as the topping rather than the cake.

While it has its flaws, Ready Player One gives of us one of the best sequences Spielberg has ever made. It heavily revolves a 1980 film (I’ll leave out the title for spoiler purposes), inserting actual clips from the movie and inserting our main characters into that world. Then, the filmmaker adds his own twist and takes it to the extreme. I’ve simply never seen anything like it.

Now, I did mention flaws, and one of them is the 140-minute runtime. While the movie never quite drags, it gets pretty close, and trimming that extra 20 minutes would make it so much tighter and more effective.

Beyond the runtime, I think the movie just lacks a certain heart that will make it memorable in the long run. While it’s an absolute blast and definitely worth your dollar, I will say my enthusiasm for the film has dwindled as a few days since the screening have passed.

Sure, it offers breathtaking special effects, a sufficient plot, and a ton of references that will have audience members shouting, “That’s so and so from so and so,” but the characters aren’t people that we will remember.

People will remember the OASIS and the references in it, but I feel the story and the main characters will be forgotten in time. In other words, you won’t see Wade Watts or his friends in the Ready Player One that’s made twenty years from now.

Spielberg manages to create something really fun and unique, but for a movie that celebrates never-dying pop culture, it makes a movie that I’m not sure will withstand the ultimate test of time.

Watch our official video review of Ready Player One below:


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