Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018)

Wade Watts’ avatar “Parzival” stepping into a DeLorean with his name on the license plate as he gets ready for a race. (Credit: Warner Bros. / Amblin Entertainment)

By: Dominic Palosz ’18

        From legendary movie director Steven Spielberg comes yet another masterpiece in the form of Ready Player One, an epic pop culture-filled film about the hunt for an elusive Easter Egg within a video game that would grant its finder fortune beyond their wildest dreams.

The movie is an adaptation of the 2011 debut LitRPG (Literature Role-Playing Game) novel of the same name by Ernest Cline.

While the movie does deviate from the book at times, they both manage to hit the same keys to keep the story moving along.

        The movie follows the story of Wade “Parzival” Watts (Tye Sheridan) and his friends within and outside of a virtual world called the OASIS, a virtual reality game with absolutely no limits. OASIS founder, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), dies and reveals that he has hidden within the game that would grant complete control of the OASIS and half a trillion dollars. Besides nearly the entire population also hunting down the hidden Easter Egg, an evil corporation called IOI, or Innovative Online Industries, is forcing people to help them in their sinister plot to take over the OASIS and monetize it for their own profit. At the forefront of IOI is Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), who wants to monetize and ultimately destroy the OASIS in order to avenge his sister’s death and force people to face the self-destructive dystopian world they live in.

        Having worked closely with the original author closely with Zak Penn, an award winning screenwriter, and Steven Spielberg, the script for the movie was excellent and along with no hiccups and was incredibly smooth and engaging from beginning to end. With excellent performances by the actors, the movie was truly able to convey a plausible world which viewers can become attached to.

The main concern many people felt from watching trailers leading up to the movie was that the film would be just a cash-grab and be running off nostalgia through all of its references to pop culture, 80s and current. However, this concern is quickly dispelled as every single reference not only does not harm the movie in any way, but actually improves the movie quite a bit.

From subtle hints like the Mach 5 from Speed Racer to battlefield titans like Iron Giant, the references are what fueled the movie and made it much more entertaining to watch. Nearly anyone can recognize the DeLorean from Back to the Future, King Kong, or the house from The Shining, but to see them all utilized in the movie through such simple mechanics is breathtaking and incredibly satisfying to witness.

Had the film opted to run with generic robots or generic sports cars, the movie would be above average at best, but seeing Jurassic Park’s T-Rex chewing up the race-track and Master Chief from Halo fighting alongside the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had audiences hooked from nostalgia having a new face.

Ready Player One overall is a blast from the past with a brand new coat of paint. It presents something new while having something old being its foundation. For regular movie-buffs, the film felt like a crock-pot of everything good and for gamers it felt like the most wondrous gaming experience that could someday come to be.

From both perspectives, I experienced awe and hope for the future of gaming and films alike to continue to produce more and more content that will be remembered by audiences. Ready Player One was the perfect summary of everything audiences loved all in one place with an incredible story of bravery and self-transformation.

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