‘Ready Player One’ Review – Immersive, Fun Romp Through A World Of Nostalgia
An immersive and fun romp through the intertextual world of nostalgia. Comedy, fantasy and action combined cleverly to immerse the audience in their own ‘oasis’ of joy. Thank you ‘Ready Player One’.
As a passionate filmgoer, I have occasionally found myself mislead by the ‘early reviews are in’ trick that you can sometimes find online. I have even stopped myself seeing films before because of a quote I had found online or some twitter traffic. ‘Ready Player One’ had picked up a little of this and I was immediately hesitant on my journey to the premiere earlier this week. I now realise that I have to now take each of those with a pinch of salt because I can honestly say that this film was a refreshing and exciting Spielberg film that threw away the safety blanket of a franchise or Hollywood star and created an immersive masterpiece that I hope can become the E.T. of 2018.
Based on the 2011 book by Ernest Cline, I am reliably told that this was going to be a tough adaptation! The story follows teenager Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) living in America in 2045 where the dystopian reality of life has pushed people to spend their time in the OASIS, a virtual reality software programme. As Wade narrates some of the contexts behind the OASIS, he starts to discover more about a hidden game that creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) embedded into the software. As the story develops into a highly slick, comedic and exciting cat-and-mouse game involving archetypal rich villain Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) and an ensemble of some fantastically rounded and believable characters including Sam (Olivia Cooke), Helen (Lena Waithe) and i-Rok (TJ Miller).
The film swept me away, I found myself highly engaged in the (potentially) complex plot set-up, but Spielberg’s way of getting Sheridan to deliver exposition was done subtly and confidently for the audience. The line-up of Spielberg’s intertextual references to the 80’s and beyond are sometimes explicit (‘Alien’) and hilariously played (‘Iron Giant’, ‘Chucky’) or hidden and definitely there for the passionate fans (‘Street Fighter’). Spielberg, through Cline’s book, has helped developed a future world that is almost possible and ultimately a dystopian projection of what may be. The sound, editing and CGI is just excellent – I, at first, struggled with the design of Artemis and Parzival (Sam and Wade) in the game, but soon I was more appreciative of the idea of creating your own image. Mendelsohn’s virtual self-made me think too much about Thanos in the forthcoming Avengers and I hope you see the visual likeness too.
I could sit here are write so much more, about the references, the moral over-arching message, the brilliance of Sheridan (who matches the power and gravitas of any big A-List star who takes the lead in Blockbusters) and the humour that genuinely carries this film as one of the best Spielberg’s for such a long time. I cannot recommend this film more, and I guarantee that the passionates amongst you will find yourself in an internet black hole afterwards – trying to match up all your ‘Easter Egg’ moments! Here goes Geektown readers… I am just giving you my first 5 STAR review!
P.S. Being in the same room as Spielberg, Mendelsohn and Sheridan has had no impact on my review 😉
‘Ready Player One’ comes to UK cinemas from the 29th March 2018
Like this review? Disagree? Send your thoughts to Gray on Twitter @graythegeek
Gray has been teaching Media and Film studies for 11 years now, and saturates himself in a world of TV and Film. Can most regularly be found with his iPad bingeing on a TV series whenever there is a spare moment between planning and marking. Gray has 3 years of writing experience for exam boards and educational resource companies too.