Ready Player One is based off of the novel by Ernest Cline who also co wrote the film adaptation and is directed by Steven Spielberg and is set in 2045 where Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan also from X-Men Apocalypse) lives in the Stacks of Columbus Ohio where people escape to the Oasis which was created by James Halliday (Mark Rylance from Dunkirk) who has passed away and left 3 keys that could lead to his vast fortune so the race is on to find the clues and Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) head of the IOI corporation is hot on their trail.
Ready Player One is a bit of a mixed bag as a movie but there are a fair few positives and first off is the visual spectacle within the Oasis the action sequences it generates and the various quests and hunts the avatar characters go on is a real treat and it reminds you as did Tintin in 2011 that Spielberg is the man that made Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark 2 huge favourites of mine as the camera runs along and swoops up high and is very fluid as if it was a rubbery substance that could be stretched to any angle or degree in his hands.
The film also has a great musical score by Alan Silvestri and throughout there are numerous nods to his work on Back to the Future and the overall sound design is quite good.
But where this film does fall over is in its screenplay and by that I mean that it feels very hollow sure the stuff in the Oasis is great but there is a lot of great material to be mined here about the nature of the virtual world and how sometimes the real one can be as much if not more thrilling about how corporate greed takes gamers for granted about how lonely people have it in them to make something great for the world and the sometimes dark side that geek culture can have and while watching much like how I felt about Red Sparrow I kept thinking of Paul Verhoeven.
And not just of him but also of the kind of film he would’ve made with this material I mean you only have to look at his work on Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers all of them highlights of the science fiction genre the third of which isn’t as good but still has that same satirical bite and edge to it that the other 2 do and I suppose you could chalk that up to me wanting him to make another big studio film again even though the kind of films he made back then rarely get made now.
Lastly the performances are all over the place, Sheridan does what he can but he just felt like a fill in for Shia LaBeouf who Steven seemed to mentor some time back, Mendelsohn tries with every inch of his will to do something with his character and succeeds somewhat, Olivia Cooke was good as Artemis and Rylance was good even if he was made to look a little bit like the late Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka while Simon Pegg was wasted and TJ Miller did very very little in the film.
And so that was Ready Player One and it’s a mixed bag from me some good stuff but it needed some more substance to its script, 2.5 out of 5.