Steven Spielberg returns to the science fiction genre in this visually stunning and engrossing new movie based on the 2011 novel of the same name. Starring Tye Sheridan (X-Men Apocalypse) and Olivia Cooke (Thoroughbreds), the movie follows Wade Watts, a bored youth living in the fastest growing city of Columbus, Ohio in 2044.

Spielberg’s expert filmmaking and cinematography do well to impress as the audience is shown the digital lives of people living in this dystopian future. Most everyone introduced in the movie is connected to an online gaming system called the Oasis. Equipped with a virtual reality headset and gloves, people spend most of their time indoors and even outdoors on this immersive virtual reality platform.

The Oasis is more than a game. It’s an entire digital universe where people can escape the mundane rhythms of real life and experience whatever world they desire through an avatar of their making.

With strong performances and a competent enough plot, Ready Player One speaks to a possible digital future not too far off. The story is adapted from a Young Adult novel so the action and dynamic of the relationships between characters is geared for that demographic, but there are myriad numbers of avatar characters that call back to 80’s and 90’s pop culture movie icons. Everything from the Iron Giant, and King Kong, to old Atari games and Buckaroo Bonzai are referenced.

The film does an excellent job of portraying how the digital world is so enveloping that we forget about the real world and this functions as a kind of social commentary. For all of the hi-jinks and adventures the characters take part in (namely, rescuing the video game community from corporate overlords), the message of the film definitely manages to prioritize real relationships over digital ones.

Wade Watts and his misfit crew of fellow gamers embark on an Easter egg journey, built within the game by its creator. The idea behind the hunt is that whoever finds the egg takes ownership of the gaming universe. As they race against the corporate evil of Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) for control and supremacy of the digital world, the visual world created is stunning and worth revisiting all the old popular culture references.

For a fun, entertaining adventure with a hint of social commentary, Ready Player One is a success.

 

Article Written By Nick Murillo
eParisExtra.com Movie Reviewer

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