Ready Player One (2018) – Steven Spielberg

Spielberg’s film Ready Player One (2018) is a refreshing, visually stunning adventure film, based on the novel by Ernest Cline (who also co-wrote the script for the film, alongside Zak Penn). It is loaded with a vast array of pop culture references and Easter eggs, and whilst I was, prior to seeing the film, concerned that I would miss elements, or find the plot line too busy and chaotic, I found the plot to be cohesive and well explained. The film sees the leading character Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), along with friends he makes through the OASIS, attempt to solve clues to win the creator’s fortune. The creation of the virtual reality world of the Oasis is effective and absorbing, as a depth is created to the setting, which in turn makes it enjoyable to see the characters explore the vast space James Halliday (Mark Rylance) has created.

Throughout the film, the editing was used effectively to move the audience between the United States of 2045 and the world of the OASIS. The crew also worked well to balance the tone throughout the movie, and there were many instances of humour that were effective and paid off. Furthermore, I appreciate the versatility of the script, as there were tonal shifts in the film, and unexpected elements, like horror, that were interwoven nicely into the story line. These scenes worked really well in progressing the story and keeping the narrative dynamic and engaging. Overall the tone of the film was optimistic and I believe that the message the film conveyed was uplifting, despite the fact the film is set in a bleak 2045 rampant with poverty and over population. Thus the film provides resolution and a promising outcome.

The real world dynamics perhaps could have been slightly expanded on, to create more developed characters and build upon the relations between these people. Moreover, the antagonists, the Innovative Online Industries (IOI) organisation, also could have benefited from more screen time, and building the backstory of the company would have emphasised the contrast between their money-oriented, unethical approach, and that of the protagonists. A few instances are alluded to that represent the companies corrupt morals, but a flashback or a more powerful present day instance could have better revealed the absolute necessity that the world of the Oasis not fall into their hands. When it comes to the cast, they too could have been given more screen time to create more emotional performances, but regardless I think that the actors did a good job in building a foundation to the characters that do make the audience invest in their storyline and care about their well-being, but I argue that this is not done to its full potential.

In addition to this there were some expectant plot lines, but personally this did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the film, and I believe the film to be fully aware and embracing of the clichés it adheres to. Ready Player One is a feel good film, and undoubtedly a visual spectacle that is worthwhile seeing at the cinema, purely for the magnificent world of the OASIS that it presents.

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