Film review: Ready Player One

By Anya Lai

The Blue and Gold (Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan)

RATING

3.0 Overall Score

Based on the book written by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One,” directed by Steven Spielberg, captures the hyper-realistic, virtual reality video game, called the OASIS, in which people log into to avoid real world problems such as energy shortages and unemployment.

The movie starts off with a scene of “the stacks,” a vertical pile of trailers that houses impoverished residents of Columbus, Ohio in 2045.  The introduction of the OASIS is made through the eyes of Wade Watts, the protagonist.

In both the movie and book, founder of the OASIS, James Halliday’s death leaves the players with a mission: to find an Easter egg that will ensure control over OASIS and inherit Halliday’s fortune.  In order to obtain this egg, players must find three keys, each paired with a puzzle or clue to unlock the three gates. Wade—playing as his avatar, Parzival, befriends Aech, Daito, and Shoto, and develops a cyber crush on Art3mis. Together, the 5 of them seek to find all three keys before the sixers, employees of the IOI, does. IOI is a company lead by Sorrento, who encourages OASIS fans to run up debts and thereby forcing them into indentured servitude in the real world.

The theme of nostalgia is evident in the movie.  Constant references to 80’s pop culture and investigation in Halliday’s past leads to Wade realizing that reality is incomparable to the OASIS, and it is time for people to face the real world—a world of poverty, wars, and environmental crises.

Although the movie was exceptional with dramatizing the difference in reality and the virtual world described by the book, it lacks key events from the book. These key differences may disappoint audience members who read the book first. Despite this, “Ready Player One” is still a must-watch because of its detailed animation and its nostalgic, fantasy-like storyline.

 

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