“A leap not taken” – Ready Player One Review

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures
Ready Player One Poster
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures
By The Nerdling

Spoiler Free Review

It is difficult not to compare this movie with its source material, which is one of my favorite books in recent memory.  Especially considering the two really don’t resemble one another and all I want to do it point out what the movie missed in terms of story.  The only element the book Ready Player One and movie Ready Player One seem to have in common is the baseline plot.

James Halliday (Mark Rylance), a genius programmer, dies and leaves an Easter Egg hidden inside his virtual reality creation known as the OASIS.  Whomever finds the Egg will inherit several trillion dollars and the right to control the OASIS.  Since the world is in deep poverty (with the exception of a few) and everything revolves around the this virtual reality world, the player to win the game will essentially be the most powerful person in the world.  Wade Watts (Ty Sheridan), along with several others (Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, and Win Morsaki) known as Gunters (Egg Hunters) and an oppressive corporation, IOI, are competing to find the Egg.

Wade Getting a Key
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

The movie Ready Player One is an entertaining family film for those with tween age children.  Nothing too offensive in the way of cursing (with the exception of an F-bomb) or violence (no more so than a Marvel movie).  A cartoon-like villain (Ben Mendelsohn) and his sidekick (Hannah John-Kamen) who never really come off as threatening.  The moral at the end of it all is dealt with an extremely heavy hand and parents with phone obsessed children might appreciate the message.  The action and visuals are outstanding, truly pushing the envelope of what CGI can do.  To me, this is a 21st Century version of the Goonies.  A group of rag-tag friends hunting for treasure and learning lessons along the way.  Romance ensues, lifelong bonds are formed.

While Ready Player One is an amusing movie to watch, it is hard not to come away disappointed.  The movie is Spielberg at his most Spielbergiest, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.  He went full Spielberg.  All flashy style and no substance.  Plenty of “hey, it’s my favorite thing from my childhood” references to most all pop culture (The Shinning sequence is the best) and the most manipulative of heart string pulls.

Parzival, Iron Giant
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

The book was a dark look at what our future could be.  A friend of mine one described the Earnest Cline novel as Black Mirror-esc.  There are fun elements for gaming, movie, and music nerds like myself, but it never loses sight of comparing the OASIS to a drug.  Wade more than once bemoans his addiction to being inside, but can’t help needing the OASIS.  Plugged in, he feels like a god.

If you are a fan of the book, I would either steer clear of the movie and hope someone else makes a better adaptation in the future.  Or at least go into the theater with VERY LOW expectations.  It you have never heard of the book, have fun, sit back, and enjoy.  Just don’t think of it as a Spielberg movie.  See it more as someone doing an homage to Spielberg.

Ready Player One is currently playing in Cinemas.

The Nerdling was born in the majestic land known as Texas and currently resides there after several years of journeying through Middle Earth in a failed attempt to steal the one Ring from that annoying hobbit, serving the Galactic Empire for a time, and then a short stint as a crew member on the Serenity. Since moving back to her homeland, Nerdling flirted with a hero reputation. Saving children from the dangers of adoring domineering, sparkly vampires (champions with souls are the only vampires worth loving) and teaching normals the value of nerdom, all while rooting for her beloved Dallas Stars. Then came the Sokovia Accords and her short spell of saving others came to an end. With Darth Vader’s reputation rightfully returning to badass status, Nerdling is making her way back to the Empire. They do have cookies, you know. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram