Ready Player One (2018) Movie Review

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Summary: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts / Parzival. He is a Gunter, someone who is searching for the Easter eggs within the Oasis “Egg Hunter= Gunter”. He lives in the stacks of Columbus, Ohio and his real life is kind of meh, so he finds a lot of his relief within in the Oasis. Wade lives and breathes the Oasis, he loves it, he looks up to Halliday and the things he creates and loves. He also loves nostalgic things, particularly from the 80s. Wade is likable and Parzival is cool. We get to see him do some really cool things while in the virtual world. I like Tye Sheridan a lot, I’ve always kept my eye on him and films he’s doing and I think he’s good in the role. He’s likable and I think Wade could easily come off as unlikable or annoying but I think Tye who seems almost “too cool” for the role, manages to still feel like a teenager in this world. He also has some great facial expressions and I like his delivery of dialogue.
Parzival
  • Olivia Cooke as Samantha Cook / Art3mis. She is a famous Gunter who works with various allies to try to keep the OASIS free and out of IOI’s hands. She is enigmatic when we first meet her, she’s cool, she’s obviously been doing this a long time as she’s able to do some really cool things with really cool tools. She has a reason as to why she’s trying to win the contest, in ways, its noble and she has her mind-set on it. Tunnel vision in a way. However, compared to Wade, she has a distinct plan on what she wants. We do meet Samantha and she’s pretty much just as cool as Art3mis, she’s just a bit more self-conscious. She’s smart, quick on her feet and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. I’ve only seen Olivia Cooke in one film, I believe and I like her. She’s a good actress, I think she is emotional and you can feel it. She does a lot with her eyes, which is what I praised I think in my Me and Earl and the Dying Girl review.
Art3misSupporting Characters. We have our supporting characters who are all fun when they’re on screen. I believe at least two of them has either a really cool or really hilarious scene. The other has kind of running joke. I don’t want to really say who they are as if you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t want to ruin the moment where they actually show the real people. But definitely shouting out Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao and Win Morisaki. All likable.
  • Mark Rylance as James Halliday / Anorak. He is the deceased co-creator of the OASIS. He includes an Easter Egg hidden in the OASIS after his passing so that the winner will gain control over the OASIS. He seems to be a smart man, who also loves the 80’s and someone who is socially awkward and a bit…strange anyway. But he seemed like a nice guy. Mark Rylance is always good. I think you can’t help but to like him as Halliday and he manages to make you feel sorry for him as well.
Nostalgia. Unlike the trailers, which I thought threw a lot of nostalgia at you, I think the movie itself breaks it up enough where it doesn’t feel like a giant nostalgia bomb being thrown in your face. Besides, if you have no idea what any of it is, or if it doesn’t mean anything to you, I can’t imagine it being that big a deal to someone. I loved the nostalgia. Just seeing the DeLorean was great. The Iron Giant! There are a few other moments that I don’t want to ruin because either it’s cute or it’s funny.
The Oasis is Dope. So I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how many places on The Oasis they visit, but from what we see, it’s pretty cool. It’s a virtual reality world, where people pretty much do everything. I do believe in the book, school happened virtually, so that would have been cool to see, so that’s missing but that’s fine. I thought watching them travel to different places allowed some exploration which was cool (I feel like I’m using “cool” a lot lol).
The Race. I think that was probably one of my favorite scenes. It’s just this huge death race where you face off against the T-REX from Jurassic Park (I’m assuming), King Kong, and various other dangers. It was so cool, plus watching my favorite car the DELOREAN be used that way, was friggin awesome, I loved it. Plus, watching how King Kong demolished everyone, or how people lost while playing, it was pretty cool. I also loved the scene we see later where Parzival goes backwards.
The Shining sequence. There’s a part where they go into one of Halliday’s favorite movies, and they get to experience parts of the movie which was scary for them but hilarious to watch and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus, it later had this Haunted Mansion feel to it which was an awesome challenge. It was visually awesome, fun and something I would probably crap my pants if it happened to me.
The Visuals. This is a beautiful movie, mostly on the Oasis and I want to see it in IMAX 3D because I bet that’s just a feast for the eyes. I like the design of the characters and how you could really see some of the actor’s expressions and just their face within their character. I also loved the color choices that indicated Parzival and Art3mis. Though the OASIS was virtual, I thought all of the avatars looked pretty real, but still computer generated. I loved the visuals of what would happen when someone won a challenge. I think The Shining sequence had some great visuals.
Cons:
The Villain. So Ben Mendelsohn is the main villain, he’s the head of IOI and he has employed many people to learn and understand Halliday in order to find the Easter Eggs themselves so they could become the sole proprietor of the OASIS. I did not find him scary at all, or even very menacing. I think he would normally be a scary guy, according to a coworker, he is scary in the book, but that definitely does not translate in the movie. He’s comical. I think Ben Mendelsohn could be a great villain but the two times I’ve seen him be a villain it was kind of sad because he just wasn’t. Probably the writing. He was a threat… at one point but meh, wasn’t impressed with him at all.
Character Development. I think everyone lacks character development. In terms of Wade we don’t see him grow or become something else by the end of the movie. He’s a leader, and he stands up for himself but I thought he did that throughout. He’s awkward, he’s smart, and like a teenager, he does stupid stuff. I mean, I want to say there’s a character arc but he really just stays the same. Just maybe more bold? I don’t know, there’s a disconnect. Artemis is the next lead, she’s just mysterious and a bit self-conscious about her appearance (her real world self is) but ultimately a leader and a badass and we learn about why she’s leading a rebellion but we honestly don’t learn anything about the rebellion otherwise. Not really. Then we have Aech, Sho and Daito who are Wade’s online friends. Aech is probably the most important as we spend the most time with him but as they become more prominent in the story, we see them more but know nothing about them. They’re all awesome don’t get me wrong, and I like them but as far as characters go, they’re just there.
Character Motivations. Along with the lack of character development, we don’t get a sense for motivations. Samantha is doing this because of something that happened to her father, but she says it so fast out of anger, that if you blinked, you missed it. We do see her freak out when she comes face to face with where he died, but it’s so fast and unattached that I can’t get behind her “rebellion”. Plus, when she said “Welcome to the Rebellion”, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was being serious because we literally only see her doing anything, in terms of rebellion. There was no big group of people, I mean there were people but they were in the background. Was it really a rebellion or was it just some girl’s quest to avenge her father? Who knows man. Wade wants to win so he can leave the stacks and that’s about it. It becomes more important later but that’s about it. Everyone else, we never really learn their motivations, as far as we know, they want the glory.
Coincidences. These things happen every day, but it can’t always be chalked up to a coincidence because first of all, which is the biggest thing for me… how the heck did the others even know how to find each other? Or find Wade? You can argue that Samantha sent out her SOS but does that mean it pinged them to tell them where she was? Okay, I can dig that, but how did they find each other? I can imagine the Sho and Daito knew each other in real life but how did they find Aech?? Also, I know that lady was evil and crazy but there is no way she lived after how she fell out of that van.
Story Flow. This movie is non stop and it’s fun. I don’t think there is a dull moment in the movie but I do think the movie lacks story flow, or at least a clear line of narrative. I get what’s going on, I understand what’s happening, or what it’s trying to accomplish, but I think it gets so focused on the spectacle that the story gets muddled in all of the movement. You know what it’s trying to be, or at least trying to do but I think the movie loses sight of that by trying to make it be familiar but at the same time be different.
Overall, I really enjoyed Ready Player One, I haven’t read the book yet so I’m not comparing it all, but I had fun. It’s visually stunning when the OASIS is on screen. The cast is fine, the acting is good and I thought Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke had really good chemistry and played off each other very well. I loved the nostalgia that’s in the movie, I don’t think it was abused or thrown at you in an annoying way, it was used in an exciting way. I liked the soundtrack of the film, it was used in a way that felt familiar and new at the same time. I loved a lot of the challenge sequences in the film, particularly the Race and the The Shining sequence. They were fun and got me completely amped up into the action and adventure of the film. The OASIS is dope and someone needs to get on that lol. On the other hand, I think the movie lacks character development and motivation. It’s hard to connect to any of them without truly understanding them, or watching them evolve throughout the movie. No one in this movie does that. The villain is lack luster and comical when he should be menacing. There are some crazy coincidences that happen that I can’t ignore and I think the narrative isn’t strong nor does the story flow as well as it should. It’s a really fun movie and I think a casual movie goer or someone who likes fun action/adventure AND who loves to remember the past, will enjoy it.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Ready Player One? Did you enjoy it?
What bit of nostalgia from the movie was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more movie reviews!
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