Video Games have been part of the modern world for quite some time now. While back in my day (this makes me sound ancient), I played the pixellated version of Pokémon and Super Mario, these days Video Games are very realistic. Cue the rise of virtual reality and the premise of Ready Player One, Stephen Spielberg’s latest film, doesn’t feel so far-fetched any more. Based on the book of the same name by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One takes us to a dystopian future where people escape the real world and hide in the OASIS. It’s a world where anyone can be anything they want. Considering the real world is pretty much going to pot, it is not that much of a stretch to believe we will all prefer the virtual world over the real one, one day. However, the question is; Is Ready Player One a good film or should you skip it?
In the year 2045, people can escape their harsh reality in the OASIS, an immersive virtual world where you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination. OASIS creator James Halliday left his immense fortune and control of the Oasis to the winner of a contest designed to find a worthy heir. When unlikely hero Wade Watts conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-known as the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.
Spielberg does a great job showing an impoverished real world and a fantastic virtual world. The OASIS, in all of its splendour, looks like a great place to spend time. The OASIS has endless possibilities. It is exactly what makes this film entertaining to watch. Our main character Wade is probably an anti-hero in every sense of the way. Yet in the OASIS, where the walls are broken down, he can be a hero. Having said that, the graphics and imagery are glorious. Surely, it is a lot to take in. However, it also kept the film interesting to watch. I’m certain you could watch it multiple times and keep discovering something new.
Ready Player One looks fantastic, however the characters feel a little bit flat at times. That doesn’t mean they were any less entertaining. Okay, we should forget about the fact that Wade meets a beautiful avatar with whom he falls in love with. When they meet in real life, it turns out she is super pretty there as well. But hey, she has a birth mark, and that is a huge deal to overcome, right? Yeah right. I have to say I preferred the supporting characters. Nolan Sorrento, head of the villainous organisation IOI, is a delicious bad guy who is actually pretty much a wuss. Aech, Wade’s virtual best friend who looks like a total bad-ass, turns out to be a hilarious black woman. It’s characters like that that truly make the film entertaining to watch.
Pop Culture References
The best thing about Ready Player One is that it is filled with references to pop culture. Whether it is old games like Adventure to modern games like Overwatch, young and old can find something they recognise. There is an entire scene dedicated to Stephen King’s The Shining. It is incredibly fun to watch this film and realise you know more about pop culture than you thought before. I do believe the book had slightly different references. I do understand that Spielberg wanted to make these references more recognisable. And let’s be honest, The Shining will never not be an important pop culture moment.
Ready Player One: Conclusion
Ready Player One is an entertaining watch for those who adore pop culture and video games. The message might be a bit obvious; we should spend more time in the real world than in virtual worlds, but that doesn’t take away that this film is excellent entertainment.