Movie Review – Ready Player One :

readyplayerone

I remember being a kid and the cinema occasionally creating magical moments that lived with me forever. I loved big fantasy stories, from the space brilliance of ET to the dark and thrilling Young Sherlock Holmes. We seemed to have missed such epics in recent years, so it is only fitting that the father of this generation’s best dream epics should return to deliver another home run. Spielberg is back at the top of his game here, unleashing his imagination in a massive world where anything(and anyone – King Kong! Chucky!) is possible.
When the creator of the Oasis, the MMO universe in which citizens of 2045 spend most of their time, dies, he leaves a game wherein whoever can find the three hidden keys, will take control of his world. Cue the nobodies in the real world striving to become somebodies and keep the Oasis dream alive as well as the big corporation that wants the space and its dollars.
It is ironic that the last trailer for Ready Player One included the classic Pure Imagination as the film feels a lot like Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, both in terms of its innocent naivety and its magical dreamlike sequences. I know some smarks saw the trailer and cried into their webcams “How can Mortal Kombat and Back To The Future live in the same universe? It doesn’t make any sense” Those people will hate Ready Player One and I feel really sorry for them not getting the fantastical tale being told.
Our main heroes are Parcival, the shy and clumsy Wade Watts, who can be himself in this fake world by NOT being himself. He joins up with Art3mis (the excellent Olivia Cooke to go for the prizes and naturally he falls under her spell too. Art3mis is totally adorable and feisty as all hell, both in her Avatar state and in the real world. Yes, we do spend some portion of the movie in the real world, being shown why people have taken to the Oasis, as homes, communities and relationships have broken down – Spielberg lets us look at these problems without beating us over the head with a Social Justice Warrior stick (Hello, Neill Blomkamp!) and so the action is not slowed down or replaced with lecturing. Watching Wade in the real world is interesting in a Ferris Bueller kind of a way and yes, that hero is also mentioned in the film alongside a million others. The best thing about all these icons appearing is that it is not a look-at-the-camera-and-nod-knowingly situation. They are merely there and different viewers will reap different rewards. For example, seeing the bike from Akira or The Iron Giant made me super happy whereas others may not have seen the classic anime or Brad Bird animation.
The story is many layered and you won’t get all of the secrets on a first watch, but unlike many recent movies where your thoughts disappear before the popcorn bucket is empty, Ready Player One has me already looking forward to a second visit to the Oasis and its wonderful world. Essential.

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