Set in a questionably dystopian 2045 Columbus is now one of the biggest cities in the United States. A world in which everyone seems to be less comfortable living in, compared with that of the virtual world, also known as the ‘OASIS’. A virtual ‘utopia’ in which you can be anyone, anything, go anywhere and do anything… you get the gist (Runescape come World of Warcraft come any other RPG gaming experience you can think of, only in VR format). Developed by ‘Halliday’ (Mark Rylance), the OASIS has a very simple overall objective; find the 3 keys to gain total control of the OASIS. An objective that quickly becomes the central plot line which the movie follows.
Now having got the general plot structure out the way, lets get onto the more important topic; easter eggs. This movie is full of them. Spielberg regularly harks back to his fabulous portfolio, not only that but to popular culture in general. This is such an integral, underlying element to the movie, and is indeed a microcosm of society in general. Having that cultural knowledge, being the genuinely knowledgable fan of popular culture and what is stands for is your tool to wining the game. There are no cheats, no falsities and no rear exits (or maybe there are (for those who have seen it)). Bringing that back to our very own society, may that be wearing a band T-shirt that you cannot name a single song from or even buying tickets to a gig that you have no intention of going to see; you will always be ‘found out’ as it were.
Moving on from a philosophical stand point, it has to be said that the cinematography, editing and pacing throughout was brilliant. It genuinely worked, the movement between the VR and reality seemed both natural and fluent with no clunkiness in-sight. It truly is a visual feast for the eyes, most noticeably when you are actually ‘in’ the game as it were. There is so much to see and everything happens so very fast, maybe just a tad too fast at times. This can be taken either way, however one thing is for sure; it requires more than one viewing to get a true feel for the world that Steven and the writers envisioned. If not to return for that then return for the incredible soundtrack, starting of with Van Halen before jumping (pardon the pun) into the likes of A-Ha and The Bee Gees, foot-stompingly good. What is more is that the pulsating score that accompanied the movie at times was incredibly necessary, as pumping out hit after hit as a soundtrack would simply not have worked.
The characterisation was truly mesmerising, with notable performances coming from the amazing Mark Rylance playing the creator; Halliday. A very soft, gentle and un-intrusive performance which really stood out amongst the crowd. Not to mention main man Tye Sheridan, who’s performance was his best to date without question, really coming into his own and flourishing under the wing of Spielberg. Like Ansel Elgort in ‘Baby Driver’, and indeed Miles Teller in ‘Whiplash’; this is the performance which will propel him to stardom.
There are some really poignant messages to take away from Ready Player One, messages that resonate now more than ever. Steven really tried to give something to the audience that they could take away with them, as opposed to 2 hours of mindless CGI. Most noticeably to live in the present, because after all is said and done; reality is real so live in it rather than being glued to a screen or a pair of VR goggles. 8/10