Review: Ready Player One

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline

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Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Letitia Wright, Tye Sheridan, Lena Waithe, Mark Rylance

Release Date: 30th March

Based on the eponymous novel by Ernest Cline and set in the year 2045, Ready Player One is a film depicting how humans and virtual reality will plausibly interact in the near future.

It starts off with the introduction of a nerdy, seemingly underprivileged Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), jumping from one campervan to the next in a neighbourhood in Columbus, Ohio, straight out of a dystopian novel. Sliding under a pile of trashed cars to his ‘cave,’ we watch as he plugs into a VR system which takes him into OASIS, a virtual world created by James Halliday (Mark Rylance) where “literally anything can happen.”

“One can tell it is a Spielberg movie quite early on.”

This seems to be the daily routine of most of the global population, who escape from the bleak, post-drought-and-bandwidth-war real world to be their created selves in OASIS. We see this world through sequences of sensory-overload-inducing scenes aiming for a nostalgic outlook to the 1980s with numerous pop culture references. Gandalf, King Kong, and Jurassic Park’s T-Rex are just some examples of the nods this film makes while scenes from Kubrick’s The Shining and zombies also feature, hinting at a future world still holding on to the past.

Halliday puts up a challenge: whosoever discovers the three keys hidden in the OASIS gets to inherit a fortune of nearly half a trillion dollars alongside global fame. This brings into picture the Innovative Online Industries, better known as the IOI, with huge facilities and staff dedicated to the cause of winning the challenge, headed by the villainous megalomaniac Nolan Sorranto (Mendelsohn).

“The movie makes for a dynamic visual experience though it takes a few minutes to settle with the overzealous sensory input from the OASIS.”

Meanwhile, Wade’s avatar in OASIS, Parzival, meets Art3mis, a pixie-haired, anime-doll-eyed, rad girl and (unsurprisingly) falls in love with her. The film follows a predictable plot as we see the evolution of Wade as a hero. Having said that, the young actors do a commendable job. Rylance delivers yet another perfect performance as geeky genius game-maker Halliday.

The film makes for a dynamic visual experience, though it takes a few minutes to settle with the overzealous sensory input from the OASIS. The back-and-forth movement of the film between the virtual and the real world, forces the characters to make a genuine connection with the audience, exploring loneliness and love along the way.

One can tell it is a Spielberg movie quite early on. The graphics are unbelievable, advanced even for the present trend, and the soundtrack will keep you engrossed in the plot.

In a nutshell: Ready Player One is a must-watch for tech-nerds and Spielberg fans, so basically everyone.

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