Ready player one is a teenage adventure story centered on a young man, Wade Watts. Set in near future Cincinnati, the majority of the movie is actually set within a virtual reality world of the Oasis, where the titular hero must solve several challenges as well as prevent the IOI Corporation from taking control of the Oasis itself. Predictable in a Spielbergian type of way. Visually pleasing, and depending on what era you’re from, crammed to the brim with relateable pop culture.
I should preface this review by mentioning that I have not read the 2011 Novel this film was adapted to although I have checked out a summary to determine the differences after having seen the film. The main critique that seems to be floating around regarding this movie is that this film isn’t garnered towards any particular audience and that the story was difficult to follow. This didn’t resonate with me. I recognized references left and right and felt the story was straight forward and easy to follow, if somewhat contrived. Now when I say that I was recognizing characters left and right I don’t necessarily mean that as a good thing. I scoff at the amount of nostalgia that the Disney’s Star Wars attempts to scrape dollars with in recent years, and I felt the same level of shamelessness in the amount of references they tried to invoke. I do give Ready Player One more of a pass however given that nostalgia and pop culture is a central theme of the overall set piece. The movie is visually stunning and I am perfectly fine with the decision to tell the majority of the story through the CGI generated Oasis. It was what I was expecting going into the movie and I wasn’t disappointed in that regard. This isn’t actually that big of a compliment considering every big budget film looks so good these days, but the set pieces they chose were more than interesting enough to keep me engaged. The story moves forward pretty seamlessly from plot point to plot point and I never felt bored with the exception of the last 20-25 minutes. The ending ran along the same lines as the atypical marvel movie in that no matter what can be occurring within the plot (See Black Panther) there has to be a contrived large battle. I don’t hate it, but would have liked to see something more original for an otherwise unique plot.
2 ½ stars