Verdict: Steven Spielberg weaves his magic again.
Even at the age of 71, Steven Spielberg hasn't lost his charm. Ready Player One would have been impossible to make by any another director. Its numerous references whose rights belong to different studios would have been hard to get and even harder to balance with an original story, but Spielberg has done it with ease.
What's Ready Player One About:
It's the year 2045 and the world is a depressing place. But this future offers a place to escape – a virtual reality game called The OASIS where players can be anything and do anything. Its genius creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), turns out to have hidden an easter egg in the game before his death. The one who finds it will inherit not only Halliday's share in the company, which is worth trillions of dollars, but also the total control of OASIS itself.
Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) playing as his avatar Parzival, along with Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Sho are some of the egg hunters (who call themselves gunthers) still looking for the three keys that would lead them to the egg. The big villain the group has to defeat is Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) who works for IOI, the second biggest company, right after Halliday's Gregarious Games. Armed with hundreds of players, they're determined to be the first to find the egg and become the sole owners of OASIS, which they can then plaster with ads and get rich.
The film has a basic plot of a treasure hunt with three levels, but it's the world that matters. The OASIS is a rich universe that features just the right amount of pop culture icons. This leads to quite a few interesting scenes, including a race where the DeLorean from Back To The Future has to dodge a T-Rex from Jurassic Park and King Kong. But you don't need to have extensive knowledge of pop culture to enjoy Ready Player One. The stunning visuals and the classic songs from Prince, Van Halen, and more form a slick universe that you can appreciate even as a newbie.
Most of the film takes place in the virtual OASIS and the avatars of the heroes get almost as much, if not more, screen time than the actors. Tye Sheridan gets the balance of 'hero' and 'geek' right. Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Sho, have their real-world identities revealed at different parts of the movie, but their voice and acting performances meld perfectly with their characters. Ben Mendelsohn plays the role of the evil corporate overlord well with all its nuances.
Ready Player One forms the perfect video game film, even though it's not actually based on a real game. It even has plenty of easter eggs that you may miss on the first watch, but are sure to find if you replay it enough.
What Could've Been Better:
This isn't the type of film where you can solve the puzzles before the characters. Finding the three keys in Ready Player One relies solely on knowledge about the creator James Halliday, so you're just along for the ride, but it's such a fun ride that it's worth the watch.
Why You Should Watch:
Steven Spielberg is a master of films that are entertaining for all ages and this one is no exception. Ready Player One has everything you need from a film – a good story, great visuals, some romance, and even a message to make it more wholesome.