I’m sure you’ve already heard everyone talk about Steven Spielberg’s latest movie Ready Player One. A film based on a novel of the same name. And for those wondering, don’t worry this is spoiler free. If I make any direct comparisons they will be ones that are featured in the trailers.
The next question that I’m sure you’re asking is its relation to the novel. The movie follows very similar beats, but because Ernest Cline (the author of the novel) worked on the script so it feels different in all the best ways possible.
For those that have not read the novel, here is the bare bones description. In the near future, life revolves around a virtual reality game called the Oasis. This game acts as a place for people to learn, play, and work. The creator of the game passed away, but as his last act, he hid an easter egg. This egg would give whoever found it complete control of the game and control of his fortune. Both the novel and film follow one of these “Gunters” (Egg Hunters) as they try to make sure a competing corporation doesn’t gain control of the Oasis.
What made the novel a hit, was the heavy use of pop culture that existed within the Oasis. To the point where many would question how the book would translate into a film because there is no way that the studio could get all the Intellectual Properties that were used. And here is one of the key differences between the movie and the novel. The novel relied almost entirely on 1980’s era pop culture. The movie has a healthy mix of that 80’s nostalgia, video game culture, and properties that have been given a green light to made into movies but have been stuck in pre-production hell.
Now before I move on, I’ll say that this is not a perfect movie. Some of the character development seems rushed. The villain seems a little typical. A majority of the film is CGI only. And some of the audience may not get some of the references that the story relies on.
On second thought, that last one is highly unlikely unless they’ve been living under a rock.
The references are one of the best parts of the movie. If you take the trip to see it in a theater, then you’ll get people laughing or cheering almost randomly because they found an easter egg. And more than likely you’ll find yourself doing the exact same thing. For the most part, some these eggs have little to no importance to the story, but there are some that are relevant to the plot. The main character, Parzival, drives the Delorean from Back to the Future with some mods.
But it’s the reactions that make this film so special. This may have been the most fun movie I’ve seen in awhile. The story was original, even if you’ve read the novel. All the humor was organic and didn’t seem forced. And while many critics are calling out the heavy use of CGI, it felt natural because it makes sense that it’s in a video game. And while the villain comes off as almost one dimensional, the writers were able to highlight some current issues in the video game industry. And of course, I got so many of the references that there were a few times I was the only person laughing. As a gamer and a nerd, I loved this movie.
I was smiling from start to finish, and during the car ride back home. To me, this is one of the best video game movies I’ve seen. Though that’s a not a high bar to clear. Part of it is because the video game properties are natural in a video game world. Like when we see a fire team of Spartans from Halo assaulting an objective. Or seeing Tracer from Overwatch charging into battle.
This movie is for fans, plain and simple. The fans that spent hours grinding to get ready for a raid. The fans that still blow into a cartridge of a Nintendo game. Fans that love to dive into the lore of games or movies.
For those wondering, I would consider this movie to be family friendly. Though I would say it’s not the best for younger kids, just like most of Spielberg’s work. So if you’re still on the edge about whether or not you should go see it. I say take the leap.