City Press reviews Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One

2018-04-01 00:00
 
Tye Sheridan in a scene from Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke

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Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s bestselling book, Ready Player One, makes us rethink the future in its entirety. With its retropop references and geeks as heroes, this story will have you laughing and basking in nostalgia at the same time.

The sci-fi story starts off in overpopulated Columbus, Ohio, in the year 2045, where the protagonist, gamer Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), lives in a futuristic caravan park. He’s an orphan who’s looked after by his poor aunt and to escape his harsh reality, like so many other inhabitants of the world, immerses himself in a virtual reality world called Oasis. This world is a place the late creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) made for people to feel free to be whatever they want to be.

Players then discover Halliday has hidden a secret quest in the game, with the ultimate prize – half a million dollars and complete control of Oasis. The race is on and Wade becomes the unlikely underdog hero against a powerful corporation to win the empire.

From the get-go, we’re treated to sing-along classics like Jump by Van Halen, 80s references to cult hit The Breakfast Club and cameos by characters like the evil doll Chucky. You’ll not only love the nostalgia, but appreciate the comic relief from the intense war being brawled within the worlds of Oasis.

The transitions between the future and the movie’s present, however, are exasperating and you’ll sometimes feel like you’re falling behind. Once you pick up on Spielberg’s use of retropop culture, you’ll find yourself constantly looking for these Easter eggs – this hyper awareness may lead to sensory overload.

The film has an eclectic mix of a young cast, with the likes of black screenwriter and Masters of None actress Lena Waithe and Win Morisaki, a Japanese singer and actor – this sort of racial mix allows audiences from all over the world to relate to characters in some way.

Ready Player One, despite its slight flaws, will make you feel like you’re in a video game yourself. So, whether you’re a nerd like Wade, a gamer who immerses yourself in screens like Halliday or if you just love a good 80s beat, it will have something for you.

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