We've seen rampaging dinosaurs, deadly great whites and a whip-snapping archaeologist - even kids on flying bikes - but now Steven Spielberg directs Ready Player One. Based on Ernest Cline's pop culture crammed novel, this glimpse into the future tells the story of how young gamer Wade Watts ventures into the OASIS - a virtual reality world to search for clues left by the creator after his death. With staggering rewards from trillions of dollars and full control of the OASIS itself, there is - of course - deadly competition from more sinister sources.
Capturing the magic of old school hollywood - Ready Player One is an ode to the cinematic greats Spielberg and others have made part of our cultural identity over so many years. Bright and colourful cameos flash in front of us - countless references from Back to the Future, to Saturday Night Fever; Beetlejuice, King Kong and even Alien - and so many, many more. Crucially though, Ready Player One neither depends nor exploits these many references, but rather weaves them into the mesmerising experience developing in front of our eyes.
It may have all the bells and whistles of a modern, sci-fi adventure but Ready Player One captures the sparkle of Spielberg's previous family friendly works. Visually immersive with its arresting world building - it may be an ambitious film with (in truth) an unambitious story - but so good is the delivery that there isn't any need for this virtual reality popcorn flick to be anymore complicated than it already is. Quite simply Ready Player One is good old cinema magic, proving how the classic Spielberg fantasy formula still works as brilliantly as ever after all these years.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Ready Player One is the thought provoking social commentary on video games. Without being too preachy the film draws attention to how society has become increasingly entangled in technologically delivered fantasy at the expense of life experience within the real world. This poignant message delivered straight to the family targeted audience might just encourage kids to spend a little less time gaming, but ironically the story appears so fantastic it could just have the opposite effect.
Tye Sheridan's 80's, pop culture obsessed Wade Watts is as well rounded and compelling as you'd expect any Spielberg lead to be, with Mark Rylance worrying good and suitably geeky. Against some stiff competition Ready Player One is one of the most magnificently nerdy yet entrancing techno cinema experiences in recent years. There's no denying it's a shock to the senses with its explosion of pop culture references but most importantly Ready Player One wonderfully reinforces the magic and sugar rush excitement of fantasy within cinema.
Ready Player One:
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.