When I went to the cinema I had no intention of watching this movie but man am I glad I did.
Ready Player One is a movie for every fan of pop culture and everybody who loves movies, music or video games from the late 20th century. On top of that this movie has some of the best CGI work I have ever seen and the visual effects and editing are Oscar worthy. Before I go into more detail about the cinematic elements let me give you a short preview.
In a world were people just want to live their live with only a few resources and a virtual reality so real it rules your life anybody can do anything.
We are introduced to Wade Wilson who is a lonely boy living with his aunt and, like everyone in this bleak world, seeks refuge in the virtual world created by Harry Halliday. The movie starts by taking us through parts of the Oasis, expelling the concept and the game that is currently on all explained in a voice over by Tye Sheridan’s Wade.
In the end of this montage we are told that Halliday died and left an easter egg to find for his players. The one who finds it will have control of the Oasis.
This easter egg is hunted not only by Wade and his best friend Aech and mother independent players but also by IOI, a corporation that is lead by the power hungry Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), who wants to control the Oasis.
When Wade, who’s avatar is named Parcival, meets the strong willed and equally determined Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), the two together with Aech and his two friends Sho and Daito set out to find the easter egg before Sorrento can.
Without revealing too much more and spoiling it for you I want to say that this is Spielberg’s most innovative movie in a long time.
He does a lot of things right here. The camera often shows us wide shots of the beautiful structures and sights of the Oasis. In one scene we follow Parcival and Art3mis into a club and this moment is perfectly underscore by Van Halen’s “Jump”. the visuals in the club are absolutely brilliant. There is a dance floor that lets you float and perform any move you want and the booths and surroundings look just stunning with many different colors mixed perfectly together and always underlining the mood of the scene.
The actors do a lot to convey the mood and do a good job although Mendelsohn steels every scene he’s in and as so often before makes a convincing villain. Sheridan and Cooke work very well together especially when they are acting as their avatars.
Janusz Kaminski, who already worked with Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan or Schindler’s List, does a great job here again. The way he portrays the Oasis and all it’s perks is simply masterful. There are some tracking shots that follow Percival and then the camera slowly zooms out to reveal the beauty of the location. Outside the virtual world Kaminski does equally get work he shows us just as much as we need to see. It is very clear that he has worked with Spielberg before and that he knows exactly what his director wants from him.
As already mentioned this is one of Spielberg’s more innovative movies and one that I would not have expected. After last years the post I thought he would go for a more quiet and grounded drama but this movie still fits perfectly into his repertoire. Spielberg is one of the best directors the world has right now and probably the best of his generation and he shows it again here. He has ideas and he implements them here. In the Oasis Spielberg not only manages to take us back to some great moments in movie or musical history but he also pay homage to some of the greatest in the business. There is one scene, which in my opinion is the greatest in the movie, where our heroes are entering the world of the movie Shining and this sequence is filmed with perfection. For everybody who has seen the Shining this will be a thrill ride and a totally new experience. The camera moves perfectly and the direction is exactly on point.
In this scene and more Spielberg knows exactly where and how to implement his CGI and how to use it. As previously mentioned the visual effects are brilliant and some of the greatest I have seen in a long time. On top of that every scene is perfectly underlined by a popular or classic song that not only conveys the mood but fits perfectly into the movies structure.
While the movie is very well paced and structured there are a few things that bothered me and sometimes interrupted the flow of the story.
I have no problem with emotional and heartbreaking endings, in fact I love them, but here the ending is just rushed. While I will not give away what happens I have to say that I sat in my seat expecting a great emotional Spielbergian ending which, unfortunately, was denied. Additionally some of the actors were a little shaky in their performances and nearly made the scenes collapse. But the thing that probably bothered me most was the avatar i-Rok, played by T.J. Miller. While we all know Miller is a funny guy and that he can certainly act, this was one of his less finer moments. i-Rock is a bounty hunter that works for Sorrento ands is hired to stop Percival and his friends. He has piercings in his face and a skull as his upper body and looks very treating but as soon as he opens his mouth the character loses all credibility. With Miller, Spielberg tried to bring in a funny, loosening up element that here was absolutely out of place and tore down every scene he was in. Instead of being threatening and tough and sometimes delivering a funny line i-Rock is more of a confused and unfunny mess. It is obvious that Miller tries his best with the part he is given but even a skilled comedic actor like him couldn’t handle this task. Miller seems more confused than serious and that is something that his character is certainly not.
All of this taken into account have to say this is still a very entertaining movie especially if you, like me, know most of the references movies or songs are able to spot many more all through the Oasis.
I have to admit I went into this movie with a lot of doubts but all of the have been resolved and I can only recommend you go see it. I would also recommend watching it in 3D wich just makes the experiences so much better.
In conclusion I want to say that I enjoyed the experience very much and I am glad to see that Spielberg still has it in him to make great sci-fy movies like he did before and I can only recommend that you go see it at your local movie theater.