The screenplay from Zak Penn and Ernest Cline is inventive and buoyant, barrelling along without hitting too many slow spots. This Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation, or the OASIS, is a virtual world where you can look however you want and do whatever you want. In other words, narcissism reigns supreme. The prize that awaits is Halliday's fortune and control of the Oasis.
A treasure trove of pop culture references, film buffs, video game nerds, and music fanatics will all find something they recognize and love in this film, whether it is in the soundtrack, dialogue, or scattered throughout the world itself. As our heroic gamers peel back each layer of recluse's psyche, the search for the egg evolves into a rescue mission for Halliday's soul.
So the race is on.
The victor takes control of the virtual playground, which risks falling into the hands of a money-grubbing tech corporation led by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn). Motivated by greed, his goal is to populate the Oasis with as many pop-up advertisements as possible. Wade is an orphan, living unhappily with his aunt and escaping whenever possible into the Oasis, where he appears as an animated avatar named Parzival. So I'm not anxious at all about anybody getting stuck in nostalgia because nostalgia is what we're not getting enough of right now in my opinion. Despite a running time of 2hrs and 20 minutes, it does manage to keep you engaged right up until the last 15 minutes or so when it all seems to become a bit silly (I'm still not really sure of the relevance of Ogden Morrow, Halliday's co-creator played by Simon Pegg).
It unfolds like a mix of The Matrix and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Substitute Halliday for Wonka, Wade for Charlie Bucket and a golden egg for a golden ticket, and the picture becomes clear.
For everyone else, "Ready Player One" may seem a little daunting, a little confusing and a little odd.
The book and film pack plenty of nostalgic references for 1980s pop culture and the history of video games.
There's plenty of story here - near-future technology, broken families, corporate overreach, friends on an adventure, young romance, persistence and determination - but the film is fast-paced.
McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.
Based on the book by Ernest Cline, this is Steven Spielberg's biggest non-sequel blockbuster since Jurassic Park.
The year is 2045, when much of the real world is a gritty mess. (Literally, everyone goes there to "live.") Before his death, the OASIS' creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), promised his entire fortune-and total control of his company!-to the victor of a three-part contest he designed.
Leads Sheridan and Cooke form a solid bond as Wade and Samantha; with Ben Mendelsohn proving a worthy villain even if his intentions within the plot are not always logically driven.
Actress Olivia Cooke, who stars as Art3mis/Samantha alongside Tye Sheridan's Parzival/Wade, picked Beetlejuice as her absolute favourite, despite it being a characteristically "blink-and-you'll miss it" moment. Spielberg's sci-fi fantasy initially offers relatively wholesome escapist fun.
Here's some inside baseball for you: bad movies are easy to review. Intense violence with gore, much stylized mayhem, brief sensuality and partial nudity, one use of profanity, occasional crude language. Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
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