By Laura Powers: Celebrity Psychic, Writer, and host of Behind the Scenes Podcast.
The newest movie by Steven Spielberg, based on the book by Ernest Cline, is set in 2045 in Columbus, Ohio. The story centers around a virtual world that game maker James Halliday created named OASIS. In this dystopian reality, many people spend most of their waking hours in OASIS (I don’t think we are that far off from this possible reality). Lead character Wade Watts, played by Tye Sheridan, is known as Parzival in OASIS. We follow his adventures as he attempts to win a big prize which includes a big chunk of cash and administrative rights to the game.
There is, of course, a love interest, Art3mis in the gaming world, and Samantha in real life, played by Olivia Cooke. There is also a fun side-kick Aech, played by Lena Waithe, and other crew members Sho and Daito.
In order to win the prize, players must find the Easter Eggs (hidden clues within the game) to win 3 keys. Whoever gets all three keys first, wins the money, control of the game, and of course mega-fame. There is an evil villain who wants to control the game with plans to sell up to 80 percent of players’ screens with advertising. Though the plot doesn’t get huge points for originality, the film is very fun to watch and is visually stunning and unique. The shots in OASIS are stylized and sleek and there is plenty to enjoy in the film whether you are a gamer or not. If you are a fan of 80s culture then you will love this film as many of the pop-culture references from games, films, and television are from the 80s. There is a particularly fantastic film-within-a-film recreation of The Shining.
Overall, Ready Player One is a great way to spend time and it was one of the rare CGI movies in which I didn’t find the artificial world distracting. I do wish the love story had been a little less cliqued. At one point, Art3mis states that she doesn’t want to meet Parzival in real life and hints that he might be disappointed in her appearance despite the fact that she is gorgeous but has a minor birth mark. Still, I liked that Art3mis was a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I think that there is something in the film for most people. When I scanned the theater, I was impressed with the diversity of the audience. I also appreciated that Steven Spielberg made a fun, light-hearted action movie. He is great at making serious movies, and while this movie was thought-provoking, it was a lot of fun too.
The film was made by Warner Brothers on a budget of $175 million and marketing costs running $150 million so this was big-budget though it’s not surprising with all the effects. There is a talk of a sequel and Cline is working on the book now. No reports yet on whether Steven Spielberg would be attached though at SXSW he said of his experience working on the film, “Ready Player One was the ‘the greatest anxiety attack I ever had,’” so he may not be jumping to get on the sequel if it happens.