Disclaimer: I want to say that this review is spoiler free because I will not be speaking of any pop culture references within the movie that you couldn’t clearly see in any of the READY PLAYER ONE posters.
READY PLAYER ONE was just about as epic as it promised to be. The action was intense and at times overwhelming. The story was worldwide. And the characters were...alright. I mean, all of that 80s nostalgia was the important part, right? This movie tried to be about three movies at once, and… it worked for the most part.
The story follows a kid named Wade Watts, screenname Parzival, who often indulges in the virtual reality universe called the OASIS. The creator of the OASIS, Halliday, had died and left an Easter Egg hidden somewhere inside of the game for players to find to gain his fortune and control over the OASIS. It’s the players worldwide versus the company IOI (Innovative Online Industries) in the hunt for the three keys to the Easter Egg. Wade has his friends to help him along the way, plus a new friend who goes by the name of Artemis inside of the OASIS.
Tye Sheridan does a decent job performing as Wade Watts, as least I think he did the best he could given with what he was working with. Sheridan shows great melancholy early in the movie when the mood is meant to be sad in that part of the book, but the movie itself doesn’t really reflect the scene as well as Sheridan emotes. Like he was just extra sad and the atmosphere is too light for that look on his face. This movie is supposed to be 80s cheesy, so perhaps not much more is needed to be said about the actors’ performance.
I thought that I was going to have more to say about this movie, especially right after I got out. But the feeling died down pretty quick. I feel less and less for it, and it has only been a couple of days. I’m not holding onto anything with very much appreciation except for what I saw that I held interest in as a kid, but not much else. It was great to see the Iron Giant and a fucking Gundam in action, everything else I could take or leave. Not that the other references and characters aren’t good enough for someone else to enjoy. Seriously though, there was not enough Gundam action. It wouldn’t surprise me if a new Gundam movie, or god forbid a live-action adaptation of the IRON GIANT would be spawned from this movie. IRON GIANT is a timeless classic, please leave it alone and don’t remake it, Hollywood.
There was particular scene that stood out to me, in this modern social-political climate, that seemed very off. Shortly after Wade/Parzival finally meets Artemis in real life, and sees her facial “deformity”, he chooses to be supportive, but steps over a line pretty quickly by caressing her face and holding his hand there. Even if she did rub against him in the game, that was in game. For Wade to be that forward came off pretty creepy, and Artemis allowed it. Clearly, Wade put in enough of those kindness coins and gained the right to touch her in person that soon. That’s Fedora Law.
In certain parts of the film they tried extra hard to make it feel extra 80s by using a combination of cheesy “serious” music, the deus ex machina events (such as characters suddenly showing up despite having no leads on how to find the protagonist), and just pretty much let the 80s pop culture characters and references “do all of the talking”.
READY PLAYER ONE is a Summer Time movie cinema junk food that came at in the beginning of Spring. Enjoyable, but nothing really influential or groundbreaking. Go see it, have fun, but you may not remember it two months from now. I could barely find the motivation to write about this movie, and I’m sure it shows.
Here’s a sneak peek at the final battle in READY PLAYER ONE!