A review of the new movie “Ready Player One”

The much anticipated and hugely hyped latest directorial offering from cinematic wunderkind Steven Spielberg is visually stunning, set substantially in a fantastical virtual world of 2045 called the OASIS. An early visit to the OASIS involves a race and the experience is genuinely thrilling. The movie is also visually rich with an unbelievable number of allusions to (mainly 1970s and 1980s) pop culture – by some estimates around 300 so-called Easter eggs. It seems that every scene, every wall, every item of clothing features some (often subtle, even opaque) reference.

This is an enormous artifice to place on the shoulders of a largely young and under-known cast, notably Tye Sheridan as Parzival/Wade and Olivia Cooke as Art3mis/Samantha and the only stars in the work are British actors Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg who are hardly recognisable in their roles. Above all, this is a film which needs a more engaging plot as the discovery of three keys is just so, well, like a video game.

The problem could be that I’m not in the demographic at whom the movie is pitched and with whom it is doing so well: I’ve never played a video game and a lot of the pop culture appearances simply passed me by (for instance, I haven’t see “The Shining” and don’t want to). The clue is in the source material, since the movie is based on a young adult novel by Ernest Cline. But I acknowledge that for many cinemagoers – especially younger ones – “Ready Player One” is going to be a smash that will need to be seen several times.


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