When it comes to Ready Player One, I feel like most nerds fall into one of two camps. There are those who have read and adore the book, and those who read and despise it. I’m the rarer of those nerds, and have never picked it up, so naturally I was curious to see this phenomenon in movie form, so I didn’t have to read it if I fell into the later camp.
A quick statement, if you dislike The Hunger Games, Maze Runner and Divergent, you can look away now, as it sits among them as a peer.
If you don’t know the premise, Ready Player One tells the story of a future where the real world has fallen in disarray. There are more slums and more rubbish than ever, but this doesn’t bother many as they spend their leisure time in the Oasis. The Oasis is a massive VR world where nearly anything is possible.
The movie follows Wade Watts as he continues his journey to complete the three Easter eggs that the creator of the Oasis left behind. If anyone finds and beats all three of these Easter eggs, they win the estate, including control over the Oasis. When the film picks up, the first Easter Egg has been found, which is an unbeatable race.
All people in the Oasis has access to a library of the creator’s memories, so they can find and beat these Easter Eggs. Wade, and his group of friends, including long-time companion Aech, and love interest Art3mis work together to win the fortune. Along the way they must defend themselves against the evil corporation currently in control of Oasis, IOI, who also want to get that last bit of the estate to get creative control.
The plot, is fine. It hits the beats that most people would expect from the above premise, and every other teen book that has been adapted into a film these days. At no point in the plot did I ever feel surprised, which, isn’t surprising.
The acting is fine, some were a bit hit and miss, but Olivia Cooke and Lena Waithe were especially good. The mix of voice acting for in-Oasis scenes, and live action out of Oasis, didn’t quite work for everybody but Olivia and Lena were great in both. T.J. Miller did everything you expect from his roles, he made me laugh a few times, and has his timing down.
The important part of the film is the CGI in Oasis, and its pop culture references. The CGI looked good, as it wasn’t hyper realistic or anything. Characters have exaggerated features like bigger eyes, so it doesn’t hit the uncanny valley issues.
The pop culture references come thick and heavy, which initially feel hammed in, but by the end, they still feel hammed in. There were on the nose ones like a Minecraft world, Spartans, Tracer, Goro, and the Back to the DeLorean, but they mixed some unexpected ones in, like the Holy Hand Grenade, which got me excited, until it didn’t make its iconic sound when detonated.
Ready Player One is a fine movie. It’s a good enough way to kill a couple of hours, and it’s enjoyable, but it never had any moments I felt were memorable. Only a few hours later I can already tell this one is going to be forgettable, but I wouldn’t complain if someone played it in the background.