Ready Player One
|Ready Player One|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Spielberg|
|Based on||Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Ready Player One is a 2018 American science fictionadventure film produced and directed by Steven Spielbergand written by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name. The film stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance.
The film is set in the year 2045 where much of humanity, to escape the desolation of the real-world, use the virtual reality software OASIS to engage in work and play. Wade Watts (Sheridan) discovers clues to a hidden game within the program that promises the winner full ownership of the OASIS, and joins several allies to try to complete the game before indentured players working for a large company, run by Nolan Sorrento (Mendelsohn), can do so.
Ready Player One premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2018, and was released by Warner Bros. in the United States on March 29, 2018. The film received generally positive reviews, with critics praising its visuals and brisk pacing, noting it as improvement over the book, but criticized the lack of character development and “achingly regressive” view of pop culture fans.
In 2045, much of Earth’s population centers have become slum-like cities due to overpopulation, pollution, corruption, and climate change. To escape their desolation, people engage in the virtual reality world of the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), where they can engage in numerous activities for work, education, and entertainment. Users have discovered “Anorak’s Quest” hidden within OASIS, a game created by the late James Halliday, the creator of OASIS. The first to find the Easter eggs within Anorak’s Quest is promised full ownership of OASIS among other gifts. This has attracted a number of Gunters (“egg hunters”) to play the game. Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a video game conglomerate and manufacturer of most the virtual reality equipment used to access the OASIS, also seeks ownership of virtual reality world, and its CEO, Nolan Sorrento has amassed an army of debt–indentured players, known as Sixers (due to their six-digit identification), to seek the prize. However, to date, no one has been able to complete the first quest, finishing a vehicle race across an ever-shifting dangerous cityscape.
Wade Watts, an 18 year-old Gunter from Columbus, Ohio, lives in a slum with his aunt. In the OASIS, Wade goes by his avatar Parzival, and has partnered with Aech, a male avatar that serves as a virtual mechanic. He later befriends well-known player Art3mis after saving her from being “zeroed out”, which would wipe their avatar from the OASIS itself. Wade decides to study the virtual OASIS library to learn about Halliday’s personal life in hopes of finding a hint to finish the race. Wade learns that Halliday felt regret when he had to accept the resignation of his partner, Ogden Morrow, over a personal falling-out, with Halliday expressing his desire to “go back and fix this.” At the next race, Wade reverses from the start line, finding a hidden, safe path to the finish line of the race. He gains the first of three keys and a clue to the next quest. Aech, Art3mis, and brothers Daito and Shoto follow Wade to finish the quest, and the five appear atop the global scoreboards, becoming known as the “High Five”.
IOI takes keen interest in them, desiring to learn their real-life identities. Bounty hunter i-R0k overhears Wade tell Art3mis his real name, disclosing it to Sorrento, who approaches Wade in an attempt to convince him to join IOI to solve Anorak’s Quest, but Wade refuses. In retaliation, Sorrento has Zandor attack Wade’s slum, killing Wade’s aunt and her boyfriend. Wade is rescued by Art3mis’ real-life friends and is taken to a Gunter hideout in Columbus, where he meets Art3mis’ player, Samantha. The two discover that Halliday had once dated Kira, who later became Morrow’s wife, and was the source of their falling out. In the virtual OASIS archives, Wade wins a bet with its Curator regarding whether Kira’s memory remains anywhere within the archives, and the Curator grants him access to Halliday’s memories of Kira, which turns out to be the entrance to the second quest. By surviving a recreation of The Shining while searching for Kira, the High Five team each gain the second key and the clue that the last quest is in Castle Anorak on Planet Doom.
Zandor discovers the Gunter hideout and kidnaps Samantha. Meanwhile, Wade is rescued by the real-life players of Aech, Daito, and Shoto, who have taken to hiding in Aech’s van; Wade learns that Aech is really a lesbian, hiding her identity from her homophobic parents. In the OASIS, they learn that IOI has erected a field blocking access to the castle, maintained by IOI and the Sixers, including Art3mis, who is being forced to work for IOI. Wade sends a message to all OASIS players about IOI’s activities, and convinces many to join their side to fight against IOI and the Sixers. With Aech, Daito, and Shoto leading the army of players, Art3mis is able to use the distraction to weaken the field and allow Wade access inside Castle Anorak. Wade finds that several Sixers have found the Atari room, trying to determine which Atari 2600 game was Halliday’s favorite; choosing and completing the wrong one leads to being zeroed out. Wade recognizes the right game as Adventure, but even successfully completing it causes the Sixer to be zeroed out.
With Wade now alone in the Atari room, Sorrento desperately decides to activate the Catalyst, which zeroes out all players on Planet Doom. However, for winning the Curator’s bet, Wade’s avatar is resurrected, and he continues the quest.
Ready Player One was simply BAD ASS! It was much much more than I expected. The trip through pop-culture goes far beyond the realm of video games. This is a movie for anyone born in the 60s, 70s, or 80s, as much as it is for the millennial, xbox/playstation generations. From a Back to the Future, DeLorean resurrection, to the crazy star/knife thing from Krull, as well as the magical words to the spell Merlin spoke in Excalibur. And of course the Atari… These are found sprinkled throughout in little tid-bits from the life of the guy who created the Oasis, (the virtual world where a lot of the movie takes place.) The music was awesome, and we saw it in IMAX 3D so the full effect of the virtual “Oasis” was mind blowing. This is a movie I will buy so I can watch it again and again. I know there are some saying this is not a ‘new’ story, and comparing it to older video/virtual reality books/films, but this is the best “video game” movie ever made. Sort of like Jurassic Park is the best dinosaur movie, Jaws is the best shark move, and Star Wars, the best space movies. 5 stars. As good as it gets. A must see! – MR