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Movie Review: Ready Player One

      Steven Spielberg has directed some of the greatest and most well known pieces of cinema in American film history. Amongst his body of work is Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report. Every film Spielberg has ever directed holds his signature. The look, feel and experience of a Spielberg film is surrounding. The worlds he creates in his films are ones audiences long to journey back to again and again. The characters that give life to his worlds hold emotional resonance with audiences. The stories Spielberg’s characters tell are engrossing and maintain attention throughout his film’s runtime. In theatres now is a story, full of unique characters living in a world unlike any other ever seen on the silver screen, helmed by Spielberg’s directorial hand. Ready Player One is a fantastic film and a noble addition to Spielberg’s long body of work.

      Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One takes place in two unique worlds. The Earth is in disarray, and every sky is a miserable gray. The slums are recognizable by their large towers of mobile homes stacked one on top of the other. This is known as “The Stacks.” The city is not that much better. Every corner is covered in graffiti, every house seems abandoned and every soul that wanders these streets appears empty. Looming over this city is the IOI headquarters, a sophisticated yet sordid building full of pristine technological advancements and a pristine, vapid interior that makes its inhabits seem more heartless than their machines. In a world like this the only place people can go for hope, or escape, is the OASIS. This virtual world, created by visionary James Halliday, is a place where anyone can be anything and do anything. If they have enough coin, that is. In this world full of dreams and infinite possibility, people have taken a liking to living as their favorite movie character, cruising around the OASIS in their favorite vehicle or playing inside their favorite video game. Popular culture has now become culture. Seeing how these two world interact with each other without one overshadowing any of the others makes Spielberg’s Ready Player One experience one worth visiting again and again.

      Inside this real world and virtual world are plenty of memorable and iconic characters. Tye Sheridan stars as the film’s headstrong hero, Wade Watts whose OASIS avatar is named ParZival. He may be Halliday’s biggest fan, as he knows all his favorite video games, movies and books. Halliday, played by a dryly hilarious and eccentrically humane Mark Rylance, has recently passed away and left an Easter Egg in the OASIS. Whoever finds it will inherit the game’s rights and a fortune of half a billion dollars, and you can bet that Art3mis is on the hunt. Along his journey ParZival encounters the devilishly stunning and incredibly adventurous Art3mis, played exceptionally well by Olivia Cooke. Accompanying these two on their egg hunt is ParZival’s closest friend from the OASIS, Aech. Aech, played by a comedicly powerful Lena Waithe, is the best modder in the OASIS and one of the strongest fighters on any of the OASIS’s planets. This film’s cast also includes two charismatic and meaningful performances from two other egg hunters, Daito and Sho, played by Win Morisaki and Philip Zhao. Standing in the way of every single one of these heroes is the maniacal Sorento, played by a comedic and beguiling Ben Mendelsohn. It is fantastic seeing how each of these characters plays off each other and how they conflict and connect with one another.

      What would these characters’ purpose be, if the film had no story? Ready Player One features a top notch screenplay. Ready Player One’s story is primarily focused around the OASIS’s members hunting down the Halliday’s Easter Egg. The challenges that characters encounter as the film progresses are unexpected and massive. The battles that ParZival, Art3mis and Aech go through, are engrossing and fantastic. Even the suspenseful moments in the real world hold the same gravitas that the OASIS’s scenes have. Every part of Spielberg’s Ready Player One has been carefully crafted, which makes this film a worthy addition to his directorial repertoire.

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