Ready Player One Movie Review

Updated: Jul 31, 2018, 16:54 IST | Johnson Thomas | Mumbai

Steven Spielberg's take of Ernest Cline's pop-culture sci-fi novel Ready Player One is a bagful of geeky tricks with a treasure trove of pop-culture references in a derivative plot.

Ready Player One poster
Ready Player One poster

Ready Player One
U/A; Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg, Win Morisaki, Ben Mendelsohn, Philip Zhao, Hannah John-Kamen, T.J. Miller, Letitia Wright, Mark Rylance, Susan Lynch, Ralph Ineson, Mckenna Grace
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating:Rating

Steven Spielberg's take of Ernest Cline's pop-culture sci-fi novel 'Ready Player One' is a bagful of geeky tricks with a treasure trove of pop-culture references in a derivative plot. There's visual gratification in the various levels of estrangement from reality but the fun-run barely manages to sustain through the overly long 142 min runtime.

The film is a geek's fantasy-come-true, CGI inventiveness dominates to an extent where characters appear more virtual than real. It's 2045 and the Dystopian nature of the period drives the downtrodden young netizens to an Artificial Intelligence entity called the Oasis created by multi-billionaire tech-artist, genius man-boy, James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Halliday's death opens up the bleak world to a new hope - of winning his shares in the company he created. That's the prize Halliday sets for the ultimate game challenge he creates as a post-death memorial to his own ingenuity.

So Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphaned teenager, and one of the many desperately seeking contenders, scours the Oasis in the guise of his virtual avatar, Parzival, looking for '80s-referencing clues that leads to keys which unlock the hiding place of the easter egg that could net him the ultimate prize. In the process Wade teams up with hacktivist Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Aech and a pair of Japanese players, Daito (Win Morisaki) and Shoto (Philip Zhao) and the antagonist, Corporate villain Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) does his best to put a virtual spanner in their works.

Watch the Ready Player One trailer

Spielberg works with Cline and Zak Penn on the screenplay, to derive a structure that's different from that of the best-selling novel yet has the high-stakes thrills gunning for glory. Pop-culture obsessiveness remains the key here. Spielberg abandons his trademark emotional arcs for a more immediate high, resulting from VFX cyber-escapades. The innumerable references to 80's and 90's blockbusters ( including rampaging monsters like King Kong, T Rex, superheroes like Batman, super vehicles like the Delorean, The A-Team's Van, Mad Max's Interceptor and the bike from 'Akira' among countless others)sharing space with a largely lucid spectacle of furious enchantment, makes the going intriguing enough. But spotting the references here is far more fun than the game itself.

Spielberg's attempt at rollicking adventure is hampered by a stymying lack of attachment though. The over-indulgence in animation and VFX creates an imbalance that keeps you at a distance. You need to be a gamer to appreciate the virtual insanity driving this gigantic video game!

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