READY PLAYER ONE
Action Adventure. From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon. In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the Oasis to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—called the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.
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Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on the novel by Ernest Cline
Producers: Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg, Dan Farah
Executive Producers: Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, with Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance
In 3D and 2D in select theaters and IMAX on March 29
(Warner Bros. Pictures/ Village Roadshow Pictures /Amblin Entertainment)
Fonseca: Tonight, we are reviewing Steven Spielberg’s latest popcorn flick Ready Player One based o the book by Ernest Cline.
What was your impression Mike?
Ivey: I’m very happy that Cline was able to also co-write the screenplay, as his book’s success has easily translated into a very coherent and enjoyable film.
Fonseca: I think that Spielberg reached into his magic baseball cap and pulled another rabbit out.
This movie is the kind of movie that we used to expect from him before he became a very serious director.
Ivey: Spielberg’s dance card is full for years and it is a slight departure from what we’re used to recently.
And I would say that it’s the better of the three motion capture films that he has directed recently (Tin Tin, and BFG)
Fonseca: I haven’t read the book and I want to, but this story is so visual, I’m not sure how the book could even be similar.
Ivey: All I heard (for years) was how great the book was. So I’m sure it’s worth the read, regardless.
Fonseca: This movie is half and half. Half live action and half, what? Animation? CGI? Virtual Reality?
Ivey: Half live action and half eye candy
Fonseca: Actually, since it is Spielberg, it’s all eye candy!
Ivey: Here’s the synopsis: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.
The story is told through Parzival, a Columbus,
Ohio teen trapped in the ‘stacks’ — a high-rise of double-wide trailers
Fonseca: Which frankly looks like hell on earth. So, I’m surprised they didn’t go with Cleveland. ?
Ivey: The world that Spielberg paints for us is simple — everyone would rather be in the Oasis than dealing with the real world… sounds familiar…
Fonseca: Can you imagine? A world where people spend all their time on the internet or playing video games…
Ivey: Isn’t too farfetched, is it?
Fonseca: Parzival (Tye Sheridan) teams up with his virtual friends H, Artemis and her friends to win the game, but also beat corporate bad guy Sorrento played by Ben Mendelsohn.
I want to mention Ben Mendelsohn as the villainous Sorrento. I first saw him as the older brother on Netflix’s Bloodlines. Now he is everywhere and makes a a particularly good “bad guy”. He was recently in Darkest Hour as well as Rogue One.
Ivey: The chase for the hidden Easter Egg is very enjoyable. Even for this adult, it’s fun but not contrived.
Fonseca: I think the movie is very much fun. It appeals to old guys like me, because it is an homage to all things 1980’s.
Ivey: There’s so many pop culture references that you may miss half of them during the first viewing.
Fonseca: During the chase for the hidden Easter egg, the audience is watching for hundreds of eggs sprinkled throughout the entire movie.
Now that I know the story, I want to go back and watch for all of the background items I missed.
Ivey: And the reason why the 80s/90s reign supreme is because the contest is so important, and everyone studies the creator of the Oasis, played by Mark Rylance, looking for clues.
Fonseca: The funny thing is that many of the references are to movies or shows that Spielberg either directed or produced.
Ivey: Easy to license …
Fonseca: Back to the Future references abound.
Ivey: And by the way, there’s a long list from the copyright lawyers during the credits. I’d hate to spoil anything because it’s key to the movie’s comedic timing.
Fonseca: Being a Warner Brothers film, it’s easy to get even more.
There is a great cast of young not well-known actors mixed in with a number of more experienced character actors.
How do you rate this?
Ivey: I think Ready Player One easily appeals to late Baby Boomers all the way down to teens. Parents should be warned however, that there is language, partial nudity and violence (hence the PG-13 rating).
The pacing was wonderful for a 2:20 movie and everything hit where it was supposed to. I’m giving this a 4 out of 5.
Mike, what are your final thoughts?
Fonseca: This movie will appeal to kids and adults. Ready Player One left me feeling like I did when I walked out of Avatar. Groundbreaking visuals, but frankly a better story than the Dances with Wolves rehash of Avatar.
I give this a 4 out of 5.