Movie Review: Ready Player One

By Maria Lubanovic, Copy Editor
[Amblin; 2018]
Rating: 6/10

Do you crave 80s culture and have insane nostalgia for gaming? Do you love adaptations of mediocre young adult novels? Do you have an unrelenting need to see your OC from eighth grade run around on screen?

Okay, maybe not the OC thing, but Ready Player One is all of those other things. The movie opens with Van Halen’s “Jump” (not nearly loud enough), as main character Wade Watts runs out of “The Stacks” in Columbus, which is essentially a bunch of trailer homes stacked on top of each other. He closes himself into an abandoned van and puts on a VR rig, transporting himself and the audience into The Oasis, a digital galaxy with hundreds of planets and worlds.

Everything in The Oasis is digitally animated to give the feeling of being in a beautifully rendered video game. Many characters in The Oasis are directly from current pop culture like Overwatch, as well as some more vintage stuff. The opening scene in The Oasis shows an insane race, where Wade drives a DeLorean while another character races on the bike from Akira. King Kong shows up to destroy the end of the racetrack. Later, one of the other characters is shown building a massive Iron Giant. These additions are fun, but luckily the movie doesn’t rely too heavily on them for the story to work.

As for an adaptation, the movie doesn’t stray too far from the messages of the book. The basic idea is the same. The inventor of The Oasis dies and creates a quest to find three keys to get to an Easter Egg that allows the winner to own and control The Oasis. Many people went on a massive search and had no luck. A small group of people like Wade still haven’t given up. A smarmy company called IOI has been trying to take over The Oasis with plans to fill it with ads. Diabolical.

However, there are some changes that make the challenges more bearable to watch on the big screen. The first task is completely different, making it more action-packed, but it’s missing moments where Wade’s true poverty and need for The Oasis are shown in the book. The other two tasks are much more glorified and less boring versions of their book counterparts. There is a whole planet that is created to specifically avoid constantly referencing a grubby notebook in Wade’s van. It keeps the action in The Oasis instead of in the horrible reality of Ohio.

Even with the massive amount of pop culture references, the movie works because the characters are believable, and the writing is relatively strong. The soundtrack is basically all classic 80s rock. The animation is worth the bazillion dollars that were put into this movie. If anything, it’s at least fun.

Ready Player One isn’t an instant classic, and definitely isn’t one of Spielberg’s best movies, but it’s good enough. Many people were fearing something much worse than what was delivered. It’s something that different generations can enjoy together and essentially is about taking down evil to keep something good. What more could a geek want?

Watch the trailer here:

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