Oh Steven, you’ve done it again!

Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance, ‘Ready Player One’ is the newest Steven Spielberg epic based on the novel by Ernest Cline.

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Set in 2045, ‘Ready Player One’ follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager who is living his days in both the decaying real world and the virtual playground known as the OASIS. The OASIS is an expansive virtual reality world created by the brilliant James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he releases a video in which he challenges every OASIS user to find his easter egg, with the finder inheriting his fortune and total control over the OASIS itself. Although Wade has the goal of finding the egg first, other forces are out to beat him and take him out in both the OASIS and the real world.

If you’re thinking that ‘Ready Player One’ sounds like a typical Spielberg adventure film or an 80s classic like ‘The Goonies’, well you’re not exactly wrong. ‘Ready Player One’ is a modern-day adventure film which relies heavily on references from similar films. But boy it is a blast!

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If you didn’t already know, ‘Ready Player One’ is based on the bestselling novel by Ernest Cline. The novel itself is known as being a guidebook to pop culture (especially 80s pop culture) and the movie is very similar in that fashion. This movie is packed to the brim with movie/tv/video game/music references and it’s very easy to miss a few of the references. It’s a great feeling when you understand a reference that pops up and it makes for a fun time.

References aside, ‘Ready Player One’ is more than just a guidebook to pop culture. It’s an adventure movie from Spielberg himself. That alone should be enough to sell you on this movie.

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One of the biggest positives I have is the visuals. This is a stunning movie and both the cinematography and special effects are amazing. A lot of the movie relies upon CGI and every scene spent inside the OASIS is stunning.  Everything is rendered to perfection and the motion capture used on the actors is amazing. With this and ‘Annihilation’, 2018 is already proving to be a great year for visually stunning movies.

Steven Spielberg’s directing is also pretty good. When it comes to Spielberg, it’s hard to find a bad effort from him. The fact that he’s in his early 70s also makes his work on this even better. Watching ‘Ready Player One’ made me realise that nobody else could have made this movie and Spielberg was the perfect director for it. It’s some great work by a great director.

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Onto the performances now, which are all really good. Tye Sheridan does a solid job as the movie’s protagonist. He comes off as a likeable lead and his charisma is excellent. What I also liked about his performance was that he wasn’t a stereotypical nerd as portrayed in other movies. He was a normal person and that made the movie even more enjoyable.

Olivia Cooke was also amazing as Art3mis (yes that is how you spell her name). Her character ends up being the most compelling out of all the characters and she does a great job portraying a strong-willed character. Her chemistry with Sheridan also made their relationship better on-screen. They came off each other really well and it was a joy to see them both on-screen together.

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Before I talk about some of the other actors I have to talk about Mark Rylance, who proves yet again why he is one of the best actors currently working. Although he only appears in a handful of scenes, he always steals the show as the socially-awkward genius. He gives a terrific performance and easily the best in the whole movie.

Ben Mendelsohn was also great as the villain of the movie. Although his villain was a tad one-note, he still gave a great performance.

I could talk about everyone else but that would take quite a long time so I shall move on.

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The writing is great for a majority of the movie. Being adapted from a novel, you would expect a few changes to make it more movie-friendly. As a fan of the book, I liked most of the changes including the addition of a car race near the start of the movie for the first key, which is easily one of the best parts of the movie. The dialogue is also great for the most part. It’s your typical adventure movie dialogue so don’t go in expecting Tarantino-esque dialogue.

Now, the biggest negative I had was the character development or lack of development. A majority of the characters don’t really progress in development. They basically stay the same for the whole movie, which was really disappointing. I love it when characters change dramatically over the course of a movie due to everything they go through but here they don’t change at all. Although the two leads do have some character development, everyone else stays the same and that did disappoint me.

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Another negative I had was the original score from Alan Silvestri. It isn’t bad but it could have been so much more considering the great soundtracks he has composed in the past. Although some of the pieces do work well, the overall score doesn’t exactly work with the tone of the movie. Although, the soundtrack itself is amazing (what I mean by this is the use of 80s songs. It’s fantastic).

Overall, ‘Ready Player One’ is a return to form for Steven Spielberg. From the fast-paced action to the dazzling visuals, ‘Ready Player One’ is a fast-paced ride that relies heavily on pop culture to work. Although shallow characters and a disappointing original score take away from the movie, this is still a damn fun that demands multiple viewings for you to get all of the easter eggs thrown in.

Rating: 4/5

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