Initially, I was a bit reluctant to view this when the adverts reached the small and big screen; a 12a with too much CGI, no real story, lots of action and flashing lights that could draw in an animal to watch rather than something of real substance.
Well, I’m happy to admit I was wrong.
Ready Player One, is based on Ernest Cline’s Bestseller of the same name in the year 2045 where people on the edge of the world’s collapse find solace in a VR world, nay universe. The quirky co-creator genius of the phenomenal digital experience called “Oasis” is James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Here they can be who they want to be, a projection of their desired selves through their gaming Avatar, named by their user ID, and utilize their skills to earn or win coins. After his death, he leaves his legacy in the form of his immense fortune and Oasis itself to the one person who can find three keys that lead to the Ultimate Easter Egg; ownership of OASIS and Halliday’s fortune.
This film takes place 5 years after the announcement, and still, no keys have been claimed. Enter our prospective hero “Parzival” AKA Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), who gets catapulted into fame by obtaining the first key by completing one of the 3 mini-games, putting him in the direct view of famous player “Art3mis” (Olivia Cooke). With fame, he makes himself a target for IOI (Innovative Online Industries) whose sole goal is to control the OASIS through any sacrifice.
Even though the backstory of WW is something that could have been worked on (then I remind myself this isn’t Schindlers list) which isn’t necessarily the worst thing, its more the impact of the message that comes across that is the most important.
The visuals are truly beautiful and really enhances the experience of an amazing interactive ultra-modern world.
It not only gives massive nostalgia chills through games like Sonic, Halo, Overwatch, but it also gives multiple nods to The Iron Giant, Beetle Juice, Chucky, The Shining and Back to the Future.
As a gamer myself, this understanding of true immersion into a game world is close to home. That emotion when your character gets to the next level, the frustration of failing in the big boss fight and the elation in its completion. The film plays (pun intended) exactly as you would expect relates to the modern world; to the realization that we are harbouring a generation more in sync with technology than any of our predecessors. That eye strain, headaches and anger issues because of the use of screens, games and the time we spend on them are real problems. Access to these things need not be a fear for the future, if we utilize our skills with it and maintain our roots in reality, we will always be the winners of our game.
A real champion film with a deep message of camaraderie, technological skill and regression from reality. Could be a difficult watch for non-gamers to understand all of the references, but a good watch none the less.