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Ready Player One Review

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Director Steven Spielberg has struck gold again with the coming-of-age tale, Ready Player One. With tons of fun video game and pop culture references, the movie works well for fans of all ages and generations. Although Spielberg's work in the film industry needs no lengthy explanation, the director is well known for his work on films like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the FutureJurassic Park, and dozens others. More recently, Spielberg has been working on movies such as War Horse, Lincoln and The BFG. Next up, Spielberg is set to direct West Side Story, and a yet untitled Indiana Jones Project slated for 2020. Spoiler warning, we will be discussing various scenes from the film from here on out. Feel free to revisit this page after you’re completely ready to delve into spoiler territory!

As of April 1st, Ready Player One opened to a gross of around $41,764,050, and according to Box Office Mojo, the film has pulled in an estimate of $96,920,525 to date. Although many new film releases can be categorized into sequels or prequels, Ready Player One offers a fresh new perspective on popular culture. The film is based on a novel of the same name, which was written by author Ernest Cline. The dystopian novel was first published on August 16, 2011. The book is set in 2044, and shares similarities with the film adaptation, which was penned by Cline and screenwriter Zak Penn. Kids, and those that are child-like at heart will love the rapid, action-packed feel of this film, while teens certainly will identify with the rebellious nature of the film’s tone. Other fans will love the plethora of video game references, ranging from more popular titles like Overwatch and Halo, to classics like Adventure and Atari.

Ready Player One kicks off in the year 2045, highlighting the harsh reality of a gritty neighborhood of stacked trailers. The story follows young Wade Watts, who uses a method of virtual reality to escape to the OASIS, a video game universe where anything is possible. In the film, fans soon learn that the OASIS was founded by the late genius named James Halliday. In his final acts, Halliday created a final quest for players to solve, revealing that he will bequeath the rights to the OASIS to the winner. When Wade links up with his friends, the High Five must work together to master the mystery of Halliday’s quests, and fight against IOI’s self-serving quest for world domination. The film is filled to the brim with heart racing action sequences, and the sleek graphics of the movie will certainly grab the attention of younger fans. However, although the running time is a bit long for kids, everyone will certainly be able to identify with the overarching themes in the piece.

The storyline between Wade, Samantha and his friends, shows that experiencing reality is the best part about in life, however harsh it may be, it’s real. In contrast to the pulsing action found in the OASIS, the film’s look at the real world offers a quiet, more reflective environment. The film does a stellar job at exploring some of the unspoken sentiments shared by many die hard geeks and gamers—the struggle to connect and relate to most of society. When Halliday softly explains why he created the OASIS, the scene is poignant and can definitely resonate with many nerds, to the core. 

Actor Tye Sheridan is a young up and coming actor who leads with conviction. The actor also appeared in X-Men: Apocalypse, where he starred as Scott Summers, or Cyclops. Sheridan was recently listed as one of Variety's 10 Actors to Watch, and has also starred in films such as The Tree of Life, Last Days in the Desert and Detour. This year, Sheridan appeared as Richie in Friday's Child, and will also play a role as Andy for The Mountain. Next up, Sheridan is set to reprise his role as Cyclops for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which is slated for release in 2019.

British actress Olivia Cooke plays a convincing role as Art3mis, or Samantha, in the film. Cooke first started acting with the television mini-series Blackout, and later with The Secret of Crickley Hall. After appearing in several films like The Signal, The Quiet Ones, and Ouija. Others may remember Olivia Cooke for her work as Rachel in the indie film, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl from 2015. Next up, Cooke will star as Becky Sharp in the television series, Vanity Fair. It was also recently announced that Cooke will appear as Alice Marble in Courting Danger and another film called Life Itself. 

The film also stars Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, who plays a solid villain as Sorrento. Most geeks will instantly recognize Mendelsohn as Director Orson Krennic from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Actress Lena Waithe knows how to make a powerful statement, and her appearance in Ready Player One is certainly no exception. Waithe is best known for her role of Denise on the television series, Master of None. In Ready Player One, Waithe's identity is kept under wraps for most of the film, and it was a refreshing twist to see her appear as Aech, or affectionately known as “H” or Helen. New clan members, such as Philip Zhao, who played Sho, and Win Morisaki as Daito, were charming additions to the film, albeit a little underused.

In today’s day and age, where most of the Hollywood industry is saturated with prequels, sequels and reboots, Ready Player One is definitely a refreshing tale. That being said, with a running time of 2 hours 20 minutes, the film may drag for some of the younger audience members. Personally, in our showing alone, we definitely saw quite a few kids getting a bit restless in the theater. The story unfolds much like a video game, with familiar sequences showing players rushing to master different levels, and to take on different types of challenging bosses. Pop culture aficionados will appreciate the massive amounts of easter eggs packed into this film. With amusing references to Stephen King’s adaptation of “The Shining” to more modern ones, like Minecraft or Overwatch, there’s something for everyone in Ready Player One

Written by Jade Nicolette 

Twitter: @nicolette_style

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