Every frame in Ready Player One is filled with intense action, great music, and tons of nostalgic references, which work together to craft an absolute blast of a film.
In high anticipation of Ready Player One, I revisited a few of Steven Spielberg’s older films. I watched Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park, and the first Indiana Jones. Re-watching these films reminded me that no other director than Spielberg can create a perfect blend of suspense and joy, linking them through incredible action sequences. It is also interesting to see how much technology has grown since the release of Jaws. Throughout the last 40 years, Steven Spielberg has been able to keep up and adapt to all the changes, yet keep his masterful storytelling abilities in the forefront.
Ready Player One is about life in the year 2045 when the world is overpopulated and it’s easier and more fun to live in a virtual world, known as the Oasis. The creator of the Oasis, before passing away, left behind three hidden keys, and whoever finds them gets control of the Oasis. The story is based around a group of kids who are working together to win in order to prevent the Oasis from being taken over by a big corporation who wants control for the wrong reasons.
The best part of this film is the action. There is a specific racing scene that is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It is purposeful, fast, and intense. In other movies today, action sequences are often filled with multiple things happening at once, which can take away from the focus and purpose of the scene. In Ready Player One, the action is clean cut, so you know exactly what to watch and why. The wonderful soundtrack and score of this film also enhance the action sequences.
The nostalgic references in the movie also helped make the movie very enjoyable. Many pop-culture characters, vehicles, and outfits appear in the movie (I loved seeing the Iron Giant). There are so many that it’s impossible to notice all of them in just one viewing. I truly loved the feel of adventure that is so rare in movies today.
The acting performances in this film are strong. From the two main “good guys,” Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke, to the main villain, Ben Mendelsohn, they all produce compelling characters that drive the story in a classic good vs. evil tale. But, the stand out performance comes from Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk). In previous films, Mark Rylance usually takes on subtle, traditional characters. However, in Ready Player One, he takes on a completely different role as the creator of the Oasis. His character has a next-level technological mind that cares about the craft of his creation more than anything else, and he absolutely nails it. He shines every second he is on-screen and controls a major presence even when not on-screen.
Because the film mostly takes place in the virtual reality world, some of the real-life character development is under-evolved. As a result, when I was supposed to care for these real-life characters, I often felt nothing at all. This led to some messages feeling forced because there was no real emotional connection. A film like Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc connects emotionally while also providing great action, and that is what makes it a classic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. I loved how much of an immersive experience it was. I felt like I was really in the Oasis alongside all the characters while they were searching for the hidden keys. The Steven Spielberg magic found in all of his classic films is alive and apparent in Ready Player One.