Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Ready Player One

Summary: In the year 2045, Earth has become a bit run down and the only method of escape is the virtual reality platform called OASIS. Like most of the world, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), under the pseudonym Parzival, frequents this world of wonder under the guise of a digital avatar, competes in games, hangs out with friends like Ache (REDACTED FOR SPOILERS), and buys upgrades and items for his avatar ripped straight from pop culture like Back to the Future’s own DeLorian. When the creator of OASIS, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), dies, his last will and testament says that he left an Easter Egg in the game and whoever finds it will become the owner of OASIS and all of the company attached to it. Parzival and Ache, along with many others in the game including a star player named Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), are searching desperately for the Egg and earn the name “Gunters,” (a mashup of “egg hunters”) but the megacorporation Innovative Online Industries lead by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) is looking for the Egg as well to use OASIS to expand their already obscene bank accounts. It’s a race to the finish as Gunters and IOI alike put every resource into finding that egg to determine the fate of OASIS and possibly the world.

Review: Ready Player One was many things and boring certainly wasn’t one of them. There’s loads to see on the screen and for the most part, they’re real eye-catchers. While I do think the film overall is good, though, it feels like there’s something missing and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Well, maybe after digging in to the meat of the movie, we can figure it out.

As alluded to before, the film is a visual wonderland packed with pop culture references and crisp animation. Everything in OASIS has an enticing scene that makes it look surreal and mystical, which makes sense because OASIS is meant to keep people playing in its world. The references are cleverly woven in too; instead of these famous icons being characters in their own right like Wreck-It Ralph, they’re appearance modifiers that they can buy with in-game or real world currency to enhance their experience. How the makers of OASIS acquired the rights to all these properties is anyone’s guess, but I digress.

The movie is also rich with commentary, some of it timely. One of IOI’s big reasons for wanting to get ownership of OASIS is to monetize the heck out of it with ads and extra incentives. In today’s era of gaming where microtransactions and pre-order incentives are prevalent ways to milk money from the players, this hits home. Not to mention, there’s a certain atmosphere of people who pay more real world money being better off in OASIS rings true as well, as quite a few modern games have been labeled “pay to win.” The other commentary in the movie is a little more basic and you’ve definitely heard it before — go outside once in a while, it’s not about winning but playing, evil corporations are evil, etc. I feel the topical ones are more important, but I suppose the other ones are necessary enough.

I do, of course have gripes. Some of them are minor; for instance, there’s a hardcore gamer with a beefed up avatar voiced by T.J. Miller and… man, is he the wrong voice. I get what they’re going for, having some “loser” voice this epic character, but I think he needed to be less laid back. Then there are some major points, like how IOI is able to get away with what are essentially human rights violations. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t remember the movie explaining how IOI got as powerful as it did. Considering how major of a player they are, that’s not something to be glossed over.

And finally, there’s Halliday himself, whose life is the key to finding the Egg. I don’t know how to put this lightly, but… he comes off as kind of a creep. It’s not just his voice and odd intonations (though those definitely bother me), it’s the fact that a big part of his puzzle revolves around his obsession with the wife of his friend and business partner (Simon Pegg). He had a date with her and blew it, causing her to become “The One That Got Away” and I’ve got to say, that’s a pretty weak excuse to be fixated on someone, particularly after they’ve died. Say what you will about Severus Snape, but at least his heartache partially stems from the guilt of getting her killed. Halliday didn’t kiss one woman and couldn’t move past her, even after both of them died. Am I alone in finding this uncomfortable?

Again, I had fun overall and the gripes certainly didn’t ruin my time, so that’s still a net positive. I do have to wonder if Spielberg was the right person to work on such a pop culture heavy movie, since he’s not much of an aficionado on what’s popular today. I’m told that there are numerous liberties taken from the book, though you might be fine with that, depending on how much you liked the book to begin with. Also, this thing does have numerous pop culture references and I’m not sure how well they’ll age. I was entertained, but I suppose I’d understand if you’d want to eject this game.

Fun Tidbit: There were tons of references in the foreground and background, but I’m going to focus on the one with the most meaning. One in-game challenge that revolves around the egg and Halliday’s lost love is more or less a re-creation of The Shining. Apart from it being Halliday’s tribute to her, this was also Spielberg’s tribute to The Shining’s director Stanley Kubrick. The two were very close in life and even collaborated on the movie A.I., which also exists as a tribute as Spielberg finished the movie after Kubrick’s death and tried his best to maintain his vision on the project.

Goto Home Page
Posted under

Social Widgets powered by