Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Principal Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance
The Year is 2044, to escape their humdrum, poverty stricken lives, the Earth’s population spends most of its time in a VR world known as The OASIS. Here you can be anybody and do anything – fight in huge battle – check, take part in a high speed car race – you got it, fly to another planet – no problem. So when its eccentric creator (Mark Rylance) dies, he leaves behind a series of near impossible challenges with the promise of nothing less than ownership of OASIS to whoever solves all of them. Enter young Wade Watts (Sheridan) who joins forces with a group of revolutionaries led by Olivia Cooke’s Art3mis, in a quest to win the biggest competition of all time
The Good: Theres lots to love here – visually its stunning, the OASIS is a feast for the eyes, full of clever Easter Eggs that any dedicated film geek worth his salt will absolutely adore – the Delorean from Back To The Future, the pulse rifles from Aliens, KIng Kong, Freddy Krueger, Chucky, the glave from Krull – even the Charm of Making from Excalibur gets thrown in. The acting is also very good – Sheridan and Cooke make for engaging leads, Mendelsohn is his usual evil self as the principal baddie and naturally Mark Rylance puts in another brilliant, faultless performance that proves yet again that he is one of the greatest actors working today.
The bad: One could easily accuse Spielberg of some very lazy film making here – movies set in the future featuring an abundance of virtual reality worlds have been done so many times before in the likes of The Matrix, Tron, Lawnmower Man and Inception that means none of what happens in Ready Player One comes across as particularly original or ground breaking. Not only that but i found it very hard to root for any of the characters, yes i’ll admit that the principal cast are very good in their respective roles but unfortunately the characters they play are too thinly drawn and are desperately lacking in much needed depth and back story.
Finally, and most disappointing of all are the somewhat dull action set pieces, which on the whole were more than a bit generic and certainly not what one would expect from Steven Spielberg – who, lets face it , does have a well deserved reputation as being one of the greatest action directors that has ever lived
Review Summary: Without doubt Ready Player One is a pretty good film, with a great cast who act their socks off, impressive visuals, and lots of cool classic film references, plus it stands head and shoulders above recent dross like Transformers 5 and Pacific Rim 2. However considering that its directed by Steven Spielberg, one has to say that pretty good just aint good enough. In my humble opinion he has completely lost his touch when it comes to directing big budget blockbusters – which has been all too painfully evident in the likes of The Lost World, Minority Report, War Of The Worlds and especially Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. One can only hope that he regains some of his mojo when we finally get to see the recently announced fifth chapter in the Indiana Jones franchise – one can only hope.
So in summary i would recommend seeing Ready Player One, certainly its worth a trip to the multiplex as that’s where it deserves to be seen – just don’t go expecting vintage Spielberg.
Best Scene: Every one featuring Mark Rylance.
Worth Paying to see at the cinema?: Yes
Worth buying on Blu Ray/DVD?: Probably – but personally i wouldn’t rush out to buy it at full price
See this if you are a film buff and liked: Tron, The Lawnmower Man, Inception
Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek