“Ready Player One”: A Spielberg Classic I Didn’t See Coming

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This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Tye Sheridan in a scene from “Ready Player One,” a film by Steven Spielberg. (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

I have to admit that when I first saw the previews for “Ready Player One,” I was not really impressed. I just thought that it was another movie aimed at teens who are into video games, but then at the end of the trailer, it flashes “Directed by Steven Spielberg,” and all of a sudden, I was really interested.

Let’s just discuss Spielberg for a second. I mean, the man is known by only his last name. His career of movie directing is one of the most spectacular in the history of movie-making. Movies like “Jaws,” “E.T.,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Poltergeist,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” and “Indiana Jones” are all iconic movies. That’s just scratching the surface. Even his less popular films are great, like “The Color Purple,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Munich,” and “Lincoln.”

“Ready Player One” takes place in the year 2045, and the “real” world, especially for poor people is a pretty crappy place to live. But, there is an alternate universe called The Oasis where you can log into via virtual reality and, using avatars, become whoever you want.

The creator of The Oasis left behind three tests that led to three keys and three clues that would win the victor the ultimate Easter Egg: Control of the Oasis and a gigantic payday.

There is a large corporation called IOI who hires (enslaves) players to try and find the Easter Egg in The Oasis, but there are millions of players, some who partnered up or some out on their own, trying to get to the clues.

The main character in the movie is Wade (avatar name Perzival), who has a terrible life in the real world. But in The Oasis, he is a very skilled player and a loner who refuses to join a clan.

His best friend in the game is “H,” a large almost half-robot/ half-purple-hulk, who is also a great inventor.

Wade then meets up with Art3mis, who is trying to stop IOI from winning and controlling The Oasis. Perzival and his group of friends join Art3mis to find the clues and stop IOI from controlling The Oasis.

I don’t want to give too much away of the movie. I do want to mention that Spielberg does a great job of mixing in the virtual world with the real world. The movie bounces back and forth in a seamless way so that you don’t feel like you are watching a video game the whole time.

What I liked about the movie (Spoilers ahead):

– If you are into pop culture like I am, then your head is going to explode with all the cameos that you see in The Oasis. This movie must have cost them $100 million in royalties alone! Just one example: my favorite video of all time is “Street Fighter” and I saw Blanka, Chun-Li, and there is a Ryu power-up movie in a fight scene!

– There is a tribute to the movie “The Shining” that is just out of control. It was meticulously accurate to the movie and so well done, like a video game inside the movie.

– Watching “The Iron Giant” (1999 film of the same name; if you have seen this movie, you know what a great character this is) in a massive fight scene was the best part of the movie. It was great watching The Iron Giant on the big screen kicking butt using all his powers.

Things that could’ve been better:

– The whole “the future is terrible” in movies is so overplayed. I am tired of every movie making the future terrible. It’s not true. The future is great! I wish they would show that just once in a movie. Twenty years ago, people drove around lost for hours. Now everyone has GPS on their phones and never get lost. That is better, not worse. Technology has made the future a better place. It’s up to humans what they do with it.

– There was some over explaining in the movie. I get that it may be a younger audience, but let’s leave some mystery for the audience to figure out or work it into the story. For example, when Wade says his avatar name of Perzival for the first time, Art3mis says, “Like, the Knight of the Holy Grail who went looking for it by himself.” You can use this dialogue to explain how some of the technology works or how it was invented.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. Spielberg is a genius. His reputation is so well established that any movie he directs is worth watching. Also, we watched this movie in 3D and I think it made it even better. The effects are well done and really show in 3D.

The Academy Award for Best Line in a Movie goes to Sho for “Ninjas don’t hug!” (I already want the t-shirt!)

Rating this movie on a scale of video game/alternate reality movies with “Pixels” (2015; Damn you, Adam Sandler! What happened to your career?) being a 2 and “The Matrix” (1999, shout out to Keanu Reeves for an iconic character as Neo) being a hard 10, I would give “Ready Player One” an 8.2.

That is just a few decimal points behind “Inception” (2010).

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