Ready Player One – review

When thinking of great directors, Steven Spielberg immediately comes to mind. With credits ranging from Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and Minority Report, this is justifiably so. Ready Player One, based on the novel by Ernest Cline, is his latest foray and it taps into a world not yet ventured by Spielberg.

Ready Player One takes place in the near future where life has become desolate and squalid for many people. As such, a particularly popular virtual reality open world, named the OASIS, has become a very popular form of escapism. This has become so popular that there is a huge amount of money, power, and cultural impact that this virtual world has. The former creator of the OASIS has created a sort of scavenger hunt within the virtual world and whomever completes it first will be given full real world ownership of the OASIS. This attracts everyone from poverty-stricken individuals to large corporations to try and win the game.

The film overall is fun enough with enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes. It has a very Disney-esque vibe where things never really get that complicated or deep. The film serves as a giant soup bowl full of pop culture references – which is honestly the best part of the film. Viewing all the momentary movie and gaming references is quite fun.

Despite all this, Ready Player One never really takes things to the next level, which is largely due to poorly configuring who the target audience is. For a broad, general audience, the fact that this movie is all about video games and virtual reality avatars is going to be a turnoff. For video game aficionados, there will be momentary bright spots when certain references are seen or verbalized, but the whole overall setting and story arc is way too superficial. While the notion of a thriving VR world may seem novel to some people, you are going to need more than that to attract cult interest from the gaming community. Likewise, the Disney-esque feeling at times seems like it could have done better if it had targeted a PG rating with a younger audience.

Ready Player One is fun to watch, but most people are probably ever going to watch it once. Spielberg obviously doesn’t need to prove anyone to anything at this point, but it just feels like more could have been done with this film.

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