You see this sexy looking movie in the arcade, so of course you put your hard coins into Ready Player One, so what happens? Well, the movie start this movie off with a short hint of world-building, our protagonist Wade Watts, the new member of Hot-losers-Who-Would-Still-Get-Tail-In-Real-Life league, summarizes our world. So basically in the not too distant future*wink*, the world basically sucks and the only solace is the VR game world called The Oasis. So essentially all the mistakes we made to our economy and the world is booming down on us, so the world then decides to lock itself up in a game…. hmmm fair enough, sounds like a gamer. Now the Steve Jobs of the gaming dies leaving a hunt for tons of money and the control of the game. Simple! In fact, it’s strangely simple with little to replace it with.
Level 1: Reference Creek
Now a disclaimer, I am a gamer who has not read the book, so I’m the target audience. The first thing the internet went on about in the trailers were the references. To be fair, I too was rewinding the trailer over and over again seeing what I could catch. Also in the movie anytime there was a wide shot I was scanning everything making sure I don’t miss a thing. It ALMOST distracted me from the movie’s…. everything else – we’ll come back to that. There were some moments that got me all kiddy again, with references during some battles and just seeing different games and movies all merging into a smorgasbord of coolness. I’ll say despite the movie being filled with easter eggs and such, it never got too much.
Level 2: Character Road
Now about that everything else, the hunt for the trials were a bit odd. The clues the game gives you were something we viewers couldn’t have figured out so which always annoys me but fine. Our main male lead, Wade, demonstrates his huge fandom for the creator earlier, and I assume this was supposed to prepare us as he Gary Stu’s his way through the movie. Not only is this boy a fan but he is borderline force-linked*wink* to his hero’s now dead brain. Some revelations that he came across had me raising my eyebrow and there were too many lines like, “he wouldn’t this,” or “he wasn’t the type to,” assuming that any fan would know their idol on such a personal level without actually meeting them. FINE! I’ll play ball, he, with all the distress coming his way, seemed at time unaffected by his losses or only slightly bothered by it. The supporting cast was better off in small doses but the more we dove into them, the flatter (but likable) they seemed but also the more terrible (but terrible) their lines and acting showed.
Level 3: Story’s Castle
The story overall was cute, and that’s okay! The theme presented to us left me unsure of what the movie wanted to say. It led more along on the lines of, ignoring reality and getting lost in fantasy, but no one really had trouble with the disparity of the two. No one held the game as their obsessions in a practical way. They showed us a deadbeat wasting his money on one of the game challenges but that could have been anything, drugs, alcohol or even gambling. I then thought the game wanted to tackle how corporations sully the pure essence of gaming, which is to game. Now, this makes sense with the movie but only near the very end. The whole trial banks on someone winning but then at the end, the creator backtrack and say it’s never about winning but just playing. It finishes with a shot of our main leads in the world enjoy real life. This is odd because it’s a bad look for a movie about gamers. The world starts in anxiety and confusion, as our lead cant wait to jump into the game. It ends with them in a room with no games in sight thus it almost painted that his improved version of himself is one without gaming – from a strictly visual standpoint.
Bonus Level: Destroy the Summary Car
The villains were super evil because the law enforcement only appeared when the plot needed them to. The romance fed into an idea that hot people are destined to always be together no matter what statistics say. Lastly, despite the pockets of slow moments, the side characters being cringy, and the over-the-top evil guys… I still enjoyed it overall. The amazing set pieces, lovely references and amazing gift of T.J. Miller kept this movie afloat. This movie isn’t for everyone, it’s probably only for geeks, movie buffs, and gamers but I still think it’s still a decent movie. I say that because it had three moments where I forgot I was watching a movie and I was enthralled by the world. I was captivated by all that was happening and it wasn’t until that moment ended that I stepped back to realize, yes I am watching a movie. Now THAT… hasn’t happened in a long time. Perhaps I let my guard down because again, disclaimer, I’m catching all these references and smirking at most of them.