It was perfect timing to have a movie filled with easter eggs come out during Easter weekend. Now that we’ve all had time to watch Ready Player One this past weekend, let’s take a deep look at the good and the bad parts of it.
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Ready Player One is set in the distant future and shows a world filled with turmoil despair. To escape this horrible reality, everyone spends their time playing the virtual reality game known as “The Oasis.” Wade Watts is an avid player of the game who searches for easter eggs with his best friend, H. When the game’s developer creates a scavanger hunt with the grand prize being ownership of the Oasis, Wade teams up with old and new friends to compete for the greatest easter egg of all time.
This movie is filled to the brim with pop culture references. It’s almost impossible to find every single reference in one viewing. Every environment brings a sweet feeling of nostalgia that is well coordinated into the central plot. My personal favorite was the recreation of the hotel from The Shining. The best part about the movie’s references is that it includes every generation of the audience in the fun. There’s no way anyone can watch Ready Player One without understanding at least one reference.
While the world of Ready Player One may be vibrant and dynamic, its characters are not quite the same. None of the characters seem bad, but only one or two of them stand out as fun or unique. H had lots of funny moments and added a lot of humor to the action, like her freakout in the hotel from The Shining. I-R0K was an intimidating, yet funny villian and I felt like he could have been much more than just a henchman. The romance between Wade and Samantha felt very pushed. Some of their dialogue felt completely random. One exapmle was Samantha acting excited about dancing with Wade at the night club and flirting with him, then a few moments later yelling at him about how “this is not a game.”
The writing for the film blends tropes of classic adventure films with more modern themes. Wade’s journey and his prize at the end felt very much like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The movie also did a decent job at presenting a message about the distinction between reality and fiction. I got very invested in the correlation between the keys and the events of the developer’s life. The downside of the writing is that it takes a lot of baby steps with the story and it results in the movie running a bit longer than it should have. Also, the use of older tropes brings in quite a bit of cheesiness.
The visual effects of Ready Player One are stunning! The animation makes the human characters seem fairly life-like and blends the different pop culture characters without making the world seem disjointed. Some of the best animation came from The Iron Giant fighting Mechagodzilla and the car race. The action sequences are accompanied by great classic rock music from bands like Van Halen and Twisted Sister. The music fuels the nostalgia even more.
Ready Player One may be pretty weak in the presentation of its characters, but the amazing visuals, classic adventure theme and immense pop culture references make it worth the watch.
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