Ready Player One is a movie made specially for me. I love underdog stories. I love a good quest story. I love a good band/gang/team. I love nostalgia. I love 80s-90s pop culture. I love the idea of a virtual world existing in a grimy, worn-down real world. And for the most part, Ready Player One’s ace is Steven Spielberg because he has the knack of creating child-like wonder in his adventure movies. And Ready Player One relies heavily on that sense of wonder for the VR (virtual reality) world and for the world of the 80s and 90s. And yes, it was pretty fantastic, the Oasis, visuals-wise. And all that nostalgia for the past can leave you well and truly high.
But see, the problem lies in the characters themselves and how flimsy, and how stereotypically written. Parzival / Wade Watts is a tad forgettable, Art3mis started off great, a strong female lead with well-defined goals; but ends up being that girl who gets saved by the guy, Aech has a lot of potential to be another awesome supporting character but they opted not to giver her much of anything else beyond being the occasional comic relief, Daito and Sho barely even registered to me. The villain though, I love because it is deliciously played by Ben Mendelsohn, the Christoph Waltz of today. And there is really nowhere to go with a baddie like Nolan Sorrento except to be like an 80s movie villain as much as you can. And Mendelsohn does it in spades. But yeah, you don’t really feel that much of an urge to root for any of the Hi-5. And that takes the air out of all the quests.
I also wasn’t expecting the movie adaptation to be so terribly schmaltzy. I mean, I am okay with friendship and rainbows and kisses. But I feel like the movie overdid it. To prevent from spoiling anything, let’s just say I was peeved by the whole “make the leap” / “Kira” thing. I mean sure, that could have been Halliday’s biggest regret, but did anyone ever consider what Kira had to say about Halliday? Geez. It feels like ladies are a non-entity here.
But weirdly enough, I also loved that “make the leap” / “Kira” thing because it involved this sequence where the avatars had to make their way inside a classic horror film of old. And this was the first time where I truly felt how much pop culture means to the creators and to us, the audience. And really, you don’t even need to have seen said classic horror film to appreciate this sequence.
Tye Sheridan who plays Parzival / Wade Watts said in an interview that everybody should go see Ready Player One because it has all these 80s-90s pop culture used in such a fun way, but at the core of the movie is humanity. I agree that the movie is fun and entertaining, definitely. In a Transformers sensory overload kind of way, for the most part, only more geeky. But I didn’t find the “humanity” that much. And when that ending came, the more I felt strongly about this. To those who have seen this movie, talk to me in the comments section below! Because I need to discuss that darned ending (and the rest of the movie)!
Rating: 3/5 Stars