Yesterday, I went and saw Ready Player One with some friends on the recommendation of my brother. You see, my brother has been letting me know repeatedly that this is a movie I would very much appreciate and I definitely did.
“In the year 2045, people can escape their harsh reality in the OASIS, an immersive virtual world where you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination. OASIS creator James Halliday left his immense fortune and control of the Oasis to the winner of a contest designed to find a worthy heir. When unlikely hero Wade Watts conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-known as the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.”
Based on the novel with the same name by Ernest Cline, this book is an 80s treasure trove of pop culture references. Every song on the soundtrack was absolutely familiar, as were most of the vehicles used in the first challenge, and so many of the avatars and scenery. I laughed through most of the movie, sometimes at parts other people weren’t laughing at.
I’m not sure how old Wade is supposed to be in the movie, maybe close to 17-20 or so? I mean, the movie told us when he was born and the current year in the movie, but that would require me to do mental math during a beautifully done video game movie and that’s just not happening. Wade/Parzival is very young and naïve, for all that he’s the main character in the movie. He also falls in love with the first pretty girl who gives him the time of day, which I think is a fairly accurate depiction of video gaming men who interact with video gaming women and why so many women choose male avatars in order to avoid the (often annoying) advances or ridicule of their male counterparts. I have not read the book but I hope that Wade and Samantha’s relationship in the book is perhaps slightly less cliché. I also very much enjoyed Aech’s role in the movie, both in the OASIS and in the real world. Aech’s workshop in the OASIS was fantastic and filled with so many easter eggs that I look forward to being able to own this movie when it comes out just so I can press pause all the time and find all the tiny details. I also very much enjoyed Aech’s reaction to Parzival bringing Art3mis/Samantha to the shop and showing Art3mis everything. Aech brings up a good point that you only see online what people want you to see and you are only who you pretend to be online. People’s “real” identity is often concealed and even Parzival gets lectured when he tells Art3mis his real name.
It was enjoyable but I suspect that if I think about it longer, I’ll be more annoyed at some of the things this movie lacked, like 80s pop culture references for women. (Seriously. Where were the Care Bears? Or My Little Pony? She-Ra? Madonna? King’s Quest?) While I do recognize and acknowledge that getting the rights to put in just the references they did probably took a good chunk of their abilities, it might have been nice to see more from a not historically male-dominated part of the 80s.
Overall, this movie was a wonderful hat tip to 80s pop culture. I would probably rate this movie as a high three or even maybe a low four on my rating scale. I might watch it again in the theaters and I will definitely purchase it when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray.