Ready Player One image

The new sci-fi adventure Ready Player One foresees a possible future shaped by virtual reality and nostalgia.

An important role of science fiction is to look at elements of the current culture and see how they will develop in the future. And because the story of Twitter and Trump has already been too unpredictable, author Ernest Cline and director Steven Spielberg have made a movie about nostalgia and virtual reality called Ready Player One.

The story is of one Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager obsessed with '80s pop culture living in 2045. In this future, everyone spends as much time as possible in a virtual reality known as the OASIS that is more or less a gigantic video game version of the internet. Set to appear after his death, the OASIS's creator (Mark Rylance) presented a puzzle that will make the winner the primary shareholder of the OASIS.

In order to succeed, this movie had to do one thing extremely well: computer generated characters. Although CG characters can often be slightly off or unconvincing, the crew of Ready Player One have managed to create likeable and memorable VR avatars through the characters' soulful eyes and distinct mannerisms. In a cast of excellent performances, Olivia Cooke's "Art3mis" definitely steals the show as the female lead that does much more than serve as an object of the hero's affection. 

Outside of that, just about everything in the movie is just ok. The story is fine but doesn't ever develop potentially deeper themes; the world is interesting but is rarely developed outside of blunt dialogue; and the action is fun but way too hectic to stick in your mind and lacks weight. That last one is the most frustrating because a lot of the big set pieces have great ideas, but all of the moving pieces did not always interact convincingly (except for a brilliant scene that takes place within a famous horror movie).

Bring all of this together, and Ready Player One isn't anything mind-blowing, but through it's great characters (both real and CG) and creative ideas, it should please anyone looking for another Spielberg adventure. Although it doesn't comment as effectively as a lot of sci-fi, it does give a glimpse of how both apathy and empathy can influence society. As far as cinematic experiences go, there are much worse than this one.

Vox Rating: VVV (3/5)

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