READY PLAYER ONE
Academy Award Winner Steven Spielberg introduces us to a quirky, glitzy; fast-action film, “Real Player One,” that will appeal to those who remember the 1980’s fondly because the movie is riddled with references to eighties and nineties cultural phenomena. If you like the comic book movies, you will like this film.
In the year 2045, the real world is a junk yard. To escape this dismal reality, people escape to OASIS, an immersive virtual universe. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination. One young man, Wade Watts, (Tye Sheridan) lives in Columbus, Ohio with his aunt and her abusive boyfriend in the Stacks, a group of trailers piled on top of one another. Wade uses OASIS to get away from his miserable reality.
OASIS was created by the brilliant eccentric computer genius James Halliday (Academy Award Winner, Sir Mark Rylance), who has died. He has left his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find three keys that will open the way to an Easter egg and ownership of OASIS. I got the sense that the Halliday character is based on Mark Zuckerberg and facebook.
Wade joins the race to gain control of OASIS with the help of four friends: Sho, (Philip Zhao), Aech, (Lena Waithe) Art3mis, (Olivia Clark), and Daito (Win Morisaki) called the High Five. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friend are destined to conflict with IOI (innovation Online Industries and their CEO, Sorrento, (Ben Mendelsohn).
According to the internet movie data base, there was some flap over Tye Sheridan being chosen as the lead actor. The casting company advertised that they wanted an unknown actor as the lead raising the hopes of many wannabees. The day after auditions concluded, it was announced that experienced actor Tye Sheridan was chosen for the lead dashing the hopes of many aspiring actors.
One surprise for me was the selection of the musical director, Alan Silvestri. On a PBS program, Spielberg stated that all his movies are always scored by Academy Award Winner John Williams. Williams was slated to score “Ready Player One” but left to work on another Spielberg film, “The Post.”
The audience loved this film. All the men I talked with were crazy about it. I thought it was too long at 2 hours and 20 minutes. I would like to have seen about a half hour on the cutting room floor.
I was underwhelmed by the script. It had some very funny lines and the references to earlier movies were entertaining but I thought it dragged in the middle. I also had trouble hearing some of the dialogue. I met one woman who said she was going to come to this again to hear all she missed.
“Ready Player One” will be a technical blockbuster but it is not the “instant classic” that the trailers promised. It is opening this weekend at AMC Showplace Edwardsville, Jerseyville Stadium Theater and Granite City Cine.