Movie Review: Ready Player One
For those who have yet to watch Ready Player One, catch it.
This sci-fi adventure shows Steven Spielberg hasn't lost his game, and at 71, he proves again that he's still a prolific film-maker who knows how to entertain.
Ready Player One hit US$180 million (S$236 million) at the global box office after a week, and the figure will only grow.
An adaptation of Ernest Cline's popular novel, the story is told through the eyes of teenager Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a friendless orphan living in an impoverished community.
The setting is a place where people spend most of their time in the virtual reality world Oasis in which they live out their fantasies.
Its creator, the revered James Halliday (Mark Rylance) leaves a will that bequeaths his entire fortune and ownership of Oasis to the player who can find an Easter egg (a term for a secret undocumented feature in a computer game) after cracking three immensely difficult challenges.
Naturally, everyone wants to take a shot at that.
Wade, via his avatar Parzival, along with his virtual friends - mechanical genius Aech (Lena Waithe), spunky redhead Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), and a pair of ninja brothers Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao) - attempt to crack the codes before giant corporation IOI (Innovative Online Industries) and its head, Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), get the prize.
What makes Ready Player One fun is trying to spot as many pop culture references as possible. And Spielberg litters the film with hundreds of them, from movies (even his own) to TV shows, from anime and comics to video games and toys.
This movie will appeal to otakus, movie buffs, gaming nerds and music fans - not to mention anyone who grew up in the 80s. There's something for everyone.
I personally love his homage to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and the spectacular climactic battle which sees the Iron Giant and Gundam take on Nolan's avatar, Mechagodzilla.
That said, the human players are not as compelling as their avatars, and the moments between the reel and real world are quite disconnected.
Spielberg's message about not losing touch with reality and corporate takeovers may be too obvious, but the glorious visuals will captivate you to the end.
Rating : 3.5/5
MOVIE: Ready Player One
STARRING: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe
DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
THE SKINNY: In the dystopian future of 2045, people escape from their harsh reality via the Oasis, an immersive virtual world, where you can be anyone, anything and anywhere. All is good until Oasis faces the threat of a corporate takeover.