4 = Great; 3 = Good; 2 = Fair; 1 = Poor; 0 = Ooh, let’s not go there
Star Rating: 3.5/4
“Ready Player One” is a love letter to pop culture. Instances like this are not uncommon. Several directors have made one in their entire career. Steven Spielberg has now made his. The latest film in his career works like “Tron” (1982) in the sense that it absorbs us into an entirely new world and makes us feel that we are part of it. Although that is the basic premise of this feature, Spielberg shows us his talent by evoking a wide, genuine range of emotions to keep our attention.
Tye Sheridan’s portrayal of Wade is rather nostalgic in a sense, as this film makes various pop culture references, Sheridan’s well-played performance definitely adds to it. Even though his character doesn’t feel entirely realized and could have gone in more poignant routes.
Spielberg is a director who is very good at his job. The reason why is that he knows how he wants his audiences to feel at certain moments. For example, there is a scene where he references “The Shining” (1980) and another one where he makes a nod to “Child’s Play” (1988). Both are creepy and objectively frightening. Another reference he makes to “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (1991) simply makes us chuckle while one instance where he parodies “Alien” (1979) is quite funny. All the other ones develop a sense of amazement of how he brings it all together. I believe that great Spielberg films have a sense of wonder within them. “Ready Player One” may not qualify as such, but it is undeniably impressive to watch everything unfold.
The world we are sucked into is amazing to look at. Its visuals are beautiful and cinematographer Janus Kaminski makes everything appear absolutely gorgeous. I mentioned “Tron” (1982) a little earlier because it’s a movie I liked due to its art direction. It did make me feel like I was in a video game and it left me baffled by that feeling. With “Ready Player One”, we are sucked into a video game as well. The movie has more scenes inside the OASIS than in real life and this goes back to an idea the film wants to convey: living in ‘la la land’ and dealing with the real world.
It is rather ironic to make a statement such as that one due to the fact that people tended to see movies in the theater to get away from daily life. I have done that many times. How we as an audience use movie theaters as escapism parallels the film’s overall message. The message of this film is to try and live the life the world has already given us and try to find the good in it.