Ready Player One Review
I’m not going to lie, I have been getting a bit fed up of how Spielberg has recently dedicated himself to American history films, such as Lincoln and The Post. So when I heard that he was at the helm of a film about virtual reality, I was instantly excited. It made me think of the good old days, where Spielberg concentrated on more adventure-like films, such as Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. I can honestly say that my excitement was not wasted on Spielberg’s recent adventure flick, Ready Player One. Not only did it capture the good old days of Spielberg, but it was also an awesome take on where the future could head.
Ready Player One is set in 2045 and stars Tye Sheridan, an actor many will probably only be familiar with from his portrayal of Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse. Tye plays Wade aka Parzival, a boy who lives in a wasteland of a town, where all everyone is interested in is entering a virtual reality world called OASIS, similar to the rest of the world. When the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves behind treasure hunt within his virtual world, leaving the players to find 3 keys which will grant the person who finds all 3 keys first, the ownership of OASIS. With Tye Aka Parzival (the name of his OASIS Avatar) being a huge fan of the VR Architect, Halliday, played by a Spielberg favourite, Mark Rylance, it gives him a huge advantage within in this huge scale hunt.
One of the highlights of Ready Player One, was how it concentrated on all things 80s, one of my favourite eras. I may not have been born in the 80s, but the talent and creativity that has come from this period is incredible, making it one of the most inspiring times and, in turn, making sense why the OASIS is themed round this generation. Not only did it hint to some of my favourite artists, such as Michael Jackson and Prince, it also hinted towards some of my all time favourite films, with one in particular; Back to the Future. Not only is the legendary time machine, the DeLorean, Parzival’s main mode of transport, the score is massively inspired by the iconic trilogy. I’ll touch more on the score shortly.
Not only is Ready Player One focused around the 80’s, it also has a huge classic video game vibe running through it, which really resonated with me, being a fairly keen gamer myself. There was nods to characters from the Halo franchise and weapons from Gears of War, to name a few. Alongside the hints to classic videogames, the challenges Parzival had set out for him to find these keys were brilliantly created, really cementing that computer game feel I am extremely familiar with.
One of the biggest negatives I have with the film is it’s length to story ratio. Even though it had some great draws, which hit home with me on a personal level, I felt the story wasn’t strong enough to carry out the length of the film without it dragging slightly. This was especially as most of the film was set in this CGI world, which at some point made it feel like I was watching a video game, and not a huge budget blockbuster. But to be honest, these are just minor gripes with a film I enjoy a lot.
Now on to the score, which was composed by Alan Silvestri, who is, in fact, the legendary composer who came up with the iconic Back to the Future score, therefore making him a perfect choice for this film. It really captured the feel of the film, that 80s style, as mentioned before. The way Silvestri pulled from his score for Back to the Future, whilst keeping it unique was really impressive, and was a huge selling point for me.
There may be a lot of people that didn’t really get Ready Player One, due to them not being interested in many of the themes they strongly punch throughout the film, but for me, these themes were spot on. Spielberg used nostalgia in the perfect way, not to get cheap thrills, but to be the icing on a brilliant new concept on where the world is potentially heading. This film may have not been the next Jurassic Park for the multiple-Oscar-Award-winning director, but it was certainly the step in the right direction: away from historical-based films!