“Ready Player One” brings up interesting questions, and for most of the movie, it doesn’t seem to be a question it really wants to answer. Is it healthy to be able to do anything you want or to be anyone you want? Are you the avatar you choose for yourself, or are you still what you’ve left behind in the real world?
Steven Spielberg still knows how to direct action, even when the it’s as ridiculously over-the-top as it is here. It doesn’t have the weightlessness of many superhero movies—the sort of action that doesn’t feel real. Maybe it does have that weightless quality, but because the action takes place in virtual reality, the weightlessness doesn’t feel contrived. The action is intense and exciting, the same quality of action that Spielberg’s been bringing to the screen since “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Let’s talk references, because “Ready Player One” has a few. Overall I found them pretty funny, and you might, too, depending on how involved you are in pop culture. The main characters themselves are deeply into pop culture, especially from the 1980s. They barely mention pop culture from now until the 2040s, when the movie takes place, but shhh … none of that really matters. “Ready Player One” does a lot of dismissive handwaving. When they establish a concept like ‘the Oasis,’ a concept so vast that it’s taken over our world, it’s hard not to ask questions. We have a great idea of where the world is now, and we have a good idea of where the world is in the movie; but we have very little idea of how Point A became Point B, and it’s natural to want to know.
For such an exciting movie, “Ready Player One” has little in the way of surprises, other than left-field references. That’s the real allure of the movie. That, and its supporting characters, who are all far more interesting than the leads and main villains. Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller clearly improvised all of his lines and is probably the most interesting character in the movie. Miller plays himself playing a badass in the Oasis with over-the-top visuals and powers. This imaginativeness of the setting is the main reason you should consider seeing “Ready Player One.”
You’ll like this movie if:
–You enjoy escapism.
–You take pleasure in the joys of nerd culture and want something even heavier on references than “Wreck-It Ralph.”
–You’re looking for an exciting action-adventure where one man takes on the system.
Skip this movie if:
–You hated “Spy Kids 3” with a passion.
–You expect the depth of classic Spielberg.
–You think the standard media representation of nerd culture is more reductive than healthy.