Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2018 science fiction film starring Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke.

Synopsis: In the year 2045, the majority of the population finds an escape in a virtual reality world known as the Oasis. Many of them spend their time searching for three keys left behind by the world's now-deceased creator with the promise whoever finds the keys will control the Oasis. When a rival corporation pools all its resources in an effort to find the keys and essentially take control of both the Oasis and the real world, a group of gamer friends team up to stop them. They have success but their efforts also put their lives at risk.

Who's In It?

Review

I didn't know a whole lot about this film when we got it on DVD through Netflix and mostly only had it on my list because my oldest daughter wanted to see it. Both because I had some doubts about it and because of the longer runtime (who the heck has nearly 2 1/2 hours to watch a movie?) it wound up sitting by our TV for more than a month. However, we finally got around to watching it last night and I have to say it is one of the better modern movies I've watched.

I think the thing that really impressed me about this film is the concept really isn't that far fetched. Social media does dominate today's culture and, if someone were to take it a step further and create a world where people could interact with each other and play games together in a virtual setting, I could see it reaching the levels shown in this film. Along with that, the economic value of such a thing makes a rival company's efforts to control it just as believable, even though the main bad guy, Nolan Sorrento (Mendelsohn) did wind up reminding me a bit of Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants.

Another thing I found I liked about this movie was the way the plot avoided being too predictable. One of the reasons I'm usually a little hesitant about watching science fiction movies is many filmmakers think awesome special effects will hide a weak script. This film, however, had a lot of twists and turns, some great dialog and a good mix of action, comedy and even a little romance.

I especially loved the contest the virtual world's creator, Halliday (Mark Rylance), put into play with his death, mostly because I enjoy a good mystery. When I first heard the movie mention the three keys, I figured it would simply be three complex challenges. The fact the players had to first figure out what those challenges were by finding clues in his past was something that just made the movie much more interesting because the players would sometimes find themselves trying to complete a quest only to find out later they were wrong about what the quest was in the first place.

I even found I enjoyed the ending of this film, which, lately at least, seems to be an issue with many films. Watching the hero, Wade (Sheridan), trying to find that last key in the virtual world while his life was in danger in the real world was actually a lot more intense than I was expecting, though I did find I liked how the movie did taper it off a bit by throwing in a little bit of comedy too. When we started watching this movie, I had half expected to be falling asleep halfway through it. I was on the edge of my seat at the end. And, I can't say that about a lot of films.

Final Opinion

I had my doubts. But, this ended up being a fantastic movie that everyone in my family enjoyed watching. I highly recommend taking the time to watch it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 05/11/2019, StevenHelmer
 
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