*The following review contains spoilers*
It’s been a while. But I’m back! I was writing my review on mother! but then thought I needed a second viewing (which hasn’t happened yet) so that’s coming hopefully in the near future. But my review today was something I’d never thought I’d write because I was never going to see this film. However my friend dragged me along to it (hi Jess), and because I’m such a nice person, I went. Who am I to pass up a cinema experience? I had never read the book or seen the trailer or had a clue what this film was about. I was not looking forward to this film. But after the credits rolled, I was pleasantly surprised.
Ready Player One is set in 2045 and the VR game (OASIS) has taken over the world. When its creator (Mark Rylance) dies, he challenges all OASIS users on a quest to inherit his fortune. We follow Wade/Parzival (Tye Sheridan) and Samantha/Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) who work together to find the pieces of the puzzle. Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) is the CEO of a video game conglomerate and will do anything to stop them, or any other users, from winning.
Sci-fi is my least favourite genre of film and I would say action-adventure is my 3rd least favourite. Side note: 2nd least favourite goes to Western. So like I said, I thought I would have a not-so-good time watching this. But this was such an entertaining film to watch. I had a great time and was engaged throughout the entire thing. There were some major aspects that I didn’t like, but I’ll get to that. First, let’s focus on the stuff that I thought was good. The first act of the film was amazing and probably my favourite part. I loved the world-building and introduction to OASIS and the characters. The premise of this film alone has a great underlying theme; technology taking over society because people do not want to deal with the real world. Though I think Black Mirror executes this much better, it was still great to watch it explored via film.
My next favourite aspect was race track sequence to get the first key. I was gritting my teeth the whole time wondering what new element would come next. The pacing paired with the sounds were fantastic, it actually felt very 3D like. The scene later when Parzival goes backwards through the course was a real treat to watch too. This segues into my next point, which is that the visuals and effects were very well done. The OASIS users felt like Final Fantasy characters and had that distinct look. Even the details that went into the haptic suit looked amazing. A commendable thing they also did was the effects and editing of Halliday’s journals through the museum; the pauses, zooms and change of angles looked effortless.
Now the stuff I didn’t like. This list will probably be ordered from most to least problematic. The love story between Wade and Samantha felt SO forced. My friends told me that the events of the book took much longer than the film, which is fine, but you’d expected the writers to adapt it well. Their avatars had more chemistry than the actual actors did! Which brings me to my next point; I did not like Sheridan’s acting in this film. His portrayal of the character felt really flat and I didn’t end up caring for his character much. Though, he did a great job voice acting for Parzival. I have nothing to compare Sheridan to because I have not seen any of his other films, so the fault could have been the direction given by Spielberg.
Let’s go to another cast choice which I hated. TJ Miller as i-R0k, god what a bad choice. Every time he spoke I could feel myself getting pulled out of the film. Not only did his voice not suit the avatar, but the writing for him poor. Barely anyone laughed at his lines, and when they did, I’m sure it was pity laughs. Now the very ending of the film I didn’t like either. When it faded to black, I remember saying outloud: “Really?!” To refresh, the ending shot was VO of Wade wrapping up how he put the OASIS fortune to good use, while showing us him and Samantha in a swivel chair kissing. Like, really? They couldn’t have had the ending shot be a little bit more epic, rather then focus on the forced and boring love story. It left a sour taste in my mouth when it ended. One last tiny thing was that the video game/film/music references were just a little overdone. But I’ll let that one slide since all the references were justified when they were used.
Overall, I enjoyed myself way more than I thought it would and it was a fun time. I will see this film again, but not anytime soon. Here’s hoping I get to write more reviews because I had fun with this one. I’m going to see A Quiet Place in a couple of days and I’m really looking forward to that, maybe I’ll write a review for that if I feel that strongly about it. Thanks for reading!
Rating: The world-building was the best part. The love story was the worst. Still an enjoyable experience! 3/5.