Ready Player One is the latest big budget film by producer/director Steven Spielberg. Based on Ernest Cline’s novel, the story is set in the year 2045 and the future is bleak, where people live crowded into trailer homes stacked on top of one another in a post-apocalyptic junkyard. Most people spend their time ignoring their drab reality fully immersed using a virtual reality software product called The Oasis. A place where any fantasy is fulfilled and players can be and do whatever they like.
The movie’s hero is Wade who we see battling the villainous corporate boss, Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) who plans to take over the virtual reality market and get people addicted to living in a fake world.
In Matrix-like battles that cross from reality to virtual, where skill and strategy, teamwork and sacrifice outdo corporate drones and their enslaving mind-numbing plans, this movie becomes a fast-paced science fiction action adventure. Plenty of twists and turns in plot and vehicle in a visual smorgasbord of all your favourite pop culture references, (with more to be noticed on a second or third viewing) including King Kong, Godzilla, The Shining, Chucky, Artari games, Monty Python, Star Wars, Back to the Future …
Strangely, when considering current day America, besides the corporation, only the police seem to carry real guns. This realy stands out in a crowd scene in a poor area where nobody is packing a real piece.
The only weakness (spoiler alert!) is that although reference is made to avatars not being the same as the real person, there are no forty-year-old, overweight, plain folks playing the heroes but only beautiful people who look virtually the same in real life as their virtual image in the game.
This movie will likely leave you contemplating on the importance of building friendships in real life rather than escaping to a virtual world controlled by corporate greed. I thought about this a bit more as I sat alone in the corporate-built surround sound cinema after having immersed myself in a corporate-created experience: the Hollywood blockbuster.
By Abigail Nash