By MATTHEW HOOD
“Ready Player One” is a fantasy film that takes place on a dystopian Earth set in 2045. Earth is portrayed as a dull place filled with slums and too many people who do not experience much excitement on the bland planet.
This problem is solved through the form of the Oasis, a virtual reality world where whatever the imagination draws up can happen. The player can become anyone and do anything, while progressing their way through the world. The creator of the world, Halliday, is treated like a god by the players of the game. For many, the game is more important than real life, and Halliday becomes very rich. At the time of his death, he puts half of a trillion dollars into the game as a prize that a player could find if one has what it takes. The prize also includes full control of the Oasis. This half-of-a-trillion-dollar prize is in the form of an egg hunt, which sets the billions of players off to find it.
Steven Spielberg’s new film is filled with nostalgia, giving references to “Back to the Future,” “The Shining,” “The Iron Giant,” Harley Quinn and many other movies and characters. The nostalgia is packed with the entire movie. As the audience continually realizes each reference, it can provide somewhat of a deeper appreciation for both pop culture and the creation of the movie itself.
Although the film has a very predictable plot, it is paced in a way that keeps the audience invested and delighted the whole way through. The audience leaves the theater with a memorable experience that leaves viewers satisfied, but perhaps with the desire to even watch it again.
The film’s message offers a look at a culture that has an obsessive and unhealthy use of technology, which is something many would say is evident in today’s culture. The creator of the Oasis at one point states, “It needs to go back to just being a game.”
Many of the challenges set in the egg hunt are based on relationships Halliday ruined while making the game. He misses an opportunity with the woman he loved, loses precious time and loses his best friend out of greed. Wade, the main character in the story, makes strong friendships with virtual characters in the game world, yet finds deeper and more meaningful bonds in the real world that he could not have in the game world. This reiterates a sense of reality in the augmented world of the Oasis, applicable to how viewers should appreciate what is really around them in their own lives.
Ultimately, “Ready Player One” is a nostalgic flick that will make pop culture fans appreciate the exciting story with redemptive qualities to it, which makes for a good and memorable film.