11 April 2018 | Jared_Andrews
An Entertaining VR Movie that Ignores Real-World Problems
If you are just looking for a fun movie with expertly directed action sequences, wow moments, and beautiful effects, this is the movie for you. If you are the type of person who cannot help but analyze every movie you see, Ready Player One will cause you some problems.
Spielberg is a master of wow moments. He knows how to capture characters in moments of awe, and he knows how to make the audiences respond with dropped jaws and bewildered expressions. That's why the guy is one of the most financially successful filmmakers of all time. Watching this particular film of his makes it easy to see, even if you weren't already aware of his reputation, that Spielberg works the camera like few others can.
That said, this movie is not perfect.
The premise, at least on its surface, seems wonderful. A teenage boy (Tye Sheridan), named Wade Watts (because it sounds like a superhero's alter ego) in the near future plays an ultra-version of a virtual reality game to escape his grim real-world existence. Everyone in his world does. And we can see why. The VR world (The Oasis) is awesome.
Wade spends his time obsessing over a contest in The Oasis left behind by its now deceased creator. The winner of the contest claims a kajillion dollars (or something like that) and control over The Oasis. With a prize like that, Wade is obviously not the only person trying to win.
So, one day he meets a girl who uses the player name Art3mis (a charming Olivia Cooke) and joins her group. Together they try to win the contest before the evil company does and puts ads in The Oasis (which doesn't seem that bad). Then blah, blah, blah. You can imagine how this all turns out. If not, great, you'll be surprised.
This all seems fine and fun until you dissect the movie even a little bit. The message the movie sends is that this is all about friendship, which is total BS. Friendship is important, sure, but in this world, there is more at stake. Wade and much of the country live in terrible poverty, and a couple mega-businesses control the state of everything. It's a miserable reality with problems that we see today, except amplified by 100.
It's irresponsible and insulting that the movie pretends that this future world will be okay as long as The Oasis doesn't have ads. People still live in poverty. The world is still in shambles.
What I'm saying is, the movie has a problem with stakes. The stakes of this future world are enormous and dire, but the movie chooses to ignore them. That doesn't sit right with me.
One other issue, and this one is minor, is that this movie seems like it's made for kids, but it makes a bunch of 80s nostalgia references. Does that make sense? I don't think today's 14-year-olds care about Duran-Duran.
Even looking past the social blinders this movie chooses to wear and the confusing nostalgia choices, the third act drags horribly. I spaced out for a good ten minutes and didn't miss a thing.
In spite of all that, this movie has moments of ecstasy. If you are going to see, and I'm not sure if you should, see it in a theater. If you can avoid analyzing the movie and simply enjoy it from a pure entertainment standpoint, you may love it.