Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) lives in The Stacks in 2045 Columbus, Ohio. A future where the real world is less appealing than the Oasis, a computer generated world where you can be anything. When the creator of the Oasis dies, he kicks off the biggest Easter Egg Hunt in the world by offering the keys to the kingdom to the first person who can find three hidden keys. Wade, as his avatar Parzival joins forces with his friends Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) and Aech (Lena Waithe) to find the egg before the head of an evil corporation that wants to monetise it.
Based on a novel that is essentially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for gaming and film geeks, Ready Player One could easily have just been a game of “spot the reference “. In Steven Spielberg’s hands though it is a rip roaring, fast paced adventure movie…filled with hundreds of geek references! If there isn’t a special feature on the Blu Ray that freezes the image every few seconds and labels everything in frame I will be disappointed. For those that have read the book they will find this significantly changed as well, meaning they won’t know the answers to the puzzles and whilst they may miss some favourite moments there will be new ones awaiting them.
Visually the film is pretty spectacular. Given a large percentage of our time is spent in the Oasis there is a lot of CGI and thankfully it looks great. The set pieces are incredibly exciting and the stakes are high both in the real and virtual world. The cast is filled with plenty of smaller cameos that are quite fun as well. Mark Rylance is great as the Oasis creator James Halliday, a slightly vacant nerd who can’t quite connect with people in the real world. Whilst T.J. Miller delivers a humorous performance as I-Rok, a deadpan bounty hunter.
Obviously there is much more to enjoy here if you have a nostalgia for 1980’s films and games but it’s such a fun adventure romp I would argue there is a universal appeal here.