The phrase “they just don’t make movies like they used to”, is what I would say to any other movie coming out in 2018 but Ready Player One, a book to movie adaptation by Ernest Cline, helped to make us feel like a kid again – virtually in an instant.
Before we begin, please note that spoiler warnings are in effect.
Stephen Spielberg really outdid himself at every turn in the making of Ready Player One.
To the 2045 setting in Columbus, Ohio, to the elaborate recreation of The Shining, Ready Player One satisfies viewers on almost every level.
There’s a love story, pop-culture references and a huge battle with your favorite characters! Everything comes together in a nice pretty package wrapped in a bow.
The Ready Player One Story
The movie is narrated from the perspective of Wade Owen Watts, a young teen who lives with his aunt and a deadbeat guy in Columbus, Ohio. Wade, a Halliday fanatic and frequent visitor to the Oasis (a virtual reality world where you can be and do anything your heart desires), has his setup located outside of their apartment on the bottom floor of building trailers of the future.
The portrayal of character growth goes fairly quick where the Oasis created by two friends James Donovan Halliday a.k.a. Anorak and Ogden “Og” Morrow sets the stage for the entire movie.
It is explained that Halliday is dead but before he bites the big one, he programs into the Oasis, Easter eggs (secret discoveries within a game that you find by just wandering around a game’s map) that any user in the Oasis can find. The locator of all Easter eggs or the 3 keys – The Cooper Key, Jade Key and Crystal key – will gain ownership of the Oasis and change the Oasis however they like. They also receive entire ownership of his real-world gaming company.
Once in the Oasis, you’re transported to a surreal place where anything is possible. Minecraft worlds, planet-sized casinos, planet Doom, nightclubs – you name it, it’s there. From the beginning, they quickly introduce the other characters who are Wade’s friends in the game. The underlining message while in the Oasis is you may never know who you’re “friends” with since you have no idea who they are in real life.
After introductions, they talk about the first trial for the first key which is a race. The winner of the race receives the copper key and a clue. Here we see the love love interest of Wade Watts or Parzival, his in-game name, Art3mis.
During the first challenge, they both prove to be very skilled at gaming and are quite knowledgeable of Halliday’s history. Of course, knowing about Halliday is what is the true key to figuring out the riddles to each Easter eggs and solving a lot of the mystery behind the keys. This is because not everything is as straightforward as one would think.
Supposedly, according to the movie it was 5 years for a random user to find a clue and open the portal to the first challenge. So my only gripe is they find the 3 keys pretty fast after finding the first. However, it’s movie set in 2045, so we’ll forgive it for being slightly unrealistic.
The main villain is Nolan Sorrento who is head of operations at Innovative Online Industries (IOI). He is sneaky, manipulative and does whatever it takes to get the job done. IOI is explained to be a big conglomerate organization that sends people into the Oasis to try and win Halliday’s Easter egg challenges.
Throughout the movie, highlights include meeting the main cast outside of the Oasis and imminent dangers of knowing the true identity outside of the Oasis puts you in harms way. You can die in the Oasis but all that happens is it resets your stats such as level, gold, items and artifacts.
Prior to the final challenge a big war between good and bad incorporated with a few familiar video game characters and brands. Essentially, we could create a long list of references that would put a smile on your face.
In the end, our heroes prevail both in the Oasis and the real world. The hero gets the girl and wins the ultimate game by finding all 3 keys, beating the challenge and owning the Oasis with Ogden “Og” Morrow being an adviser (he’s still alive…poor Halliday).
Although this is a brief review of the movie, a writer can go into so many directions when breaking the movie down. The multitude of various Easter eggs, the book to movie differences (and there quite a few) to the symbolism of the characters. Sky’s the limit!
To be fair, I did not read the book. However, there are articles galore that talk about the major differences between the book and movie. Supposedly, there are 15 or so. For those who read the book, do you know them all?
If you’re looking for that feel good, superhero growth as he struggles through various obstacles type of movie with a splash of 80’s nostalgia and video game flair, Ready Player One is the movie for you.