Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ready Player One Review: A True Cinematic Adventure

If there is one name that has defined blockbuster movies it would be none other than Steven Spielberg. Although the acclaimed filmmaker is prominent in a array of genres it is in the likes of adventure films where Spielberg's influence is so pivotal. His latest film not only sees Spielberg return to the genre but  also celebrate the very idea behind fandoms. This movie is none other than Ready Player One. The new adventure film is based on the novel by Ernest Cline which centers on the idea of virtual reality while being an ode to pop culture. I cannot deny that I was looking forward to this one as the movie’s concept is right up my ally. After watching this sci-fi adventure I must that admit, and I do not say this likely, that Ready Player One is perhaps one of Spielberg’s best films in quite some time.

Ready Player One centers on Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who travels the virtual world known as the Oasis in order to find the Easter Egg left by the Oasis’creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance). In every aspect the plot to Ready Player One was an adventure. The plot does rely on elements and traits that are all too familiar to the adventure genre (not to mention a Spielberg blockbuster) but it all came down to how the movie utilized these elements-and Ready Player One certainly used these aspects to their highest caliber. Along with its sense of adventure the plot also featured strong themes and morals that grounded this out of this world tale. The ideas that surrounded the story were thoroughly executed and gave  a sense of complexity to this adventurous story. This was notable in the story of James Halliday which I found to be just as investing as the main journey. Another addition to the plot was its worldbuilding ability as both the Oasis and the Real World were plot elements rich with substance and creativity.  While some details, particularly getting into the third act, could be unclear it hardly affected the story’s presentation as I found myself invested in this adventure from beginning to end.

The cast of Ready Player One was as enticing and colorful as the story. Just like the plot the cast does rely on character types that are familiar with blockbusters only to utilizes these traits to the best of their abilities. Wade Watts/Perzival was a simplistic protagonist but an effective one nonetheless which was thanks to Tye Sheridan’s stellar performance as the young hero. Equally impressive was Olivia Cooke as Samantha/Artemis who was a solid character in her own right and had fluent chemistry with Sheridan’s Wade. The rest of the cast was just as enjoyable and had plenty of character to them, such as Lena Waithe as Aech, T.J Miller as i-R0k and Philip Zhao as well as Win Morisaki as Sho and Daito-though those two did have limited development. When it came to villainy Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelson) was a typical antagonist as he undoubtedly lived up to the notorious business tycoon character; but this actually worked for the movie as Mendelson’s performance made Sorrento a villain that I loved to hate. Rounding things out were the supporting performances from both Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance. Rylance in particular was wonderful as James Halliday who, despite his minimal appearances, was a stand out character that showed off the true quality in this stellar ensemble.

Going into the movie I knew that the spectacle was going to be at an all time high; especially from watching the trailers. After seeing the effects in action I can say that Ready Player One did live up to the hype. To say that the visual were stunning would not do them justice. The film’s cgi was both definitive as well as thematic, and the movie’s ability to blend its effects with practical techniques was impressive to say least. This was evident in the jade key trial as the scene captured famous moments to a particular movie all the while giving its own spin on the sequence. Complementing the effects was the cinematography which gave the movie a video game look,that could work within the realms of reality. Along with the movie’s sense of spectacle was the wonderful score by Alan Silvestri. While the score featured some of Silvestri’s signature sounds this soundtrack allowed the famed composer to branch out by providing unique compositions all the while meshing the music with famous tracks from other mediums-which was done rather well as the different scores were fluent with each other.

I can go and on about this movie and that might say something about Ready Player One. From storytelling to effects this movie takes the concepts of blockbusters and does something new with it, which left me with an experience that was adventurous and a little dynamic. In many ways Ready Player One was not just an ode to pop culture or even just a Spielberg film, but rather a cinematic adventure that satisfied the critic, fan and moviegoer in me as it expressed everything that I love about going to the movies.

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