Keepin’ It Reel: Ready Player One

When it comes to making films almost anyone can enjoy, it seems Steven Spielberg has mastered that technique on numerous accounts. The man needs no introduction, with blockbusters such as “E.T.”, “Jurassic Park” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” under his filmography. Spielberg has crafted films that different generations can enjoy, but his latest film, Ready Player One, might just be his most ambitious project yet.

Based on the young adult novel of the same name, “Ready Player One” follows Wade Watts, a young man living in the technology obsessed world of the year 2045. Although humanity seems to have discovered the majority of Earth’s features, the world is on the brink of chaos and corruption. However, the OASIS, a virtual universe that is essentially the internet on steroids, offers hope for a new age of exploration and innovation. After the creator of the OASIS James Halliday dies, he leaves three keys hidden throughout the world. If all they keys are found, they will unlock an Easter egg somewhere within the virtual world. The egg gives the user who finds it complete and total control of the OASIS, resulting in several users hunting for the mysterious object.

Despite not reading the novel beforehand, I was extremely anxious to see Spielberg’s latest project, and how he would handle the potential to put anything and everything iconic into one massive blockbuster. “Ready Player One” has jokingly been named “Pop Culture: The Movie” on numerous websites, and although putting several things in one film can be a potential hazard, Spielberg put all of my concerns to rest by delivering a captivating and entertaining film that will be regarded as a classic in the years to come.

When the film takes place in reality, the movie is shot using real actors and practical sets. However, when Wade enters into the OASIS, the film turns into one big computer-generated world, allowing for a contrasting style between live action and animation. This is a brilliant way to distinguish what is real from what is artificial, and allows for the film to have a unique, special feel as you’re watching it. I haven’t seen a style like this before that has always worked for me throughout a film, but “Ready Player One” uses this filmmaking style extremely well.

Granted, entering a big video game world is a lot more fun and visually interesting than a dull, bleak reality, but that didn’t bother me, as that is essentially one of the main themes of the movie.

It’s no secret that the main selling point of this film is all of the pop culture references it contains; the DeLorean from the “Back to the Future” series, “The Iron Giant,” the motorbike from “Akira” and more are all within one movie. In fact, there’s so much in “Ready Player One” that in order to catch every single reference in the film, you’d have to watch it countless times. This is perhaps the film’s greatest strength and most obvious weakness. Sometimes it was extremely satisfying to see specific iconic things appear in a feature film yet again, but other times resulted in me rolling my eyes, as it appeared as nothing less than fan service.

Overall, “Ready Player One” is an astounding achievement in filmmaking and might possibly be the greatest 1980s film that didn’t come out in the 1980s. The film is highly entertaining, and it might just be the greatest video game and pop culture related film ever put to screen. Despite a few very minor complaints, there’s honestly a lot to love here, and I can’t recommend it enough.

I’m giving “Ready Player One” a 7.5/10.