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Movie Reviews

Posted at: Mar 30, 2018, 6:57 PM; last updated: Mar 30, 2018, 6:57 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: READY PLAYER ONE

The Gamer’s Utopia!

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Film: Ready Player One

  • Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
The Gamer’s Utopia!
A still from Ready Player One

Johnson Thomas

Steven Spielberg’s attempt to consolidate his youth capital with a post-modern take on gaming finds purchase in Ernest Cline’s pulp sci-fi novel ‘Ready Player One.’ Adapted for the big screen by Cline and Zak Penn, this overly long-drawn gamey adventure that marries dystopian earthlings with fantastic fixations, is a wild ride alright, but the attachment forthwith is missing. 

It’s 2045, the planet looks downbeat and on the verge of extinction but earthlings are still savvy enough to escape into a fantasy Oasis created by James Halliday(Mark Rylance), the gamer genius billionaire who gives them a last gasp gift- a challenge that has them scrambling for clues through libraries of his life. No prizes for guessing why Spielberg feels at one with such techie surrealism. A genius himself, there appears to be a semi-autobiographical bent to this cross-medium extravaganza which references film trivia with that of Halliday’s emotionally barren but creatively fruitful life. 

Here, Wade Watt’s aka Parzival (Tye Sheridan) is the young man gunning for the glory of the ‘billionaires shares,’ but for that he has to edge out other competitors in the designer fantasy combat between the real and the imagined in a clan up with like-minded weirdoes Aech, Art3mis(Olivia Cooke) and a pair of Japanese players, Daito (Win Morisaki) and Shoto (Philip Zhao) who will help him get the three keys to the Easter egg- symbolic of the ultimate prize. 

While the narrative fashions out a furious gamey escapade, the characters fail to register. We know little of their past and what drives them and the interest in their current challenges is therefore middling. 

The ever shifting landscapes of the Oasis, the breakneck speed of the play and the rampaging monsters who owe their existence to movie lore are interesting but the overall dependence on VFX is so high that even the human characters get lost in the melee. You might appreciate the smartness involved in creating a world of imaginatively referenced movie magic but there’s little here to alleviate the tedium of a stretched-thin narrative. This is a gamers’ paradise alright but for the rest-it could be just another long-drawn yarn!

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