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Ready Player One review: Steven Spielberg has his game face on in stunning virtual reality blockbuster


Steven Spielberg scores a gloriously entertaining victory against the video game generation in his latest blockbuster sci-fi adventure.

Combining stunning technique and astonishing CGI effects, it rockets along like Christopher Nolan’s brainy thriller Inception remade with the manic energy and humour of The Lego Movie.

Packed with references to your favourite films, songs and games of the 1980’s, it’s based on Ernest Cline’s best-selling 2011 novel of the same name.

The narrative is streamlined but true to its source and maintains all the major characters.

Tye Sheridan is a hugely likeable lead as Wade Watts, a trailer trash youth who spends all his time in the Oasis, which in 2045 is the worlds most popular virtual reality game.

It was invented by the late James Halliday, whose will stipulated whoever could solve his grand puzzle would inherit the Oasis and its mind-boggling wealth.

Gamers such as Olivia Cooke’s ultra-competitive Sam use online avatars to protect their identity as they race to win the prize. Meanwhile Ben Mendelsohn is on top villainous form as Sorrento, the power hungry CEO of the IOI corporation intent on a hostile takeover of The Oasis.

Tye Sheridan as Wade uses hi-tech gloves and visor to enter the virtual reality world, called The Oasis

Olivia Cooke as Sam uses a virtual reality suit to play online

Sam and Wade meet in the virtual reality world as their avatars, Art3mis and Parzival

Mark Rylance appears as Halliday and Spielberg uses the Brit actor as his own avatar, to give us a touching reflection on his own life.

And the worlds greatest living director cleverly uses cinema to reinvent a book about virtual reality to emphasise the importance of real face-to-face human interaction.

Plus Spielberg turns Cline’s homage to pop culture into a satirical swipe at the monetisation of the health and criminal justice systems. And he includes warnings about online trust and celebrity, and a critique of corporate exploitation of the young.

Ben Mendelsohn as Sorrento, the power hungry CEO of IOI, who is hunting Wade and Sam

Employees of the evil IOI organisation watch the online pursuit of Wade and Sam

Inside The Oasis, soldiers of the IOI make prisoners of gamers

But none of this is allowed to weigh down the fun or the thrills and it’s full of optimism for the youth of tomorrow.

Demonstrating his enduring ability to entertain while embracing the latest technology and remaining relevant to a modern audience, Spielberg proves he’s still Hollywood’s number one player.

  • Movie Name Ready Player One
  • Year: 2018
  • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
  • Running time: 140 mins
  • Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance


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