READY PLAYER ONE (12)
D: Steven Spielberg
Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Amblin (Steven Spielberg, Donald De Line, Dan Farah & Kristie Macosko Krieger)
W: Zak Penn & Ernest Cline [based on the novel by Ernest Cline]
DP: Janusz Kaminsky
Ed: Michael Kahn & Sarah Broshar
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: Adam Stockhausen
Tye Sheridan (Wade Watts / Parzival), Olivia Cooke (Samantha Cook / Art3mis), Ben Mendelsohn (Nolan Sorrento), Lena Waithe (Helen / Aech), T.J. Miller (I-R0k), Simon Pegg (Ogden Murrow), Mark Rylance (James Halliday)
Ready Player One is a cornucopia of pop culture, brimful with references to movies of the 1980's, science fiction films and classic video games.
Set in 2045, where the city of Columbus, Ohio has become overpopulated, people escape from the mundanity of life in The Oasis, a virtual reality environment in which they can be anyone and do anything, bound only by how many credits they can accumulate, often playing riskier games at the risk of 'zeroing out' and starting over.
On the Oasis creator's death, a treasure hunt is announced which gives the victor who finds the Easter Egg hidden within full creative control of the virtual reality world, sparking a contest between Gunters (Egg Hunters) and members of IOI, a corporate conglomerate who plan to use the Oasis as an advertising platform and to keep its users in never-ending debt.
The film is chockablock with references, both visual and narratively (the concept itself is a modern spin on Charlie & The Chocolate Factory), but it's mostly aesthetically where most people will get memories of the movies they watched during their childhood.
Some fans of the book have been disappointed with the adaptation, stating that it doesn't adhere to the source material as faithfully as they would like, but I don't think that's a problem. Film and books are two completely different mediums and it should never be a prerequisite to read the book before watching a movie. The differences are there so both can be enjoyed separately. I've read the book & I quite like the fact that changes have been made for an adaptation to this medium. In fact, the changes make this a tribute to cinema, rather than the world of gaming.
There are a few plot holes which may bother you if you let them (it's never explained why people are so obsessed with movies and characters from films which would be over 60 years old at the time of the film's setting), the main villain is written a little too one-dimensionally and Tye Sheridan's performance as Wade Watts (not Partizan, his online avatar) is a little wooden, but these are only small blights on an otherwise fantastic cinema experience.
Finally, it has to be mentioned that this film is best appreciated in 3D, especially in IMAX format where all the iconic images pour out of the screen. A must watch for anyone who grew up during the 1980's, or are a massive fan of films from that period.