Film: Virtual piece of the action

Written By: Rita Di Santo
Published: April 12, 2018 Last modified: April 12, 2018

Ready Player One

Director:  Steven Spielberg

 

The year is 2045. Columbus, Ohio has been reduced to a grim dystopia. The United States has gone through drought, the impact of which has resulted in the “bandwidth riots”. Humanity has been reduced to poverty and degradation. The only relief for citizens living in ramshackle, slum-like conditions, is to wear virtual reality headsets, and escape to the alternative reality of OASIS, the last VR computer game.

The genius behind the invention is James Halliday, the Steve Jobs-style impresario of his generation; a visionary who has changed the world forever. Halliday now dying, has activated and presented a challenge to the gamers. Three keys have been secretedwithin the universe of OASIS. The winner of the quest to discover these keys will inherit Halliday’s virtual kingdom. In a struggle between the individual and a powerful established corporate elite, passionate gamer, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), jumping and climbing through the futuristic-favelas, races to beat the corporate bad guys, led by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) to the prize.

Based on Ernest Cline’s novel, the film is a  pop culture feast, packaged in an accomplished, exciting fantasy adventure, accompanied by a bumper soundtrack of eighties hits.

A combination of live action and simultaneous computer animated film, this is like a tasty milkshake sprinkled with blockbuster references from Spiderman to King Kong, with Mad Max, and Jurassic Park. Action sequences –explosions, chases, shootings, crazy avatars and flying vehicles– come thick and fats with stunning special effects dynamic and kaleidoscopic almost to the point of ecstatic nausea. This is the cinema of overstimulation, of visual imagination stretched to the limits of vision.

Steven Spielberg has, yet again, made a perfect, soaring blockbuster for the teenagers of our time, once more demonstrating his wide-ranging talent. At the age of 71 years old, he has the energy to work almost simultaneously on huge escapist venture ventures and serious dramas such as The Post. And he’s done it before, directing Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park in the same year.

Ready Player One is an interestingand enjoyable satire about the addictive nature of computer gaming and how far it takes players away from the reality of proper human interaction.