Ready Player One (2018)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline
Actors: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn
I think I have this reputation between people that I know personally of being "not fun". Since every time I go into a blockbuster I leave the theater with this dissatisfied look and just had a horrible experience. Whereas everyone else was just there eating popcorn and shutting off their brains watching explosions. I obviously don't hate every blockbuster, but I am very critical of most of them. Because the worst thing I hate from films is not something being bad, its something being average. Films being average are in my opinion one of the biggest detriment to modern films. Since they live in this grey area where the film wasn't good in any certain way, but it wasn't bad as well. It was just okay. Which, should not be okay. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I am sick and tired of constantly being fed the same thing over and over again. This generic three act structure riddled with cheesy one-liners, forced romance, and awful plot. It just gets tiring to watch, and I went into Ready Player One with those crappy expectations of what I will see. However, one word came into my mind when I left the theater after watching this film. Entertaining.
Yes, this film is entertaining, in a good way. Finally, we see blockbusters that don't resort to the exact same monotonous cookie cutter elements that we see every single time one of these films get released. However, Ready Player One truly surprised me. Because I did not expect to be entertained for the next two and a half hours when I entered the theater. The whole film is fun. Everything about it is interesting and it is a joy to watch. Especially if you are a nerd like me. I mean I can't even begin to explain how excited I was seeing them getting the second key in The Overlook Hotel from The Shining. I am getting ahead of myself. I just want to say that this film was really fun to watch and I think that you should go see it as well. I've read many places which are criticizing it harshly. Which I very much disagree with, because these are not the type of films that need to be criticized that harshly. Leave that for those that deserve bashing, like *cough* Pacific Rim: Uprising *cough*.
The big thing that makes this film fun is that it never seems forced. You can tell that big wig Hollywood producers weren't on top of the film trying to forcefully add one-liners and making them re-shoot it into the film. Furthermore, the pacing of the film was spot on. When I knew this film was two hours and half I was very scared that it was not able to grab my attention for that long. But surprisingly, the film managed to go by very quickly and I didn't even feel those two and a half hours. Part of that has to do with the very interesting and engaging plot. The film does well in dividing the film's time. We get enough time for character development of each of the main characters so that we are at least somewhat invested in them. The structure is a bit generic with the big bad guy and the underdog hero, but that's not really something to criticize. Furthermore, the film's action was really fun and visually pleasing. My favorite sequence was the first challenge, the death race. So many things were happening yet the film did a great job and letting us focus at what is important. I loved the fast paced action that was happening and it was genuinely enjoyable to watch. Couple all of that with that fact that this film is great if you are a nerd at heart. All of the references sprinkled into the film were great because it was this huge game of Where's Waldo, but with references. Overall I surprisingly enjoyed this film. I know I keep saying that, because it just really surprising to me and its hard for me to believe it. But sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due. When something is fun to watch, then its fun. This is what blockbusters should be like. I'm not saying that every movie needs to be a grand cinematic experience, but if you aren't going for something that pushes the boundaries of film at least make it fun. Which is what Ready Player One did, so I give made props to Spielberg for that.
Now although I did enjoy this film quite a lot, it does have some down points. The big glaring issue with this film is the many plot holes and silly aspects of the story. I won't go into every single one of them but I will name off a few. First of all, who in their right mind would keep their password on a tape stuck to your chair for anyone to see. Not only that but you invited your enemy into said room which has that password just showing. I mean its not like the password was that hard to memorize. It makes no sense, yet so much of the plot hinged on that password being their in the open. He could have easily just talked to him in-game, he didn't need to bring Wade as a hologram into your office. It just felt like lazy writing, and I bet there were other ways around it. Another thing I questioned a lot during the film was, "Where are the police in all of this?". The whole time I thought maybe this world has no police or something like that. But nope, they pop up during the very end when it is convenient in order to save the characters life. How is it possible that the people of Wade's slum knew that Sorrento caused the explosion but the police didn't. It again, made no sense and just felt like lazy writing. I won't go into any of my other tidbits because it would take too long. But this film really could have been more finely tweaked if there were better writing choices made.
To finish up, this film is fun. Everything about it is fun and entertaining, but in a good way. It is not just a cookie cutter blockbuster. It has something different to it. This is not to say that it is the most unique and incredible blockbuster out there. On the contrary it still has many of the generic Hollywood tropes that you see over and over again. But still, the film is just entertaining and you will definitely have a good time watching it. Don't expect some cinematic masterpiece, but still give it a shot. I'm certainly glad I did.