Now Showing: Ready Player One

Ready Player One is acclaimed director Steven Spielberg’s (Jaws) most recent film that adapts a novel of the same name by Earnest Cline. 

The novel was a mixture of 1980’s pop-culture references, VR gaming ideas, and a world where the common people fight back using technology. The book was released to a wide array of reactions, but it is one of my favorite novels.

Spielberg hasn’t directed anything recently that really blew the doors down. His most recent film The Post was a cool film with a great story, but it felt a lot like the director was just punching the time card on that one. Not to mention both Bridge of Spies and Warhorse feeling even more phoned in. 

It has been a long time since the Spielberg fantasy epics that made him famous, and what a return this is. The movie takes the idea of the novel and does a lot of the things that made the book great, but changes the tone of the book to make this a much more bright and fun film, more than a serious and dark take on the world.  

Ready Player One may not appeal to everyone, but it will appeal to a lot of movie-goers. 

The special-effects-heavy-film has been criticized for its heavy use of CGI, but in this case, it couldn’t have been done any other way. We are talking about a world that takes place in a video game. Of course, the movie is going to be effects heavy, it’s a video game. 

Another complaint that has been given for both the film and the book is that it’s nothing more than a lot of 1980s references cashing in on cheap nostalgia. The book could be sourced as the start of the 1980s craze. Without it, it is likely that movies like It and the show Stranger Things wouldn’t be made or be as popular. However, there is so much more to this world than just one big reference. The movie does a great job of showing some “Easter Eggs” which are cool references that are thrown in for fans, but it never distracts from the story and aren’t necessary to follow the story at all.  

This film is a visual marvel - colors dance across the screen, and scenes really pop thanks to a spectacular use of 3D effects. The action never becomes a blur of CGI either. It is used very effectively and the action gives a sense of playing a video game. 

The film also slows down at multiple points to build characters and make the viewer care about the excellent cast. 

Too much discussion of the cast would be a spoiler, but Ready Player One is filled with wonderful actors. The soundtrack is also excellent. The usage of licensed and recognizable tracks from the ‘80s give it a feel that will keep you energized throughout, and never allow for a dull moment, even through two viewings.

If you loved the ‘80s culture and video games and use these worlds as a way to escape from the trouble that the real world brings, the Ready Player One is a must see. 

No standard number rating for this film. At the end of the day if a movie resonates and speaks to you, that is all you can ask.

Ready Player One gets a “try it, you’ll like it” recommendation and it is a good one to buy.


David Gifford is a college student, the night manager at Town and Country Supermarket in Ironton, a sales rep for The Mountain Echo and a gaming and movie enthusiast. Check out his podcast: Reasonably Reel.