Ok I have to get a few things down. Ready Player One, the film, is not good. It’s kind of fun, if you turn off your brain: But, if you ignore the logical inconsistencies in the film, your subconscious will start churning out logical inconsistencies as well, and you’ll get headaches for no apparent reason or you’ll vote an idiot into office. Just sayin, story is powerful.
Ready Player One is based on the first novel by Ernest Cline, a guy who, after reading his work, feels like someone I could hang out with. (He also wrote a sequel script to Buckaroo Banzai you can find and read for free on the ‘net)
The Film: There will be spoilers. I don’t consider them spoiler’s so much as dire warnings….
Anyway, if you HAVE to see the film first, go ahead, and then continue reading.
Done? What did you think? Pretty amazing visuals! I had a hard time keeping up with all the visual references I kept seeing in the background. Some I saw more than once…
So, we are introduced to our main character sneaking off for the day to get on the OASIS, to get away from ugly home life, and enjoy some privacy. Definitely NOT to go to OASIS public school to graduate high school, or work, because he’s so ..wealthy? hmm. They never explained that bit of poverty away.
Ok, Now we get introduced to the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation, you’re welcome) where people do everything BUT work, (that guy LOOKED like he was at work, but he must NOT have been, as he lost his cash, and tried to kill himself, see; ALL your money is stored on the OASIS banks apparently) and generally goof off and compete to find clues to ….. oh wait…
James Halliday is introduced posthumously as the creator of the OASIS, and that he was big on the 80’s, and that he was a big gaming fan, because he hid an Easter Egg in the OASIS (and to be clear, the INTERNET is where you GET TO the OASIS. Got it? ) and if you are able to figure out the clues and challenges he left, you would OWN the OASIS (company) and be rich!! (and again, we really only kind of see the poverty, it’s not made out as being too terrible, because…OASIS. Lovely, sedated masses.)
The first challenge of this game is known by all the Gunters (short for Egg hunters, mentioned once) and it is a race; a wacky race: You can drive whatever car or vehicle you can afford. They gotta cost money; they use virtual ‘gas’ in the form of game coins ‘spilled’ by wrecks and death. (Sonic the Hedgehog, 1991, not 80’s) and again, money is weird here.
Technical terms were tossed about in the movie like seasoning rather than much needed exposition to explain what is going on, and we know that artifacts are 99th level, but do we know the level of the main character, or any of his friends? Are Levels mentioned ANYWHERE else in the film? But, they did say anyone could find these artifacts, which are 99th level by the way.
Now, at the beginning of the movie, it’s been FIVE YEARS since Halliday’s death, and no one has won this race yet. So our hero, virtually named Parzival(sp), after the knight that found Holy Grail, goes back to this virtual museum that stores virtual renderings of everything recorded about the man to study for clues, and definitely not from a book of notes or a diary he kept… where he sees something he’s missed, even though, by his own admission he seen the footage 70+ times…. And one more thing: this race looked like one of todays’ games, NOT something from the 80’s. (and Iron Giant came out 1999, practically 2000.)
My next point nearly drove me from the theater. We’ve established its’ the future, and we have all kinds of advanced tech, facial mapping available to the poorest. Wade is poor. His rig did it. Currently, I know of NO ONE that doesn’t store their password online with a master password, or use face or fingerprints for access (biometrics). The main bad guy (who’s kind of a wuss) is a bigshot corporate type that has a state of the art VR rig for accessing the OASIS, and in a VERY 80’s kind of style, has a … I can’t even believe…. A POST IT NOTE WITH HIS PASWORD ON IT!! . Oh, well, is the rig behind a security door? No? Anyone walking in could see it? And when we re-create the office FOR the OASIS, leave it EXACTLY THE SAME. Yeah, Parzival sees the note when INVITED IN to be threatened and, ostensibly, killed. But again, writers of script, computers are FAST, Parzival could have been broadcasting, or recording, (they never said he couldn’t. Not in the film anyway) and it was just STUPID and CLUMSY and a cheap way to gloss over the entire struggle to get past the bad guy security.
One more thing, Hallidays’ friend and partner in the OASIS, a very rich man I would assume, has been secretly sneaking off to help Parzifal over the years in disguise as a virtual host of the virtual museum of memories I mentioned earlier. Why? Why did he pick this kid? He said at the end he had “Nothing to do with the game” to Parzifal. Because the media wouldn’t have asked him that question ad nauseum, over the past five years (note sarcasm), so there’s no way Parzifal could have known he had no secret insight into the game.
So, although pretty and shiny and chock full of visual references, overall I give this expensive visual feast full of empty calories half a star, for the Buckaroo Banzai mention.