Among filmmakers, there is no bigger name than Steven Spielberg. Spielberg created the summer blockbuster with “E.T.” and “Jaws,” then went on to achieve Oscar glory on multiple occasion, including historical dramas Lincoln and Schindler’s List. Spielberg’s latest offering, “Ready Player One,” is based on the Ernest Cline novel of the same name. The movie stars relative newcomer and young X-Men star Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts, the film’s protagonist. Watts lives in a dystopian 2045 vision of Columbus, Ohio, Where most people live their life in the digital “oasis.” The oasis provides the film with it’s most captivating visuals, set pieces and action sequences.
Outside of the oasis, a lot of the film focuses on the evil IOI corporation and their mal-doing CEO played by Ben Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn gives a performance that embodies sentiments of corporate greed, which provides a welcome contrast to Sheridan’s optimism.
The two play off of each other well in their scenes, however, one complaint I have is that while Mendelsohn possesses clear motivation for what he wants, Sheridan’s character Watts does not seem to have an incredibly defined arc as it relates to his vision for the future of the Oasis. While this does hurt the movie, it doesn’t do anything to deter the film’s extravagant visuals and maximalist style.
The film also features a fun cast of side characters with many welcome cameos from figures of popular culture. It is just fun to sit in the theater and see how many characters you know and can pick out of the massive battle sequences. Spielberg returns to his prior era where his films worked to inspire a sense of awe and wonder. The movie watches as a film about, created by and created for nerds. All in all, while “Ready Player One” is not without its flaws, the film is a fun watch and is tailored to be enjoyed on the big screen.
Jacob Hales, Features Writer