Ewan Gleadow

Ready Player One Review

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For whatever reason, I had very high hopes for Spielberg’s latest, Ready Player One. Video game movies or movies about video games never work, they just don’t. So, when you’ve got a movie featuring prominent video game characters, popular movie references and a whole host of other pop culture variety, it’s a project that’s doomed to drown in its own nostalgia.

My main problem with Ready Player One is that it has no substance beyond being eye candy for nerds like me. A whole host of cameos from some of pop culture’s most prominent and beloved characters. Well, I say cameos, the majority feel like full-blown plot points. Most crushingly are the scenes featuring one of my favourite movies of all time, The Shining. What could’ve been a nice little nod to the work of Stanley Kubrick was stretched into a half hour of half-decent CGI on an identical looking set to progress the plot in some minor way. If you’re going to reference films from the past, be sure to stick to the source material.

Speaking of the plot, it’s not the worst thing imaginable, but it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to work as a drama and doesn’t go goofy enough to work as a comedy. A blend that simply doesn’t work in the slightest, it’s a shame to see some extremely talented people flounder around in a plot that has so many plot holes and misdirection, it’s borderline impossible to enjoy.

The casting doesn’t much help. From Simon Pegg painfully making his way through the movie with a sudden American accent to Mark Rylance being miscast as an old, weird looking nerd, the problems don’t stop when they get to the main cast. Tye Sheridan is completely dull, he reminds me of a discount Dane DeHaan, who in turn reminds me of a knock-off Ansel Egort. Sheridan doesn’t convince me with his acting abilities either, and I’ve yet to see a movie where he does so.

With the supporting cast, there are similar problems. Ben Mendelsohn is always a nice surprise, but he’s the face of a bland corporation, in turn making him bland too. He has no character arc, direction or anything that would signify any significant character design or thought. The same problem appears with T.J. Miller, who appears as just another henchman.

I think my main reason for disliking Ready Player One so much is that it feels cheap. A cash in on already established brands with a plot loosely connecting the need to pull all the old Back to the Future props out of storage. A lot of praise has been made for the visuals, and it’s nothing really all that special. It’s nice to see video game and movie characters animated in this way, but it doesn’t blow me away like Christopher Robin or Solo: A Star Wars Story did. Spielberg revolutionised the use of CGI with Jurassic Park, but he seems to be the most prominent abuser of it too, with Ready Player One being evidence of that.

Based on a book I’ve heard dreadful things about and have no desire to read, Ready Player One is a true mystery to me. I don’t get why it was made, and for the most part, have shunned the movie in its entirety. Still, spending six quid on the DVD hasn’t made me feel all that much better about this whole situation, especially since I had expected to really enjoy this one.

Totally redundant, a big mess of what I could only consider drivel that appeals to masses of people who pretend to like movies because they can play spot the movie reference. Ready Player One is some of the most disappointing films to ever be made, and it’s mostly because of its sole reliance on pop culture.