By Dave B.
First, I haven’t read the book and after seeing the movie, I probably won’t. This is one of those rare occasions where I can imagine the movie being the superior version, but if you disagree, please tell me so! I’m always looking for new things to read. That said, Ready Player One is much more of an experience than it is merely a movie.
Let’s start with the (slight) negatives. At nearly 2.5 hours, Ready Player One is long. It’s easily the longest movie that I’ve seen in the past few years. It doesn’t feel as long as it is, but hopefully you can watch it in a theater with the comfortable recliners. Additionally, there were some elements that were a bit too implausible for me. I just couldn’t buy that it would take a world full of hardcore gamer/researchers 5+ years to make real progress cracking the clues that were required to attain the ultimate prize. If you know any gamers at all, you know that they’ll exhaust every single conceivable possibility, in a relatively short amount of time, in order to complete their goal.
That said, the movie was a visual masterpiece. I don’t normally watch movies in 3D, but I didn’t have a choice this time (due to scheduling issues). While 3D isn’t necessary to appreciate the visual splendor of this movie, it does enhance the experience. Steven Spielberg doesn’t have to be concerned with budgets and clearly spared no expense to make this movie a full-immersion experience. The action was top-tier. I’ve seen better action sequences, but not often. The acting was serviceable, but honestly, I was so caught up in the visuals that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if the acting had been terrible.
What I found most compelling about Ready Player One was the nostalgia factor. If you grew up from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s, you’re in for a treat. That’s not to say that people who grew up in other generations won’t enjoy the movie. They certainly will. But I found myself repeatedly thinking, “I haven’t seen/heard/thought about that in forever!!!”. Getting to experience a lot of the popular culture elements that I grew up with (many of which were not very popular at the time) filled me with joy. Seeing a Firefly dramatically dropping the Iron Giant into the climactic battle nearly brought a few tears to my eyes.
Ready Player One overwhelms the senses. Not necessarily in a negative way, but in a way that makes it difficult to examine the movie’s individual components. It’s simply too large of an experience for me to view it as anything other than a whole. And as a whole, it works extremely well. If you’re between the ages of 30 and 45, this movie is a must see. If you fall outside of that range, go see it anyway. You’ll get a better idea of why people who grew up in the 1980s are so cool. 8/10