Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018)

Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018)

Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated sci-fi adaptation offers fleeting moments of blockbuster fun and not much else.

"Ready Player One" is director Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated adaptation of author Ernest Cline's 2011 novel of the same name. If you have spent any amount of time on the internet recently, you have likely seen people either anxiously awaiting the film's release or preemptively deriding it. After months of strong opinions from fans and detractors, the film has finally arrived and the results are disappointingly tepid.

The film follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a bland teenage composite of Dylan Minette and Miles Teller, who lives in the dystopian future of 2045. The only escape from the daily drudgery of the future is a virtual reality world called the OASIS, a massive online video game where players can live out their wildest fantasies (which are apparently limited to video games and movies from the 1980s and 90s). Watts roams the virtual world from the comfort of an abandoned cargo van, nestled in a "District 9"-style shantytown in Columbus, Ohio. His virtual counterpart, a vaguely elven avatar named Parzival, is one of thousands of players involved in an elaborate Easter egg hunt set forth by OASIS's creator, James Halliday, upon his death five years prior. The rules of the hunt are simple: the first player to find three keys hidden within the OASIS will gain control of the program and serve as Halliday's successor. In the ensuing years since Halliday's death, no one has been able to find the first key. Watts stumbles across a clue that leads him to the first key, and suddenly the race is on as everyone in the OASIS is out to complete the hunt and win the prize. I.O.I., one of those pesky faceless corporations that always seem to be causing trouble in movies, is also out to win the competition, but only so that it can monetize the otherwise free-to-play world of OASIS.

The film unfolds in a humdrum fashion from here. Watts falls in love with an equally bland player named Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), who teams up with him and his team of friends (I won't bother to name them all because the movie doesn't care enough to give them personalities, only actions to complete in service of the plot) to complete the hunt before the corporate baddies. Art3mis doesn't want to meet Watts in real life, but of course they eventually do, and of course they still fall in love in real life anyways. Eventually I.O.I. manages to get information on Watts' shantytown whereabouts, which forces him to go on the lam with his real-life teammates, attempting to complete the hunt while fleeing in a modified postal truck. Everything culminates in a big battle outside the third challenge of the hunt, which I.O.I has conveniently blocked off with a magic force field. As is to be expected, Watts rallies the legions of OASIS users to fight for the fate of their beloved virtual reality world. Many heroic words are said, but none of them are particularly memorable. And what would a modern blockbuster film be without a giant CGI army battle? Pop culture characters abound as the Iron Giant and a Gundam robot duke it out with Mechagodzilla, and armies of video game and movie characters flash up onscreen. Good bests evil as is expected, and Watts is treated to a one-on-one meeting with a simulation of Halliday, who signs over the OASIS and suggests that real life should not be ignored in favor of escapism. A strange moral with which to end the film, given that the sequences set in the OASIS are far more interesting than anything taking place in the real world.

I am not a fan of Cline's novel, so I went into the film expecting to hate it. Much to my surprise, the big screen adaptation of "Ready Player One" was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It pares down the constant, clunky pop culture references of the novel and greatly reduces Watts' creepy behavior. The movie also replaces the hunt challenges of the novel with ones that are more visually interesting, it is better for it. By far the most engaging sequences in the film are the first and second challenges of the hunt. I particularly enjoyed the second challenge, which is set in a recreation of the film "The Shining". The visual effects used to generate replicas of the Overlook Hotel sets are quite impressive, and the sequence moves along at an exciting clip. As is the case the with the book, the portions of "Ready Player One" set in the real world are just not as interesting as the scenes set in the OASIS. The virtual world, while clogged with pop culture references, is far more visually interesting than the drab dystopia of Columbus, Ohio. None of the characters are particularly memorable, either, although this could be seen as an improvement. In removing most of Watts' pathetic creepiness towards Art3mis in the adaptation process, the movie erases the only defining trait of his character. The cinematic adaptation of "Ready Player One" is in many respects better than the book, but it still falls short as a film.

Cover Image Credit: Mali Maeder

Popular Right Now

18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.

Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

Related Content

Facebook Comments