HRyan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I did not think the technology was ready for this film. I didn’t think this would be filmable for another 10 years at least. Nevertheless, after 7 years since the book was published, Steven Spielberg brought this to the big screen.
I should have never doubted my favorite director in the first place. When I saw the first trailer last summer, I was pumped. A few months went on, and I increasingly became worried. What if this too much? How will they handle the references? Will they sidetrack the film? Well, I am happy to report that Ready Player One is Spielberg’s best movie in of recent years.
While I don’t have a problem with Spielberg’s recent train of history films (Lincoln, Bridge of Spies, The Post), it was so fun to see him return to a story that not only is a love letter to his previous films, but also stands completely on its own as an own adventure movie. Spielberg definitely recaptured the magic that made Raiders and E.T so special.
Now, on to the actual movie. I read the book two years ago, and I thought it was incredibly interesting. I see the flaws the book has, as some chapters drag on for way too long, but my high enjoyment for the rest was able to overlook it. I pretty much feel the same way about the movie. The movie is WAY different from the book, with some entire plot points taken away or changed. The movie also moves at a fast pace, and you can tell that scenes were cut so that this didn’t become a three hour CGI fest. Some say the Oasis CG looks fake and unrealistic, but that’s the point. It’s meant to be like a video game. I didn’t have a problem with it.
I am an avid fan of the 80s. It’s pretty much the only music I listen too, and I’ve seen way too many 80s movies to count, so I pretty much got a lot of them. Did the references get in the way of the story? No, most of the time the references are there acting as a main progression of the story. There’s a sequence in the middle involving The Shining, which I absolutely adored. I found the story to flow like the book, not having an issue with pacing.
The biggest flaw I can say is that none of the characters are really fleshed out. However, none of them were really fleshed out in the book either, so there wasn’t much they could have worked with. The characters are your generic main hero, the corporate villain, and the 3-4 sidekicks that help the hero out. Again, the book doesn’t give much detail, so I didn’t have a problem.
The acting is all around fine. There’s no particular standout performance, everyone works with what there given. I thought I was going to be disappointed with Mark Rylance, but he turned out to be my favorite performance of the film. Simon Pegg was wasted in the movie, only having a handful of scenes, and sometimes his American accent didn’t quite work well.
Ready Player One is a film that I will go back and see ASAP. It was so satisfying to walk out of a Spielberg movie again and truly feel the love he embraced. Please see this with the biggest screen and sound, as it will truly enhance your experience. It’s pure fun, at times like riding a roller coaster.