“Spielberg’s perfect visual spectacle”

Thanks to Roadshow Films we had the chance to see Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!

Ready Player One’ is set in a futuristic world that seems to be undergoing an apocalypse, where civilisation is taking refuge in the OASIS, a virtual universe created by James Halliday (Mark Rylance). In OASIS, people can live and interact using custom-made avatars, and the possibilities are unlimited.

When Halliday dies he leaves a message to the world in which he says that players will need to pass a series of challenges in order to get three keys. These keys will unlock a hidden Easter eggs, giving the winner total power over the OASIS. This naturally unleashes a frenzy among players, including young Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) whose devotion to Halliday will take him to places no other avatar has reached before.

Everything gets even more complex when Nolan Sorrento (Australia’s Ben Mendelson), the CEO of Innovative Online Industries, also joins the hunt for the Easter Egg alongside his army of players: the Sixers.

Not that long ago, a film like ‘Ready Player One’ would be impossible to make and probably fail due to the technical challenges and emotional approach its story requires. However, today we not only have all the requisite technology but we also have an experienced master craftsman like Steven Spielberg. ‘Ready Player One’ is proof that his imagination and capability really have no limits. He delivers not only one of the most entertaining films in recent memory, but also a technically flawless visual spectacle that’s full of nostalgia and emotional charge.

Generations old and young are treated to a ridiculous amount of fan-service, from old-school video game hints to film and anime references with explosive action sequences. What is most surprising about the film is that despite the cast spending so little time on screen as live-action characters (because most of the story takes place in the OASIS) you’ll still feel for each one of their avatars. You’ll suffer their defeats and join them on their journey while driving the DeLorean from Back to the Future, riding Akira’s bike, piloting a Gundam or the Iron Giant, or joining forces with the likes of Spawn, Chucky, Batman, Chun-Li, the Battletoads and the Ninja Turtles, to name but a few.

The entire cast really shines, with Tye Sheridan playing a convincingly naïve leading character and Olivia Cooke as Art3mis. They lead a full ensemble of young and experience talents, including Philip Zhao, J-Pop idol Win Morisaki, and Simon Pegg. Ben Mendelson‘s take on the villain is a joy, making him feel like an old-school bad guy from films like Robocop or The Running Man; a mix of heavy and dummy.

Ready Player One is full of epic moments, but one sequence is guaranteed to become an instant classic, as the players get inside a popular Kubrick movie that will take their nostalgia and film geekiness to new levels. Don’t be surprised if the audience in your cinema breaks into applause!

It’s a cinematic triumph, a visual tour-de-force where the stars are not only the actors but also the insane legions of animators and visual artists bringing all these fantastical worlds to life on the big screen, all brought together with Spielberg’s inimitable magic.

Ready Player One – In cinemas March 29

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