Do I read novels? Yes.
Do I watch movies? You betcha.
Do I only watch movies based on novels? Of course not.
Is this (another) movie adaptation of a novel? Maybe. Okay, fine, yes. And, yes, I read the book this time. I’m not sure if that was a bigger distraction or not.
You see, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a solid piece of work as well as an homage to the 80’s, a time period that resonates with me and possibly anyone else of a certain age.
The book wasn’t adapted here, so much as it was used as a framework to hang the story on. This can be forgiven if you consider Ernest Cline co-wrote the screenplay. We still have Wade Watts played by Tye Sheridan in a race for three hidden keys to unlock an Easter Egg inside the Oasis, a sprawling virtual reality designed by the late James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Whoever gets to it first gains control of the Oasis. And if there’s money to be made, there must be a corporate interest as well. Ben Mendelsohn plays the greedy head of IOI, Nolan Sorrento, with the right amount of chilling menace that stops short of mustache twirling.
I appreciated the action from the get-go, following our protagonists from one problem to the next as they try to track down the keys because not only do they have to stay ahead of their rivals in the Oasis, but IRL, too. The film takes a complicated premise and turns it into a straightforward action-adventure flick that only slows down when it falls into some 80’s style tropes. Not totally unexpected, given the film is directed by Steven Spielberg, a man whose work helped define the era. This also gives the entire film a meta feel.
What it comes down to is whether I would sit through the movie again. The answer is yes, I would. The movie deserves another viewing to catch all of the nostalgic references alone. Much beyond that, I’m not sure. I know I feel a pressing need to rewatch Ladyhawke though.