Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel was optioned for the screen before it had even hit publication.  Steven Spielberg signed on to direct, and brought this nostalgia trip to the screen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSvnepZS26s

Ready Plater One

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Zak Penn, Ernest Cline

Based on Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Cast:

Tye Sheridan as Parzival / Wade
Olivia Cooke as Art3mis / Samantha
Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento
Lena Waithe as Aech / Helen
T.J. Miller as I-R0k
Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow
Mark Rylance as Anorak / James Halliday
Philip Zhao as Sho
Win Morisaki as Daito
Hannah John-Kamen as F’Nale Zandor

Premise:

The film is set in the year 2045, when much of humanity, escaping the desolation of the real-world, uses the virtual reality software OASIS to engage in work and play. Wade Watts (Sheridan) discovers clues to a hidden game within the program that promises the winner full ownership of the OASIS, and joins several allies to try to complete the game before indentured players working for a large company, run by Nolan Sorrento (Mendelsohn), can do so.   (From Wikipedia.)

High Point:

The effects are beautiful, and the story holds together well, everything you would expect from a Spielberg action story.  There are plenty of fun references with in every scene, so I am sure you could watch it frame by frame on the home video version and see many things you missed on a theater screen.

Low Point:

The story follows our heroes through a fun action romp.  This is not the tale the book brought us, leaving behind the months of effort and start-from-absolute-zero that showed Wade/Parzival’s dedication, and altering his motivation to regular old desire-to-win and infatuation with a girl he just met and barely knows.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 This is based on a book, but even so this is a collection of tropes put together in a stew of nostalgia and references.

Effects: 6/6 The movie looks wonderful.  We were very deep into the movie before I realized I was watching a movie that was essentially as animated as The Lego Movie.

Acting: 4/6 The acting was passable, but none of it stood out to me.

Production: 4/6 The production was good, but for as many references as this store requires, there weren’t nearly as many in the movie as I thought it should have had.  Granted, it’s easier to write a description of Leopardon than it is to figure out who has the rights to, then acquire them.

Story: 3/6  This score is for the movie.  I enjoyed the book, but without the excess backstory, it seemed like the movie didn’t have much to offer besides a boilerplate adventure tale.  There are places where months pass in the book that are necessarily shortened for the pacing and level of action a feature film requires.  I suspect it could have been better served letting it get drawn out, maybe as a series rather than a 100 minute movie.

Emotional Response: 3/6 For the pacing reasons listed under story, I was not nearly as emotionally invested in these movie characters as I was for the book’s characters.  At Aech’s reveal, I realized I had forgotten that detail from the book, but also that I didn’t care.

Overall: 4/6  It was good, and I think the visuals justify the IMAX 3D where I saw it, but hindsight tells me that I could have waited until it came out for home release.

In total, “Ready Player One” receives 26/42