Movie Review – Ready Player One

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.

Ready Plater One

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Zak Penn, Ernest Cline

Based on Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


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


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

2 replies on “Movie Review – Ready Player One”

  1. I read the book very shortly after it came out, so I didn’t notice the differences as much. I’m also a pretty soft touch when it comes to movies.

    Which is to say, I enjoyed it a lot. As intended, the references had me laughing during both the action scenes and the slow parts in between. I’m the perfect age for most of those, so the 80’s and 90’s references just fit for me. I noticed a couple of newer references, but really only a couple. I’m honestly not sure if I missed more that will appeal to a younger audience, or if there are only a few in the movie, since the book was clearly targeted at the older audience.

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