Greetings from the Ether,
What could go wrong with a film featuring King Kong, Freddy Krueger, Deathstroke, Harley Quinn and the Joker, the motorcycle from Akira, and a plethora of other iconic references? Oh, and it’s directed by THE Stephen Spielberg? Well, this should be a sure fire mega hit. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Ready Player One has some of the most amazing sequences caught on film in years, if not decades, and boasts an incredible array of characters we all deeply love and cherish. Some sequences that weren’t hinted at in the trailers also deliver unexpected nostalgia, and it would be hard to hate on a film of such magnitude. Nonetheless, everything we’ve mentioned is just about the scope of this film.
Where it may be enticing to see all of our favorite characters brought to life, or even to witness the film adaptation of a beloved science fiction novel by Ernest Cline, it’s difficult not to pay attention to where the film is lacking. It may have been the skyscraper-high expectations, or the insane press and marketing leading up to the film’s release. Deep in the bones of Ready Player One, we have a film that is shallow with little to no character, and an epic that compensates for its lack in writing with stunning visuals and moments of pure joy as we watch our favorite characters throughout history clash on the big screen.
There is little to care about or root for in our lead characters, and the audience will likely be left wishing for more. There are instances where we get a little bit of development, most specifically for our main character Wade, but these tiny scenes are shoved away as quickly as they come. Sure, the concept and execution of virtual reality is thought-provoking, and we don’t think it’s far from where our society may end up in the near future, but these types of studies are best portrayed cinematically when we care about the characters these changes affect.
None of the performances are bad, the motives are clearly stated, and all the technical mastery is just as good as you’d expect a Spielberg flick to be. But what made Spielberg’s most memorable films legendary were often the characters, the leads who we rooted for and stood behind through thick and thin. Ready Player One lacks these intricacies, and if even a little more time had been spent on the characters instead of the fast-paced action and thrilling scenarios, we may be inclined to bump up our rating quite a bit.
We’re not saying Ready Player One is a bad film by any means, just that it fell a little short from what it could have been. See the movie, relive your most nostalgic memories, and enjoy the unbelievable visuals, but don’t expect a character-driven Spielberg drama.
OUR RATING: 3/5