Ready Player One tough to make: Spielberg

Ready Player One Reviews Are In—and It's Giving Critics Pop Culture Whiplash

At least, that's the future as imagined by United States author Ernest Cline in his best-seller Ready Player One, which has now been turned into an action adventure film by none other than Steven Spielberg. Although "Ready Player One" is nowhere near as memorable as "Jaws" or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", it demonstrates that the director is fully capable of adapting to the times.

In the OASIS, teenager Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) becomes Parzival, spiky-haired CGI hero who drives a "Back to the Future"-style DeLorean, complete with flux capacitor".

The reality vs. virtual reality theme is both implicit and explicit throughout the film, toggling back and forth between the Oasis and the "real world", as "Ready Player One" essentially uses the ultimate video game as a warning against video games. The player who finds it will win the title of "Player One" and become the gamekeeper of the OASIS, as well as rich beyond their wildest imagination. Money earned in the game can be used outside of it, just as trouble made in the game can attract unwanted attention for players outside of it. Fox 11 covered the film's premiere at the Dolby Theatre on Monday of this week, but TONIGHT we experienced the Ready Player One Maze challenge on the corner of Hollywood and Vine!

In the film, mad-genius creator of The Oasis, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), has died. Thus begins the worldwide quest to find a hidden "easter egg" inside Halliday's alternate reality.

Ready Player One stars 21-year-old Texan actor Tye Sheridan who embarks on a virtual treasure hunt race to unlock clues to the immersive universe, the OASIS.

It's not hard to interpret "Ready Player One" as an argument for net neutrality, a policy that favored an open internet that the Federal Communications Commission recently voted to repeal. It's full of pop culture references and wonderfully creative action, often to the beat of '80s rock music.

More news: Assange said to have lost internet access and right to receive visitors

There's also a serious problem with regard to the way fan culture is presented. Given the reward would make the victor the richest and quite possibly the most powerful person in the world, everyone is bent on finding and winning the challenges, but none show themselves as committed to it from the very start as much as Art3mis, called the "Sixer Fixer" and the IOI, run by a former intern of Halliday, a relatively competent villain in Nolan Sorrento and his army of employees called "Sixers". The film is comprised of handsome shots filled with clutter and endless detail, much like how one would imagine the mind of a creator like Halliday, who is compared to Steve Jobs in the film, would be.

He also never lets the myriad retro-gaming and pop-culture namechecks assert control over the story and take us out of the film.

This could be a major blow to Carl's Jr.'s marketing plan, as the company has already devoted significant resources making Spielburgers-themed parodies on its YouTube account and even orchestrating an ill-fated attempt to deliver hamburgers to Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment's headquarters.

Lena Waithe shines as Wade/Parzival's tough best friend, Aech, as does Philip Zhao as the diminutive Sho, a gamer whose abilities belie his age. A pivotal sequence in the middle of the film, in which the friends seek a realm in a world created to look like the cavernous sets of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Steven King's The Shining, is self-consciously referential cinema at its most sublime. There is never a tiresome moment and endless silly humor.

So it's no wonder that everyone (or so it seems) straps on a virtual-reality headset everyday to escape into the OASIS. Combining this with technology of the future, he creates something new for everyone to enjoy while, cheesy as it sounds, learning a little something about life and friends along the way.

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