By Christian Decker
I wasn’t very interested in seeing Ready Player One, considering I hadn’t read the book nor was I very interested in the concept at all. I had also heard the book had some problematic elements when it comes to representation. Nevertheless, right before spring break ended my friend asked me to go see this with him, since he had read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I decided to go and see it.
The movie tells the story of a pseudo-dystopian America, where everything kind of sucks and people decided to stop fixing things in the real world. The escape for everyone is in a virtual reality video game called “The Oasis”, in which you can do whatever you want and be whatever you want (if you’ve seen the anime Sword Art Online it’s similar to that). The main plot surrounds a contest in which the game creator left behind a series of Easter eggs, after his untimely death, which, when completed, would give the would-be winner complete control over the game. Our main protagonist, Parcival (that’s his in-game name), is what’s called a gunter, someone who tries to figure out the Easter Eggs. Of course, there’s an evil corporation and the heroes eventually win and romance and blah blah blah.
Despite how cliche this movie was, I enjoyed it. It essentially referenced a decent portion of my childhood with various nods to Star Wars, and other Spielberg movies (yes, he directed this movie), and even more recent video games like Overwatch and Halo. I’m also a big fan of underdog storylines. I mean I think we can all relate to trying to fight against evil corporations who seek to take over everything we love and turn it into profits (hahaha too real…). Although the plot was very generic with the good guys winning, I did enjoy that something had a happy ending for once. As you get older, you tend to read a lot of books and see a lot of movies that either have very ambiguous endings, or just plain depressing ones. Having been watching a lot of horror movies with my dad and brother, it was nice to see a nice cute ending. It’s worth noting that I have an extreme love for all things video games. Near the end of the movie Parcival meets the avatar of the game’s creator, and as the creator leaves, he tells him “thanks for playing my game” I’m willing to admit that I teared up a little, please don’t judge me.
Despite the fact that I enjoyed the movie, there were some glaring issues I had with it. For one the romance was incredibly one-dimensional, and I honestly wanted to throw up during any of the romance scenes. You don’t meet someone like twice and fall in love, especially over a virtual game. It felt very forced and there was honestly no good reason for it to be included in the movie or even in the book. Another issue was that it changed up significant parts of the book according to my friend. Now I know to each his own but that bothers me. The last and worst issue, is the tokenization of the minority characters. Having the Chinese and Japanese characters playing as a ninja and samurai, is questionable at best.
If you can look past these issues, it’s a very good nostalgic movie, and I’d give it around a 7 out of 10.