Let’s be honest: there are very few films that are worth watching a second time. Most in general theaters are formulaic.
But Ready Player One may be an exception — and at the least, if you go again, you are going to realize there is a whole lot more to it than just the DeLorean, as yell-out-loud thrilling as that is.
The film based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name is justified to be Steven Spielberg’s best opening weekend in a decade, as Screen Rant reported.
The heroes are facing a real-life struggle through the virtual as the film asks if this could actually be a possibility in the future, when the plot is set.
And, how relationships, both the friendly and romantic, change, if at all.
The creator of the virtual-reality world OASIS, that plot’s canvas, figures in greatly; the very reason for James Halliday’s creation is explored from the standpoint of being a reflection of the creator’s internal struggles and personal life.
And of course, there’s the general idea of just how much VR will have taken over our world by 2044, the year in which the film is set.
It’s not about winning, but playing, the game, is a refrain. Perhaps this is something many of us should consider in our real lives.
It’s the closest we will get to another Back to the Future film
Between Michael J. Fox having Parkinson’s disease, media that isn’t film already having been made that tells more of the story and, most of all, Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis himself saying that there will not be a fourth film, even fans of this trilogy know that it will not enjoy a return to the big screen as many other franchises recently have.
But, as it should be said again, the DeLorean makes more than a cameo in Ready Player One, Zemeckis gets a by-name and by-score tribute, and Olivia Cooke reminds of Lea Thompson, the first lead actress of these two films.
Glorious geekiness, nostalgia
Holy giggles, Batman — the Batmobile from the 1960s Adam West television series makes an appearance (and barely survives)! There’s an Alfred-like character in The Curator who, of course, helped make all the difference in the protagonist’s greatest achievement! And Harley Quinn and Deadshot!
Outside of the dark knight’s legend, there’s the Tyrannosaurus rex from Jurassic Park. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles And even a verbal reference to the Millennium Falcon, with main character Wade Owen Watts (Tye Sheridan) getting as excited as crowds presumably did in response, is much appreciated.
And there is more than enough 1980s music to enjoy — just one is Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
Go even again to find out how many references to pop culture you can spot.
Women taking the initiative (in dating, too)
Even though it’s virtual, Cooke’s Samantha Evelyn Cook is proactive throughout the film and there is no way that Wade could have won the game without her insights and ingenuity. At one point, she even does all the work to obtain one of the few keys in OASIS, the virtual reality.
And she is the one who does the asking-out as a result of the romantic dynamic between her and Wade.
Wade is featured blaming Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), already the film’s antagonist by the time the scene rolled, for Wade’s aunt’s death. Sorrento gets a response, but the question remains as to whether the corporate executive was responsible for death as a result of a corporate decision.
How will virtual reality be carried out?
As we move further into VR in our own world, there are many dynamics to consider.
Relationships, for instance.
The good guys need a moment to be able to consider who they are in real life since they first met virtually, where they were different individuals, sometimes to an extreme degree.
And at one point, Samantha’s avatar Art3mis actually rubs her hands over Wade’s crotch, but Wade’s next question about getting together in real life quickly reminds the audience that one world is biological and the other, nothing more than pretend, at the end of the day.
If you want to say that the suits the characters wore to be in OASIS brought some overlap between the worlds, that is true, but it makes you wonder if that is how VR will be brought more fully to our reality and if it will or even can take physical impact as expressed in the virtual world with it.
It’s been relatively well-chronicled that Simon Pegg is living a fanboy’s dream — after being one himself. So it is perfect that Pegg is in the film — as someone, in Ogden Morrow, whose creation (OASIS) is a result of his character’s fandom.
James Halliday: his insecurity, motivation
Pegg’s character takes a backseat when Halliday goes it solo as the man over OASIS. That division is an intriguing part of the plot, besides Halliday’s insecurity (he was too afraid to ever kiss a girl) and motivation (he created the VR because he did not feel at home in the real world).
It’s resonant, then, that Halliday becomes an advocate for reality after Wade has won the game, from the very room where it appears that Halliday hangs around a child version he created for himself. A child who is doing what Halliday told Wade in terms of getting out of the real world (through a video game), for comfort.
Also, could Halliday and OASIS be a reflection of George Lucas and Star Wars, as Vox considered?
The fight’s ideal
The good guys want to own OASIS because they want it to meet certain values and principals. They want what some call utopia and others call Zion. If VR can be controlled, is that the best medium to create an ideal society?
How Halliday goes out
We are told that Halliday is dead in reality, but not an avatar, either. (When Wade, as his avatar Parzival, asks who the Halliday he’s speaking with is, Halliday only says goodbye, remarking “thanks for playing my game.”) So what is he? And if he’s between two realities, is this how people can be preserved in real life? And where did he go after Wade stepped into his domain as a result of winning the game?
How many of the questions in this piece can be explored in a new film? Even on a pure geek level, could Wade still be able to access a Millennium Falcon? Perhaps Star Wars on-screen in the future should be explored in a virtual-reality film? (Is that what Spielberg is suggesting?)