If there’s a movie that will serve easter egg hunters by being released to blu-ray (and DVD) then it’s Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s iconic, nostalgia inducing science fiction romp, Ready Player One, available today from Warner Brothers.
Tye Sheridan stars as Wade, a young dreamer, who like everyone in his generation, living amongst the vertical trailer parks known as The Stacks, is looking to find a set of keys in a virtual world of the Oasis. Designed by Halliday (Mark Rylance), the Oasis is the escape for so many people, but a trio of keys, and quests around the Oasis could give one person complete control over it.
There is a devious company, headed by Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) who wants it, he has whole divisions researching 80s nostalgia (films, music, comics, books, games) to try to solve the quests.
Anyone not working for the company searching for these Easter Eggs are called Gunters, and Wade as Percival in the Oasis, is determined to be first to the key. With his friend Aech (Lena Waithe) and his prime competitor Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) at his side, they are determined to beat Sorrento and his cronies to the prize.
Steeped in 80s culture, and cutting edge visual effects, the film, while different from the book, has the spirit of it, and is joyous entertainment. Watch it once for the enjoyment, and then watch it again with your finger on the pause button as there is so much to see in here… Serenity, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the pod from 2001, Galactica ships and patches, iconic tee shirts, pins, logos, posters, characters (Freddy, Jason, the Iron Giant), countless video game characters, vehicles, costumes… These visual easter eggs are everywhere!
The extras include a series of behind the scenes docs that run almost two hours, and happily looks at all aspects of the making of the film, and that is the kind of thing I love. Watching Spielberg deal with VR, sound design, the look, the cast, is always a joy. He is my favourite director after all (to be able to meet him, just for five minutes, and thank him for all he’s given me, for how he’s influenced me, been there when I needed him… that would be… I don’t even have the words).
Now to be clear, this isn’t on par with his other popcorn films, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Jaws, and while there are themes and meanings at work in the film, it’s not E.T., Minority Report or Duel, but it is a solid, and enjoyable science fiction film from a master filmmaker who has influenced countless people around the world, even Cline, who delighted in the film adaptation Spielberg delivered.
And it delighted me as well. The nostalgia at work (and I put my pause button to work on my home viewing of this one), the effects, and the message at the film’s heart, it all delivers in typical Spielberg fashion.
Gamers, 80s lovers, nostalgia fans, and Spielberg acolytes are going to enjoy this one a lot. Ready Player One is available from Warner Brothers today on blu-ray and DVD!