Missing the Spielberg magic: Rashid Irani reviews Ready Player One
In a future dystopia, when man has escaped into a parallel virtual reality, gamers must chase down a bounty like no other.movie reviews Updated: Mar 29, 2018 17:12 IST
- Direction: Steven Spielberg
- Actors: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke
- Rating: 3 / 5
The good news is, it’s Steven Spielberg. The not-so-good news: The Spielberg sci-fi magic is missing in this adaptation of Ernest Cline’s young-adult novel.
This is no AI: Artificial Intelligence or Minority Report; or indeed any of the scores of other pop culture classics referenced throughout the film.
Ready Player One is set in a dystopian cityscape, circa 2045. The world is so desolate that humans have sought refuge in a Utopian virtual-reality universe.
The death of the inventor (Mark Rylance, a Spielberg regular lately) of one such mega-tech system, Oasis, sparks a bizarre treasure hunt where gamers must race across digital worlds in search of a multi-million-dollar prize that will include control of the entire VR kingdom.
The treasure hunters include a pair of geeky teenagers (Tye Sheridan-Olivia Cooke) determined to vanquish a rival corporate honcho (Ben Mendelsohn).
It is difficult to get excited about the thrills offered in the ostensible videogame paradise; one’s eyes are confounded rather than dazzled by the swirling chaos.
The action devolves from time to time into soap opera-ish scenes between the lovey-dovey couple. The film’s unwieldy two-and-a-half-hour runtime is another deterrent.
There is a truly terrific pastiche / homage to Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic, The Shining. But all in all, Spielberg would do well to return to the real world.