Steven Spielberg is still making films! Until I started writing I had no idea that his last film (before this one), The Post (2018) was nominated for an Oscar, not just any Oscar but “best picture”! I didn’t realize that was his movie! I was scrolling through Instagram (Aye, give your boy a follow! @TheCinematicHitman) and a movie account that I follow said that Spielberg said that Ready Player One (2018) was the third hardest film he has ever filmed after Jaws (1975) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).
If you haven’t seen the movie I will be spoiling it a little bit, this is more of a conversation piece so yeah, Spoilers ahead.
In 2045 after the creator of the Oasis, James Halliday (Mark Rylance) dies he informs everyone that if they want full power over the Oasis they must find three keys that will make them trillions of dollars and unlimited power over the Oasis. Here we meet our Hero Wade Watts (Parzival in the Oasis) and his friends and the Antagonist, Sorrento. Sorrento wants to take full control over the Oasis so he hires a bunch of kids that love Halliday to crack the easter eggs. Wade doesn’t need all of that and him and his friends battle against Sorrento to save the Oasis from entering the wrong hands. Also this is a film about easter eggs and it’s literally released Easter weekend.
The film literally starts off with the infamous Spielberg “long take”. This was beautiful because it literally set up the world that we were going to be introduced to perfectly. The world (even though it is our world) sucks you in automatically and looks foreign. It’s interesting because without saying much it hints at environmental problems that we are having now but in that world, it’s fully developed.
One of the things that it clearly shows is overpopulation. These guys literally live in trailer parks that you have to climb to the top of to make it home. Trailer on top of trailers are just stacked up on top of each other. In the Movie DREDD (2012)A similar thing was depicted, where each building was like a whole new city because of how massive they were.
That intro long shot in the Ready Player One was genius! You see everyone with their VR headsets and he stresses how important this Oasis is to all of the characters in the movie. All while this is going on there is narration from Wade Watts and sometimes in movies that could get boring but for this one, it was necessary! There would have been no other way to get us to understand what we were getting ourselves into. The set up was flawless because after 30 minutes of the movie we already understand how things work. It’s like how he let the entire race, in the beginning, go through. It set up the antagonist, his friends and how impossible it was to beat it. So now, when Wade figures out the riddle watching everyone die, the race makes sense because the race was not meant to be played. Spielberg had to set up two different worlds and how they had to coexist with each other.
THE EASTER EGGS
This movie was so much fun! I haven’t enjoyed a movie like this since… I don’t even know. There were so many Easter eggs in the film that my head was spinning! I was freaking out every single time that I saw one. I’m not usually one to talk during movies but this movie was an exception! Every time I found an easter egg I had to announce it. I got way too excited when I noticed that Inception reference too.
You guys remember that one? Parzival and his friend, Daito captures Sorrento and they snatch him on his way out of the Oasis. That scene was a rip from the very intro scene to Inception (2010) when Cobb and Arthur are talking to Saito and Saito becomes aware
that he is in fact just in a dream. In Ready Player One, they had Daito dress up as Arthur and they even had suppressors on their guns. I only figured out this was an Inception reference because I was wondering where the hell did they get the guns? Then Daito says,
“He knows” (that was me paraphrasing) I lost my shit! Especially since Inception is my favorite movie ever. I also thought that the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and The Breakfast Club (1985) Easter egg was funny because Sorrento is literally the bad guy in both of those films. And the more I thought about it Ben Mendelsohn is actually always playing bad guys in films.
The Shining (1980) scene shocked the hell out of me! I didn’t think that Spielberg was actually going to go into room 237 where the naked lady was taking a bath! For a movie
that was PG-13, he either got away with a lot of stuff or the board of people that do the ratings are starting to not to give a crap about what people are watching. But my thought was,
“There are kids in here, he’s not about to tweak.”
EVERYONE WAS UGLY!
You know that this is a Spielberg film by the way that the antagonists act. I feel as though the antagonists in all of Spielberg’s films (at least the more kid-friendly ones) are always quick, talkative, and very quirky. It’s always like they’re straight out of a Cartoon. This movie is no different, the music that they used to identify the characters didn’t make them any more menacing and I’ll be honest with you, I never really feared for anyone’s life.
While the antagonists were quirky I enjoyed how Spielberg was able to make the protagonists relatable. Everyone in the cast is either ugly, physically unique, or I don’t know, not Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. These guys looked like regular everyday people and they’re physical characteristic somehow played a huge role in their character. The best example of how everyone was unique would be with Halliday, the creator of the Oasis. By making everyone different it adds an extra layer of sauce to the film!
James Halliday could have easily been this overconfident, asshole, generic cut and paste billionaire. Instead, Spielberg decides it would be a better idea to get him to be awkward around people, especially around women. He also decides that we’re going to have him speak slowly and slouch when he walks (showing he is naturally an introvert). It reminded me of Samuel L. Jackson’s character from Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Jackson made his character his own by giving him flaws. How are you a villain that hates seeing blood? How can you be menacing if you have a speech problem?
Artemis could have easily been a character that everyone would want to just marry right there on the spot, but she has a birthmark that she is insecure about. THAT IS THE BEST, THESE CHARACTERS THAT ARE PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY INSECURE! THAT’S WHY
THEY CUSTOMIZE THEMSELVES IN THE OASIS! In order for you to have perfect characters, you need to have them be imperfect, just like in real life. The people that you love, your friends are not perfect. But that is exactly what makes them perfect for you! Spielberg captures this beautifully and to be honest, I think we need to stop seeing such beautiful people on movie screens (Literally everyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks like a god, Especially Scarlett Johansson).
This movie is a perfect example of what a company can do if they were not always just interested in money. Literally just share the characters and call it a day! Can you imagine what the film would be like if Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros (and Sony I guess) put their heads together to give us all of their amazing characters? Maybe these greedy companies that don’t want to share are who Sorrento was meant to represent.
Ready Player One paralleled our world so much. This is clearly a film about how an older person views millennial today. He is very bluntly telling us to put down our phones, take a break from social media and be social with the people that are around us. He shows us just about how easy it is to get catfished and get sucked into the virtual life. The meaning of this film was as clear as day: The older man says get off of technology or it will consume you.
But another thing Spielberg wants us to do is not to just watch movies from start to end. He wants us to break it down and look for the subtle things that the director is trying to communicate to us. Maybe that’s why Inception (2010) was featured as a cameo. That’s a film that you need to watch multiple times in order for you to pick up on new things. It’s not just about watching the movie once and then just calling it a day. Ready Player One is one of those films that he wants you to take your time to consume. He even says it in the film,
“It’s not always about finishing the adventure, sometimes you need to just play.” And that was very roughly quoted. There are so many Easter eggs in this movie that just one viewing is not enough to fully absorb the film for what it has to offer us.
The best thing about Spielberg is that he is 71 years old and he is still aware of what is going on in society today. I know that the older you get the easier it is to stick to the old and shut yourself out from the world but this guy’s brain is so wide open. All of these movie and video game references it makes me wonder what he does with his free time.
I’m not too much of a Spielberg fan. Before you try to kill me let me explain. Spielberg is a very great filmmaker that I’m happy exist. But his films never impacted me as much as the director’s that were impacted by him. Does that make sense? Like, JJ Abrams has more of an impact on me as a filmmaker than Steven Spielberg. But I am aware that JJ Abrams style came from Spielberg. I acknowledge that Spielberg exists but since I’m a different generation of filmmaker my influence is people like Nolan and Tarantino, not Spielberg. This is another topic for another day but I really admire Spielberg’s entrepreneurship more than his movies. Ready Player One though, I have to say this movie is a 9/10! It was fun to watch and I would really love to watch it again really soon.
Owner, Founder, Director, Editor Producer of Kaylex Productions.
Full-Time freelance filmmaker from New Jersey.