Popcorn Picks Review: ‘Ready Player One’ is a fun joy ride


Photo credit/ Anne Marie Fox

Credit to Warner Bros.

Bethany Wade

Sometimes you just need a movie that’s loud, colorful and exciting in every scene.

Steven Spielberg returns with “Ready Player One,” a sci-fi action film based on the book of the same name. The film focuses around the digital world of the OASIS, where people can be whatever they want. The creator of the world hides three keys and those who find them win control of the OASIS. Wade Watts, played by Tye Sheridan, is desperate to escape poverty in real life and becomes the first person to find a key, setting off a race to the finish against a large corporation.

Having recently focused on character-driven movies, this is Spielberg’s first major blockbuster since “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull” 10 years ago. It’s a return to form for him as he shows he knows what it takes to make a fun movie. He builds two completely different worlds, showcasing the real world and the OASIS in unique ways.

The film makes major changes to the plot from the book, changing two of the three challenges required to win the keys and cutting a major character death. These changes make the film feel like a different universe from the book and also open up a few plot holes. This is interesting as the author of the novel, Ernest Cline, was one of two who wrote the script. The story is stronger in the book, but the changes made for film are for the most part harmless.

Tye Sheridan’s performance as Wade is a mixed bag. There are moments when he nails his role and gives a strong performance. There are other scenes where he struggles to meet the mark of the people around him. Sheridan’s performance isn’t anything spectacular and even feels like there’s someone who could’ve done a better job in the role.

On the other hand, Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento is terrifyingly great. He gives a strong yet intimidating performance as the CEO of Innovative Online Industries, offering audiences a villain to match the hero’s wit. Though Sorrento’s character is toned down compared to his character in the book, Mendelsohn still makes it feel like Wade and the rest of his team could suffer serious consequences fighting him.

The film is a solid blockbuster. The effects and story offer something fun and exciting for viewers, however, everything else in the film fails to live up to the precedent set by the book and Spielberg’s previous films. It’s worth seeing in theaters for the spectacle created by the digital world of the OASIS, but that’s about it.

Rating: Three and a half kernels out of five.


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Twitter: @BethanyWadeTWW