With this being Spielberg’s 33rd full length feature it wouldn’t be wrong to worry if he’s just phoning it in by now, but this is so far from the case here. Making computer game heavy concepts can be a tough act to crack. Spielberg (and the writers) just get it. Having dabbled in the industry himself with incredible gem that was The Dig back in the 90s, the director evokes the fun, suspense and adventure but without the pitfalls other films with game tie-ins often fall for. The movie’s over the top racing scene is as CGI-heavy as you can get, but still feels grounded in reality with its clever use of cinematography that obeys the rules of traditional cinema.
Understandably Ready Player One lives and breathes nostalgia, and while you don’t need to get the references to understand it, viewers who don’t may feel a little left behind. The nostalgia isn’t just limited to cameos, cars and cassette tapes. The plot itself harks back to the old adventure films from the years it references (70s, 80s) with McGuffins galore, actual old film scenes, and a (SPOILER) finale shout out to the grail scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.
While Blade Runner and the like nailed the dystopian effects of a tech-led future, the story doesn’t delve too deep into the real dreariness, despair and horrors of the real world, but this is a more positive film and it’s understandable why it glosses over this.
The film rushes through most of its 2 hours and 20 minutes at breakneck pace, with a giddy sugary sense of fun throughout all of its spectacular set pieces. It takes the technological savviness and innovations of Minority Report, and slathers it with the youthful innocence, excitement and adventure that was served up in Tintin.