Ready Player One: "Re­al­ity is real"

Montreal Times - - News - By Ser­gio Martinez mtl­times.ca

Idon't think I'm spoil­ing any­thing by in­clud­ing in this ar­ti­cle's ti­tle one of the last lines be­ing pro­nounced in this movie di­rected by Steven Spiel­berg, which is be­ing re­leased this week in Mon­treal. In­deed "Ready Player One" may be seen as a fa­ble whose moral is pre­cisely the im­por­tance of be­ing aware of our ex­is­tence in this, the real world. A help­ful warn­ing in th­ese times when many peo­ple have be­come ad­dicted to all kinds of elec­tronic de­vices that take us away from in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tions and in­ter­ac­tions with na­ture.

Be­sides th­ese con­sid­er­a­tions that I make based on my back­ground in both ed­u­ca­tion and phi­los­o­phy, "Ready Player One" is also an in­ter­est­ing piece of cin­e­matic art, where, if it is even true that vis­ual ef­fects are es­sen­tial, the story is worth ex­am­in­ing for its many con­no­ta­tions and twists.

The story is set in 2045 in a mostly run­down Colum­bus, Ohio, the place where our young hero Wade Watts (Tye Sheri­dan) lives. Like most of the pop­u­la­tion in the city, he is a fan of the videogame Oasis, where he en­joys the com­pany of vir­tual friends whom he had never met in per­son. When multi­bil­lion­aire James Hal­l­i­day (Mark Ry­lance), cre­ator of the im­mensely pop­u­lar videogame dies, he set a sort of Easter egg chase; the win­ner would in­herit his enor­mous for­tune and also the con­trol of Oasis. The con­test un­leashes a fran­tic com­pe­ti­tion with the vil­lain, Nolan Sor­rento (Ben Men­del­sohn) us­ing all his power as a lead­ing ex­ec­u­tive of the Oasis cor­po­ra­tion, to get the three keys that should lead to ob­tain­ing the fi­nal prize. Watts, who in the game uses the name Parzi­val, joins Sa­man­tha Cooks, a.k.a. Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Aech (Leena Waithe) and other young mis­fits on the same quest, but with an en­tirely dif­fer­ent mo­ti­va­tion than that of Sor­rento's.

One of the fun­ni­est mo­ments in the story oc­curs when the search for a cru­cial past episode in the life of Hal­l­i­day takes our heroes into the plot of that movie which hap­pens to be "The Shin­ing." The hor­ror clas­sic, in this case, be­comes a source of comic mis­for­tunes es­pe­cially for Aech, after en­ter­ing the ter­ri­fy­ing room 237.There are other ref­er­ences or com­par­isons to sit­u­a­tions in other movies, par­tic­u­larly "The Ma­trix" con­cern­ing the in­ter­re­la­tion be­tween vir­tual and "real" re­al­ity.

The movie doesn't lack in ac­tion scenes ei­ther, par­tic­u­larly to­ward the end when in the vir­tual re­al­ity a mas­sive bat­tle takes place, while in the real world our heroes, hid­ing in an old post of­fice de­liv­ery truck, are fight­ing the en­emy in the videogame. One note on that se­quence: by 2045, the year in which the story takes place, driver­less cars should be the norm and there­fore to drive by then would be much a for­got­ten skill as to­day writ­ing a let­ter on a type­writer would be. Maybe Spiel­berg thought that a car chase with com­put­er­ized ve­hi­cles wouldn't be as ex­cit­ing as it may be with real peo­ple.

"Ready Player One" is based on a novel by Ernest Cline, who also wrote the script with Zak Penn. It is a movie that pro­vides en­ter­tain­ment for peo­ple of all ages, al­though chil­dren too young might have a prob­lem in fol­low­ing all the twists of the plot.The film also con­tains many scenes of vi­o­lence.

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