High Five for vir­tual thrills

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

Ready Player One (12A) The DeLorean screeches past as the Iron Gi­ant stomps around and The Joker and Har­ley Quinn share a laugh.

If that sounds like a cin­e­matic pipe dream then think again as Steven Spiel­berg’s take on Ernest Cline’s sem­i­nal, award-win­ning 2011 sci-fi novel treats us to a shared uni­verse to make even Marvel blush.

It’s all pos­si­ble due to fan­tas­ti­cal vir­tual re­al­ity world the OA­SIS, where reg­u­lar user Wade (Tye Sheri­dan) lives out his days among too many fa­mous pop cul­ture icons to men­tion in the year 2045.

Wade and oth­ers are drawn into a three-part con­test where the win­ner gets to take to­tal con­trol of the OA­SIS fol­low­ing the death of its cre­ator, James Hal­l­i­day (Mark Ry­lance).

Hav­ing never read Cline’s book, I went into this in­trigu­ing-sound­ing block­buster to­tally blind; and was all the bet­ter for it with sev­eral sur­prises tak­ing me on a grip­ping ad­ven­ture.

There’s a lot more to Spiel­berg’s lat­est – his sec­ond film this year af­ter The Post — than play­ing spot the fa­mil­iar face as the leg­endary di­rec­tor fur­nishes us with equal lev­els of drama in both the real world and the OA­SIS.

Sheri­dan han­dles his big­gest role to date with great aplomb and even act­ing vet­er­ans would strug­gle to match the siz­zling chem­istry he and Olivia Cooke (Samantha) share.

What Ready Player One does lack, though, is gen­uinely chill­ing vil­lainy; Ben Men­del­sohn is sur­pris­ingly sub­dued as re­lent­less CEO Sor­rento and leaves you pin­ing for Spiel­berg to some­how use the OA­SIS to res­ur­rect Raiders of the Lost Ark’s Bel­loq or even Bruce the shark from Jaws.

Cline him­self co-wrote the screen­play with Zak Penn (X-Men 2, Avengers As­sem­ble) and the lat­ter’s knack for lay­er­ing a big-bud­get pro­duc­tion with warmth, hu­mour and in­ter­est­ing phys­i­cal and emo­tional chal­lenges is preva­lent once again.

It wouldn’t be a Spiel­berg movie with­out dis­rupted fam­ily dy­nam­ics and Wade, Samantha and the other OA­SIS play­ers who form the “High Five” give off a Lost Boys – and Girls – of Nev­er­land vibe.

The di­rec­tor has never been shy of a time­less set-piece and the breath­less vi­su­als will leave you ex­hil­a­rated, on edge and a lit­tle dizzy.

There is so much go­ing on up on the screen that it’s im­pos­si­ble to take it all in on a sin­gle view­ing; I look for­ward to por­ing over mul­ti­ple scenes, with slow-mo but­ton at the ready on my re­mote, when the movie hits DVD shelves.

Fist-pump­ing eight­ies tunes cre­ate a sen­sa­tional soundtrack that will ham­mer the eardrums of those of a cer­tain age – my­self in­cluded – with nos­tal­gia.

Hints of The Ma­trix and Avatar there may be, but Ready Player One stands on its own two feet as a tan­ta­lis­ing thrill ride wor­thy of Spiel­berg’s great­ness.

Cline is al­ready pen­ning a se­quel and it’s not hard to un­der­stand why. This is a world you won’t be ready to say good­bye to.

Cin­ema with Ian Bunt­ing Game on Sheri­dan pre­pares to plug in to the OA­SIS

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