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Ready Player One Blu-ray Review

July 23, 2018

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Ready Player One Blu-ray Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Jul 23, 2018
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

Epic gamer film Ready Player One is out to take home on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital. It is chocked with extra features? Is this ultimate gamer movie for you? Check Kidzworld’s Blu-ray review.

By: Lynn Barker

It’s 2045 and in Ready Player One, overpopulation, pollution, climate change and corruption have divided the world into the ultra-rich and those living in slum-like conditions. Teen gamer Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), gamer handle Parzival, spends most of his time hooked into The Oasis, the advanced virtual reality platform where you can do or be anything. Wade/Parzival is a “Gunter”, ((Easter) egg hunter) playing the ultimate game that can make him rich as the owner/operator of the entire Oasis. Does he have a chance?

Wade/Parzival enters the Oasis from his hideoutWade/Parzival enters the Oasis from his hideoutCourtesy of Warner Bros.

The Oasis

By 2045, most of the world’s population lives in slum-like cities of stacked trailer homes due to a ruined Earth. To escape their grim reality, people spend most of their time in the virtual reality world of the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), where they can be educated, work and mostly play in amazing VR environments. Hidden inside Oasis is "Anorak's Quest" launched by OASIS creator the late James Halliday (Mark Rylance). The first player to find 3 keys is promised full ownership of OASIS and a rich lifestyle.

Young Halliday and co-Oasis creator Morrow argueYoung Halliday and co-Oasis creator Morrow argueCourtesy of Warner Bros.

“Sixers” and Gunters

Playing Halliday’s game is young Wade Watts/Parzival who lives in the stacks with his aunt. Innovative Online Industries (IOI), the manufacturer of most virtual reality equipment, is determined to win. Its CEO, Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) has gathered an army of indentured players, known as Sixers (due to their six-digit identifications), to make sure he wins. However, after five years, no one has been able to complete the first quest, finishing a vehicle race across an ever-shifting dangerous cityscape that includes a dinosaur and King Kong!

IOI baddie Sorrento wants to win the gameIOI baddie Sorrento wants to win the gameCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Oasis Buddies

Wade’s best avatar buddy is Aech (later Lena Waithe) who has a killer workshop and serves as a virtual mechanic. He also likes Asian avatars Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao) and he’s infatuated with female avatar Art3mis (later Olivia Cooke) who almost wins the race on a cycle. When it is destroyed, he takes her to Aech who repairs it. Parzival and Art3mis impress each other with their massive ‘80’s pop culture knowledge (Oasis creator Halliday grew up in the ‘80s and put this into the entire Oasis and his quest game).  Wade visits the virtual Oasis library to learn about Halliday's personal life in hopes of finding a clue to finish the race.

Parzival and Art3mis try to find a clueParzival and Art3mis try to find a clueCourtesy of Warner Bros.

High Five Winners

Wade learns that Halliday wished he could “back up and change things” after accepting the resignation of his partner, Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg), over personal matters. Next time he races, Wade/Parzival reverses the DeLorean he drives from the start line. Driving backwards, he finds a hidden, safe path to the finish line and wins, getting the first of three keys from Halliday’s avatar Anorak. He gets a clue to the next quest. Art3mis sees and follows him becoming the 2nd place winner. Aech and brothers Daito and Shoto follow. The group becomes known as “The High Five”.

The High Five avatars search for more game cluesThe High Five avatars search for more game cluesCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Real Identities?  

Sorrento is furious and decides to learn all of the High Five’s real life identities. Bounty hunter avatar i-ROk ( T.J. Miller) overhears Wade tell Art3mis his real name and tells Sorrento. Meanwhile, Parzival/Wade has been able to purchase a top-of-the-line VR suit and various expensive weapons with his race winnings. There is a clue for the next jade key that indicates something about Halliday’s love for Morrow’s wife Kira. After i-ROk fails to kill Art3mis and Parzival at a dance club, Sorrento approaches Wade and offers him a lucrative job with IOI. Wade refuses.

I-Rok searches for ParzivalI-Rok searches for ParzivalCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Destruction

To retaliate for the refusal, Sorrento destroys Wade's slum, killing Wade's aunt and her sleazy boyfriend. Wade, on the run, is rescued by Art3mis' real-life friends and taken to her Gunter hideout where he finally meets Art3mis' player, Samantha. She knows he loves her despite the fact that she has a large, wine-colored birthmark over one eye. The two learn more about Kira/Karen who later became Morrow’s wife. The High Five each win second quest keys and learn that the last quest will be at Castle Anorak on Oasis planet Doom.

Wade/Parzival sees the stacks destroyedWade/Parzival sees the stacks destroyedCourtesy of Warner Bros.

IOI Servant

IOI grabs Samantha and forces her to work off debt as an IOI soldier. Wade, with Aech’s and Sho’s real-world players, helps free her but she stays to find out how to deactivate a force field erected by IOI surrounding the castle on Doom. No player can win if this can’t be brought down. Wade convinces many Oasis players to fight against IOI and the Sixers at the castle. With Samantha’s help, Parzival is able to enter the castle and discover the final quest that involves playing an old Atari game

Samantha/Art3mis is forced to be an IOI soldierSamantha/Art3mis is forced to be an IOI soldierCourtesy of Warner Bros.

The Showdown

Will Samantha rejoin the fight? Will Wade and the other High Fivers survive and get the final key? Will Sorrento destroy all avatars if he can’t win the game for IOI? Will Wade’s call for volunteers for a final battle be listened to? Will Wade and Samantha ever get to be a real world couple and what will happen to the Oasis?

Avatars from all over the Oasis rush to fightAvatars from all over the Oasis rush to fightCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Special Extra Features

This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set is beyond colorful and crisp to watch. Extras overall explain, in detail, the unique way the film was shot on an empty, white “Volume” sound-stage for scenes in the Oasis and on real-life sets. Director Spielberg is very involved in the extras as are cast members.

Spielberg directs actors on the virtual reality stageSpielberg directs actors on the virtual reality stage
  • The 80’s: You’re the Inspiration is a cool extra that explains the decade that inspired author of the original novel Ernest Cline to write his book upon which the film is based. Cline and the actors talk about their love of 1980’s pop culture, Spielberg’s movies, early gaming etc. Cool!
  • Game Changer: Cracking the Code is the “Making of” featurette and covers the amazing technical challenges Spielberg and cast faced; wearing motion capture suits, working on an empty virtual reality stage with very few props, development of the script, casting, production and sound design, costume and avatar design, set design in both Oasis and real worlds, stunts and the details of motion capture work are shown and discussed. Spielberg interacts with actors on set etc.  One of the most complete and interesting “How’d they do that?” featurettes I’ve ever seen!
  • Effects for a Brave New World goes into more detail on the challenging special visual effects for the film. Effects houses ILM and Digital Domain worked on Oasis world and real world effects separately. We see great artwork and pre-visualization on computer. Nice to know more about how this was all accomplished.

Parzival wins a challenge and is handed a key by AnorakParzival wins a challenge and is handed a key by AnorakCourtesy of Warner Bros.
  • Level Up: Sound for the Future centers on sound design and how important it was to the success of the film. Recreation of ‘80’s movie sounds and tweaking an actor’s voice inside the Oasis is shown. Cool.
  • High Score: Endgame spends time with soundtrack composer Alan Silvestri (Spielberg’s usual composer John Williams was busy on another film). We see the orchestra recording the music and author Ernie Cline freaking out while visiting the recording sessions since Silvestri is one of his fave film composers. Fun.
  • Ernie and Tye’s Excellent Adventure is a hoot for ‘80’s film buffs and any fanboy or girl. Lead actor Tye Sheridan is visiting author Ernie Cline in his Austin, Texas home. Both are from Austin. They compare trivia knowledge and take a ride in Cline’s DeLorean car which is tricked out to look like the one in the Back to the Future films. Again…fun.

Art3mis (Samantha) and Parzival (Wade) work togetherArt3mis (Samantha) and Parzival (Wade) work togetherCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Wrapping Up

Ready Player One is a tribute to pop culture in the 1980’s and it matters little that you weren’t alive then. So much of what was popular then is known and still popular now. The fast-moving movie follows a group of young people as they face impossible odds (like almost all of Spielberg’s ‘80’s films did). The result is a colorful journey.

Spielberg directs Tye and OliviaSpielberg directs Tye and OliviaCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Extras will inform you all about virtual reality and motion capture like no other extras I’ve seen. Director and actors are heavily involved in all extras. This set could have used a gag reel and an audio commentary but special features provided are engrossing and entertaining so we can go four stars on this Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set.

Ready Player One Blu-ray Rating: 4

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Buy Ready Player One in stores now!

Have Your Say

Are you into virtual reality? Could you spend most of your life there? Are you a fan of 1980’s movies? Are you “ready” to play by commenting below?