SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
At the Movies: Is Spielberg Too Much for ‘Ready Player One’?
By Megan Bianco
It’s the new-age question everyone has been pondering this past decade: how much nostalgia is too much nostalgia? Well, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s popular sci-fi novel Ready Player One almost seems like it exists just to answer that question. It takes place in a futuristic Ohio, set in the year 2045, but is completely coated with pop-culture references and Easter eggs from the 1970s-90s.
In a shanty Columbus neighborhood called “The Stacks,” 18-year-old Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) lives with his aunt Alice (Susan Lynch) and her nefarious boyfriend Rick (Ralph Ineson). To distract himself from his diminutive home life, Wade spends a lot of time in a virtual reality called the Oasis: a pop-culture-oriented video game world where anyone can create their own digital alter-egos. When Oasis creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) dies, he leaves behind a fortune to whomever can find the secret Easter egg he hid inside the alternate world.
Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn and Simon Pegg co-star.
Ready Player One has all the cliché elements of an action/adventure flick with good-looking leads, megalomaniacal villains and comic relief via sidekicks. Not to mention all the purposely on-the-nose references. Even Spielberg directing could have easily been an on-the-nose decision. But much like the filmmaker’s previous classics like Jaws (1975) and Jurassic Park (1993), Spielberg makes some cinematic changes from the original book to the film’s advantage. The effects and action sequences are stellar, as are Sheridan and Cooke as leads, and the nostalgia isn’t too overridden to the point of being obnoxious.