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Ready Player One

Tye Sheridan is Wade Watts, a teenager who lives in a place called the Stacks in Ohio in the year 2045. The majority of people play in Oasis, a virtual reality world that operates a lot like an Xbox or other video game. Whenever life gets you down, you can don the virtual reality glasses and pass the hours as an avatar of your own creation (Wade’s avatar is Parzival). The creator of Oasis (played by Mark Rylance) dies and leaves a challenge for players: Gather 3 keys to unlock the ultimate prize and inherit the wealth of Oasis. What I liked best is how the movie movies back and forth between virtual and actual realities as the race for the successor takes place in and across both worlds. The young actors, led by Sheridan and Olivia Cooke, who plays Samantha Cook / Artemis, are very likeable avatars and real-world characters. There are a lot of fun pop culture references, and 80’s music helps keep the beat of the film. While there is a lack of depth in character development, I found that I was completely taken in by the story, the music, the color, and the special effects in the virtual world. The film gets a thumbs-up from me; it wasn’t a film I thought about much afterwards, but while I was there, I had a great time. And how can one not enjoy a film in which a bunch of young people recognize the power that comes from working together rather than apart? I did not really think that 3D added much – I think it would have been just as enjoyable in the standard version.

About Gary Burkholder

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