Ready Player One, the holy grail of ‘80s pop culture films, hit theaters March 30. In a world where people are literally escaping the real world by entering a virtual one, the reality of the film seems all to real of a possible future.
It’s 2049 and the entire population is living in a world that isn’t real. It’s known as the Oasis. A place that is accessed through a futuristic VR headset and suit that allows the user to be physically in one place and inside of an entire virtualistic universe. It’s a place where anyone can be what they want. The Oasis allows the user to be whatever they want to be regardless of who they are in real life.
The story begins at a climatic moment where the creator of the Oasis, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), has died. Leaving no heirs, Halliday sends a message to entire world that he has hidden three keys that will allow the person who finds them to unlock the hidden gate to the “easter egg” which will grant them control of the Oasis and all of Halliday’s wealth, which stands at just below $1 trillion.
The hunt begins and every Oasis user, including the protagonist Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), searches through Halliday’s love for ‘80s nostalgia from video games to music in order to find the hidden keys. The major conflict in the story involves a major corporation called IOI, which is also on the hunt hoping to find the egg and turn the Oasis into a subscription based version where only the wealthy have access.
Steven Spielberg directed this futuristic novel adaption full of his wit and humor that one would expect and an ending that leaves you with the Spielberg feel goods. Spielberg used his arsenal of creative liberty to change a large portion of the events that happened in the book and built his own story arc. That’s not to say that all book purists shouldn’t see the movie. The film is still worth seeing and has new twists and excitements that any nostalgic ‘80s fan will love.
What makes the story hit close to home — whether you decide to read the book or see the movie — is the underlying message of, as Halliday puts it, “As terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.” The film feels all to real as the future the film shows could easily become a future for our world. It’s a world where real human interaction is outdated when compared to a virtualistic one.