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MOVIE REVIEW

Ready Player One also known as “Ready Player One: Comienza el Juego,” “Baslat,” “Igralec st. 1,” “Igrač broj 1,” “Jogador Nº 1,” “OAZE: Zaidimas prasideda,” “Ready Player One: Hra sa zacína,” “Ready Player One: Hra sa začína,” “Ready Player One: Hra začíná,” “Ready Player One: Jogador 1,” “Ready Player One: Sã înceapã jocul,” “Valmistub esimene mängija,” «Играч първи, приготви се,” «Первому игроку приготовиться», «Першому гравцю приготуватися»

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, nudity and language.

Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Young Adults • Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Adaptation 3D IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 20 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
March 28, 2018 (wide—4,200+ theaters)
DVD: July 24, 2018
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
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Dystopian fantasy about the year 2044—with Earth wrecked by overpopulation, global warming, and an energy crisis due to a depletion of oil and coal—a world of slums in which most people spend their time in an interconnected virtual space called The OASIS

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Virtual reality

How might the Enemy of mankind use people’s interest in—and addiction to—living much of their life in a virtual world instead of the real world

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Living as an outcast in a poverty-stricken district

orphans in the Bible

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“Gunter”: an easter-egg hunter in a virtual reality world

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An evil megacorporation

Hackers selling black market passwords and security exploits

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Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Featuring: Tye Sheridan … Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival—an orphan from the “stacks” surrounding metropolitan Oklahoma City
Ben MendelsohnNolan Sorrento—the head of operations at Innovative Online Industries (IOI), the multinational corporation that serves as an Internet service provider for most of the world
Mark RylanceJames Donovan Halliday a.k.a. Anorak—creator of OASIS
Simon PeggOgden Morrow a.k.a. Og
Olivia Cooke … Samantha “Sam” Evelyn Cook / Art3mis
Letitia Wright … Reb
Hannah John-Kamen … F'Nale Zandor
T.J. Miller … I-R0k
Lena Waithe … Aech / Hellen—Wade's best friend, fellow gunter, and rival
Susan Lynch … Aunt Alice
Ralph Ineson … Rick
Kae Alexander … Reb
Philip Zhao … Shoto—a Japanese gunter
Win Morisaki … Daito—a Japanese gunter
Julia Nickson … JN / Commuter
See all »
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Amblin Entertainment
De Line Pictures
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Steven Spielberg directs “Ready Player One” starring Tye Sheridan (Wade Watts), Olivia Cooke (Art3mis), Lena Waithe (Aech), and Ben Mendelsohn (Nolan Sorrento). The film is set in the year 2045 where most people spend their time in the virtual reality game OASIS. The game’s creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) has passed away, but not without issuing one final challenge to players—Anorak’s Quest. The challenge consists of finding three hidden keys within the game. The first to collect them all will inherit control of the game and plenty of riches.

The quest is so hard that most players give up trying to complete it, except for Gunters who dedicate their time to hunting for the “Easter eggs” to solve the puzzles. Wade Watts—and a group of friends called the High Five—race to solve the puzzles to prevent the malicious IOI corporation from gaining control of the game.

The performances from the talented cast are solid. Ben Mendelsohn and Mark Rylance in particular seemed to have a blast portraying their characters. Sheridan, Cooke, and Waithe deliver controlled performances with the material they were given.

One of my worries for the film was that it would be a cash grab for displaying different popular properties and brands. However, the abundant pop culture references in the film are sure to thrill, as they are done tastefully. What makes it all the more impressive is that they all serve a purpose. Even so, you do not have to be a fan of certain film and video game properties to have fun watching, because that is not the purpose of the film. Under Spielberg’s steady hand, the pop culture Easter eggs feel like a character on its own—a feat that is incredibly fun to watch.

The film carries itself with a brisk pace, and whenever the film shifts to The OASIS it can be truly spectacular. There are three major set pieces that are sure to dazzle. A race scene in the beginning demonstrates that Spielberg is still a master of framing motion and delivering thrills. Janusz Kaminski—frequent Spielberg collaborator and cinematographer—delivers smooth shots that allow you to feel the excitement on screen without any of the disorientation common in action blockbusters. The film’s score is boisterous and nostalgic, like classic films from the 80’s. The CGI is good considering the great amount of work that had to be done to animate the film. It is a technical marvel.

The film is rather different from the book it is based on, but it manages to keep its essence and message. It does lack some context for characters. It may result in a lack of empathy from moviegoers, as the characters’ motivations are either unclear or unconvincing. The film mishandles what should have been an extremely emotional event in Wade’s life. The tragic event happens abruptly, and the film skips to the next scene, as if nothing had happened.

If it weren’t for the strong performances from the cast, and their ability to portray strong emotion in a few seconds, the character development could have been a serious pitfall. However, the mistake can be forgiven, because it is clear that the pace—one of the film’s strongest areas—would have suffered with a different plot structure.

The film explores an interesting topic—what if technology reaches a point where it makes actual human interaction diminish to the point of almost non-existence? It is not a faraway possibility. In fact, virtual reality is beginning to be mass produced, and it will not be long before MMO’s (massively multiplayer on-line games) will be accessible through them. What are the implications of such a thing, should it reach the realism of The OASIS? To run away from the human condition, it would result in people finding relief and shelter in places they shouldn’t. We are broken, and we need Christ.

The film does a wonderful job of showing that the consequences of sin reach us no matter where we try to find contentment. Sin’s consequences are far reaching. The creation of The OASIS itself reminds me of the Tower of Babel.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” —Genesis 11:4

Halliday creates The OASIS in an attempt to make a name for himself. He becomes idolized by people worldwide for escape from an Earth that is slowly descending into chaos. Additionally, Halliday uses The OASIS as a mechanism for dealing with regrets in his life. Proposed solutions like The OASIS are temporary, as Christians, we know that only Christ can free us from the bondage of sin.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” —John 8:36

Furthermore, we must be wary of any type of addictions, this includes entertainment mediums. We must spend our time wisely and make sure nothing has control over us, except our Lord.

This is part of why Spotlight on Entertainment exists, to help you make sound choices on what you focus your time, mind, and heart on. Together we can share the love and Gospel of Christ, so that a place like The OASIS is not needed, so people may have the hope of being with God in an eternal oasis.

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” —John 14:2

Content of Concern

Violence: Heavy. There is violence throughout, although almost all of it is within The OASIS and is animated in nature—the exception being an explosion in the real world. There is a scene in which characters go inside the film “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick. It features the iconic elevator scene with animated blood, and some frightening images of zombie-like creatures that are inappropriate for children. There is a brief instance in which Chucky the killer doll appears and kills some villainous game avatars.

Language/Profanity: With at least one f-word and twelve variations of “sh*t,” the film has a surprising amount of language, along with the Lord’s name taken in vain four times. “D*mn” (2), “h*ll” (7), “d*ck” (1), “do*chebag” (1), “assh*le” (1), “p*ss” (2), “a*s” (3), “assh*le” (1), and “b*lls” (1) complete the rest of the language. There is also an instance where an avatar gives the finger to Mechagodzilla.

Sex/Nudity: The sexual content of the film is moderate until the aforementioned “Shining” scene, in which a woman gets up from a bath naked. Nothing explicit is shown, but it is enough to be of concern to parents of children.

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

The cast, cinematography, score, set pieces, and CGI are fantastic. Where the film lacks in story, it makes up for in pace and adventure. The result is a film of high moviemaking quality. This is the way action-adventure films should be done from the master of the action-adventure genre himself—Steven Spielberg. The film’s language and a brief moment of implied nudity make it a film to not take young kids or young teenagers to watch. Mature Christians should make their decision prayerfully, considering any implications for their spiritual walk.

  • Violence: Heavy
  • Profane language: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy
  • Nudity: Heavy
  • Sex: Heavy
  • Occult: None

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive

none

Neutral
Neutral—Overall, I thought “Ready Player One” was cliché, but average. One thing I did read is that Ache is a lesbian in the book; I can’t recall if the film says as much, but the implication is kind of there. Most of the violence is “Good versus Evil,” so I wasn’t too offended. The implication that Halliday uploaded his brain to live on felt like something out of sci-fi, rather than anything occult. I did like the puzzles to the keys that were said, those were kind of fun.

I was kind of irritated that the Iron Giant character was used for conflict, since the actual Iron Giant movie is about peace and bonding.

The worst part of the movie was the profanity. Way too much uses of the Lord’s name in vain and unnecessary name-calling. If the movie just removed that, I could forgive it a bit more.

I think the best thing that could be said about this movie is that technology can be an idol if self-control is not practiced (one scene had a mother so sucked in the game she ignored her panicking child’s concern about the blazing stove). I did like that the gang set up The OASIS to shut down 2 days of the week (in my opinion, it should have been shut down 4-5 days of the week).

Overall, it’s worth one watch, but I wouldn’t sit through it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Peter, age 27 (USA)
Neutral— It was entertaining enough. More tedious really though; relying on pop-culture references to thrill the audience. I don’t know why everyone thinks the oasis is so wonderful when it seems to be a very typical grindy mmorpg.

The creator of The OASIS seemed to have uploaded his consciousness into the game so that his image was alive in the game. This is akin to the “image of the Beast” in the book of Revelations. And if you think that’s too paranoid or something, I have to ask, could the image of the Beast be much different?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Ash, age 26 (Canada)
Positive—As I write this post, I sit in judgment of myself as a Christian male of 45 living in the times that we all do and I come to one gut-wrenching conclusion… I am a sinner. A sinner with faith of a living Christ who payed the price for my sins so that I may one day be at His side. Having said that, the moral implications of my “positive” review shall be explained further.

Upon seeing the trailer to this movie, I was delighted to see all of the 80’s pop-culture brought to life on the big screen which referenced a decade in my life that I hold most dear. As a teen growing up in the 80�s, it was a time of new technology with the introduction of the Atari 2600 to coin-op video arcades to the advent of the home PC and I… remember it all. This movie allowed me to re-live those past experiences of an innocent youth unclouded by the worries of an everyday life that now conflicts me. If you stop and think about it, this movie is a virtual “collage” of the ground breaking technology available at that time and tribute to one of the best decades in modern history. It was a nice trip down memory lane and I enjoyed the experience. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Shawn D Thibodeaux, age 45 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I had mixed feelings going in to “Ready Player One.” I was excited because I grew up in the 80s. I was hoping it would be a rare, clean, and enjoyable night at a movie. But Steven Spielberg films typically have an occult layer to them, whether obvious or veiled. So I was on-guard, too.

So, yeah. I left “Ready Player One” disappointed, and asking The Lord to forgive me for subjecting my wife and daughter to gore, and foul language. As a dad I’m called to lead, and protect my family by God’s standards—not the world’s. This movie may be celebrated by a fallen world. But it’s got nothing redeeming to offer.

The surface premise of “Ready Player One” is fun: a series of challenges to gain control of The OASIS, good guys vs. Bad, and plenty of clever pop-culture references. But the filmmaker exploits the “virtual” aspect of the plot, to get ultra-violent imagery from Rated-R movies like “The Shining,” and “Alien” into a PG movie, and into the eyes, hearts and minds of young viewers.

There’s a few scenes that involve characters reciting incantations. Knowing what I know, I’m not comfortable hearing words that sound like utterances of some demonic hex.

A virtual character is eventually revealed to be a woman. Which after the fact, casts a lesbian hue over an earlier moment in the film between the woman’s male avatar, and a female character.

The number of F-Bombs and uses of s**t didn’t help the film.

If you’re an adult, you might find this movie nostalgic—but tainted with a dark tone. Definitely not suitable for children and young teens.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Chris, age 48 (Canada)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…though Ready Player One wears a cheerful face, there are none of the usual heartwarming, classic Spielberg moments. That’s because, second to “Munich,” this is his most pessimistic film. …
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
…improves immensely on the book…
Tasha Robinson, The Verge
…With Steven Spielberg behind the camera, Ernest Cline’s book had potential to transcend its source material. It’s disheartening that the finished product is little more than the cinematic equivalent of a pop culture mashup tee, which takes cherished icons of film and coats them in garish CGI while clumsily smashing them against one another like a child playing with action figures. …
Britt Hayes, ScreenCrush
…Spielberg's best film in a decade…
Mark Hughes, Forbes
Ready Player One’s film adaptation isn’t even good enough as a kids movie…
Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica
…you may feel like you're occupied more than you are invested.… “Ready Player One” tells a breathless and relatively coherent story—essentially, the future of civilization is riding on the outcome of a video game — but the movie, first and foremost, is a coruscating explosion of pop-culture eye candy. …By the end, you’re more than ready to escape from all the escapism.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…I also felt a rapidly growing sense of diminishing returns. …There’s nothing quite as magical here. At its worst, Ready Player One amounts to little more than a game of spot-the-reference. And even at its best, any excitement feels more like a rapidly fading sugar rush, not the indelible thrill of Spielberg’s best work. …
Anthony Ha, TechCrunch
…competent, occasionally rousing entertainment that nonetheless left me a little bummed. …
Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News
…“Ready Player One” cares more about virtual reality than actual reality… Steven Spielberg gets lost in nostalgia…
Dan Caffrey, Consequence of Sound
…a wild ride—but may disappoint anyone looking for something deeper…
Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair
…mixed results… It’s a CGI-heavy fantasia that will pop your eyeballs, but giddy as it is, it never quite sells its characters or gets much purchase on your emotions. … [3/5]
Phil De Semlyen, Time Out