Reality is overrated. At least, that’s the premise behind Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One: the smash-hit sci-fi adventure where happiness is only a VR headset away.
Arriving at your local ODEON on 28th March, the starburst of early reviews agrees that Spielberg is at the top of his game, creating the only movie you’ll see this year that fuses pulse-racing sensory overload with ’80s pop culture and existential debate.
Here are five reasons why Ready Player One is a true game-changer…
1. The plot is dynamite
The year is 2045, and with once-proud cities reduced to polluted industrial slums, riddled with crime and corruption, a generation of teenagers known as ‘the missing millions’ don VR headsets and lives parallel existences in the lawless virtual-reality playground known as the OASIS. The stakes are raised when OASIS creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) announces the existence of a hidden ‘Easter egg’: find it and you inherit a fortune (we're talking about billion) and control over the VR kingdom.
2. Tye Sheridan as Wade
Meet Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan): an orphaned, ’80s-obsessed teen who forges a new virtual identity through the gunfights, drag-races and other intense experiences in the OASIS.
Tye Sheridan has been one of Hollywood’s young stars to watch since he burst onto the scene in critically success Mud alongside Matthew McConaughey in 2012. Since then, the 21-year-old actor has booked major roles in genre blockbusters, stealing scenes in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse as a young ScottSummer/Cyclope.
During the audition Sheridan first got to meet face to face with Spielberg. “I didn’t know if it was going to go further than that, " said Sheridan about his audition with Spielberg "So I shook his hand and said sir without your movies I think I’d be a different kid" .
3. The FX are sensational
Spielberg has come a long way since the floppy rubber shark from Jaws. The jaw-dropping scrapyard cityscape of Columbus circa 2045, not to mention the reach-out-and-touch it OASIS sequences, with their crumbling skyscrapers, pendulous wrecking balls and robot scorpions, are simply mind blowing.
Your 3D glasses won’t just bring this world exploding into the auditorium – they also have the added benefit of stopping your eyes popping out of your head.
4. It’s thrilling and thought provoking
Sure, you might take one look at that title and think ‘mindless video-game-based popcorn flick’. The truth is, while Ready Player One is a blast, it’s anything but bubblegum. Adapted from Ernest Cline’s thought-provoking 2011 sci-fi novel, it has serious points to make on the unravelling of modern society and the rising tide of VR technology. “Ready Player One isn’t that far away from what I think is going to happen some day,” says Spielberg. “Virtual reality will be a super-drug…”
5. You’ll be playing pop culture bingo
Running with the vibe of hit TV series Stranger Things, Ready Player One combines its futuristic setup with endless nods to the pop culture of the ’80s. Blink and you’ll miss cameos by razor-fingered Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street, demon doll Chucky from Child’s Play, Street Fighter’s Chun Li and the DeLorean time machine from Back To the Future – plus a soundtrack that includes Van Halen’s synthtastic 1984 hair-anthem, Jump.
It’s the ultimate nostalgia trip, so immersive that in true Marty McFly style, the first thing you’ll do after stumbling out of the cinema is check the date on a newspaper.
Wade's avatar name is Parzival and - guess what - he's a big fan of the '80s. Here you can see his obsession...Why don't you test yourself and try to guess the famous film posters?