When Ready Player One was screened at SXSW the audience absolutely loved it and there’s an argument to be made about that love not translating to a wider audience. Though everyone is super excited about Steven Spielberg directing what sounds like a crowd pleaser. But is anyone really surprised Spielberg can make a watchable movie?
Collider’s review calls the film a “vibrant, visual marvel” and praises Spielberg’s work. “Spielberg is still a master at work, and we disregard that at our own peril,” writes the reviewer who continues to praise the director:
“Ready Player One is always straddling the line of fanboyism, but it never stumbles over, and that’s because of Spielberg showing that he still has complete mastery over telling a fleet-footed adventure story with clear arcs and characters worth rooting for in a fascinating setting.”
Spielberg was also given nothing but compliments in the Digital Spy review. The review wrote that Ready Player One was the director’s best film in years and the reviewer couldn’t “imagine it done this well in anyone else’s hands.” The review did also call the cast Spielberg’s biggest weapon in the film:
“Tye Sheridan, who’s put on a touch of weight and geeked himself up since X-Men: Apocalypse, is vulnerable and sympathetic … Olivia Cooke as Art3mis is never less than captivating and Lena Waithe as Parzival’s online bestie makes a great side kick.”
The BBC News review delved into how Spielberg excelled while competing with not only himself but a generation of filmmakers who pay homage to his past work. As the reviewer believed Spielberg is not only holding his own with the field of current filmmakers, but he’s also “blasting his way into the 21st century” with Ready Player One. The review described how the director “dazzles”:
“…with Ready Player One he proves with stunning aplomb that no one does Spielberg quite like Spielberg. No one has more empathy with pasty American kids from broken homes. No one packs scenes with so much information, or elaborate action set pieces with so much energy, while ensuring that you always know what’s going on and why.
Even a review that felt the film covers ground we’ve seen mined by films like Wreck-It-Ralph and The Lego Movie, gave Spielberg a shout out. The Den of Geeks review discusses that since the book debuted in 2011 other properties have both explored dystopian worlds and relied heavily on references and nods. Yet the reviewer felt Spielberg did great things with the material.
“All the same, Ready Player One feels largely ephemeral; the by-product of a cultural love affair that has already reached its peak. Spielberg elevates the material, certainly, but then, that’s because he helped write the American blockbuster rulebook in the first place.”
When settling in to watch Ready Player One Polygon’s Ross Miller was worried about how Spielberg would make a film that could work without viewers having to come in with knowledge about the pop culture the film would reference. Fortunately, he found the film, while loaded with nods to many video games and films, used them to “create the atmosphere of a world obsessed with pop culture.” He continued praising how the film adapted the source material:
“The film takes the broad strokes of the book and adapts them to make nostalgia more of an ambience than a narrative crutch.”
Not all of the review praise Spielberg’s nostalgia-filled video game adventure. Time Out London writes that the CGI-heavy film does not do a great job showcases its characters, has a derivative plot, and doesn’t pack an emotional punch. The review refers to past Spielberg film moments, including when Elliott’s bike flies in ET, to state that Ready Player One lacks the standout emotional moments from his past films. In place of emotion, according to the review, is “the sugar rush of VFX cyberscapes”:
“But there’s spectacle in abundance, along with more ’80s and ’90s references than you can shake an arcade joystick at … It’s a buzz from start to finish and a lingering high to carry you through the plotty bits.”
Ready Player One premieres March 29, 2018.