Ready Player One

Film, Science fiction
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)
Ready Player One

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Steven Spielberg takes on Ernest Cline's pop-culture sci-fi novel with mixed results.

Ernest Cline’s pulp sci-fi novel ‘Ready Player One’ is a wiki’s worth of pop-culture references stitched together with a derivative plot. It has many readers but substantially fewer devotees. Steven Spielberg’s fun but forgettable adaptation may run into the same difficulties. 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.

Like ‘Tron’ being given a state-of-the-art update, it’s mostly set in an AI entity called the Oasis. A world of wish-fulfilment, it’s accessed by the downtrodden citizens of a dystopian 2045 with the fervour of addicts. Our tour guide is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphaned teenager who scours the Oasis in the guise of his avatar, Parzival, looking for ’80s-referencing clues, or Easter eggs, left by its founder (Mark Rylance). Teaming up with Wade/Parzival – though with a more political agenda – is spiky hacktivist Art3mis (Olivia Cooke). Corporate villain Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn, having a ball) brings oily zeal.

Unusually for Spielberg, the emotional grace-notes that elevate his best work in the genre – Elliott’s flying bicycle in ‘ET’, the first dinosaur reveal in ‘Jurassic Park’ – are substituted with 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. Our introduction to the Oasis is a breakneck race through an ever-shifting New York cityscape populated by rampaging movie monsters (King Kong! The T.rex from ‘Jurassic Park’!). It has Parzival behind the wheel of the DeLorean from ‘Back to the Future’, lining up against The A-Team’s van, Mad Max’s Interceptor and the bike from ‘Akira’, among many others. It’s a buzz from start to finish and a lingering high to carry you through the plotty bits.

It’s best to approach ‘Ready Player One’ as a giant game of Pokémon Go for anyone who spent their pocket money playing ‘Street Fighter II’ or had an Adam West Batmobile tucked away in their toy box. But if half the fun is in spotting the hidden references, the proportions are out of sync. You’re left with the overriding sensation of a master playing someone else’s greatest hits. 


Release details

Release date:
Thursday March 29 2018
140 mins

Cast and crew

Steven Spielberg
Zak Penn, Ernest Cline
Tye Sheridan
Olivia Cooke
Ben Mendelsohn
Mark Rylance

Users say (9)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

Just lacking all over I am afraid. Some great visuals. And I do enjoy Mark Rylance but he's just too effete for me in this film. He needs more of a presence and the story needs more depth. 


I am part of that group of people who want to read the book before watching a motion picture made out of it, so that I can compare the two after reading and watching both. In this instance I must say that I found Ready Player One much more enjoyable as a film rather than in its paperback version. Maybe because of the subject matter which lends itself better to visuals rather than imagination. Ready Player One is amazing If you like sci-fi and fantasy genres. The concept it deals with, the Oasis, where a videogame is played made me think that it may actually be something that will be available in the future. The plot is rich in cliff hangers, and this keeps the viewer focussed throughout and wanting to know more about how our heroes are going to deal with the adversities. Ready Player One is a film which can be enjoyed by both adults and teenagers alike as it does not really have, according to my point of view, a specific target audience. Bonus points: if you grew up in the 1980s you will like the film even more because you will understand all the pop culture references to that era. Give it a go!


As an avid lover of the book (one of my all time favourite books), I feel this movie told the story pretty well. Obviously the book is always going to be better than the film, but as adaptations go, I feel this was a good one. I was gripped until the end and didn't once check the time, or feel like it was being dragged out even though it was 2 and a half hours. I loved all the 80's and 90's references and the CGI was brilliant and believable and the score was fantastic. My only criticism would be that there was a lot of important factors and story lines from the book that was not in the film, which if you hadn't read the book you probably would struggle to understand and the plot would feel rushed and jumpy. 


This wouldn't ordinarily be my choice of genre but I went along to see it randomly. The graphics were incredible and I loved the references to the 80s movies and the Shining scenes were amazing. I thought the start was a little slow but overall a very clever movie. 


Best film out at the moment; beats tomb raider and red sparrow. Entertaining until the end, may be a little too gushy in places; however I guess a decent film always has to have some sort of boy meets girl to get the flutters going.


This movie absolutely blew my mind. Its based in a future where everyone spends majority of their time in a virtual reality game due to the overpopulated mess reality has become. Its full of action, 80’s movie and game references and it’s a love story! It’s also very intense, so be prepared to leave the cinema in a bit of a daze.


I read the book before watching the movie and therefore is impossible not to compare them. I rated the book 5 stars and I was really looking forward to this movie because of that. Unfortunately I was very disappointed, because most of the storyline and the story about the individual characters doesn't appear and we are left with another good action movie that doesn't make an impact. I'm sad because it could have been way more entertaining and less predictable. 

Very entertaining and full of 80s & 90s items that will make your heart melt. Perfect for geeks.

Packed with action, adrenaline and amazing graphics.


I watched this movie in 4DX so my opinion is slightly biased ... However, the stroyline reminded me so much of Avatar... It was so action packed and fun filled I could watch it again and again.

The whole storyline is based on a virtual reality world where everyone is competing for the ultimate prize! Whats the prize I hear you say? Watch the movie !! Its great !!!