Ever wished you could escape reality? Well, it’s the year 2045, and that’s what many of Earth’s inhabitants do in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One- escape into the virtual reality world of the OASIS in hopes of winning a contest set up by James Halliday, the OASIS’s co-founder.
Just before Halliday dies, he announces a contest in which a participant must find a golden egg and then three keys hidden in the worlds of the OASIS to gain full ownership and control of the OASIS. Numerous “Gunters” (egg hunters) and players hired by Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a video game company with bad intentions, compete to try to get on the scoreboard and ultimately win the contest.
The main character is orphan Wade Watts, a seventeen year-old Gunter from Columbus, Ohio, who regularly escapes into the OASIS as a means to hopefully win the contest and seek refuge from his abusive uncle and poverty-ridden life in the real world. As he begins to successfully navigate the OASIS and gain popularity in the virtual world, Wade forms few allies but many enemies that endanger his life in both the OASIS and the real world. As Wade must learn to deal with his new popularity and work towards winning the contest, he learns many lessons, the most important being that spending time in the real world is more important than he ever thought it was.
I thought this movie was very unique, innovative, and eye-opening. It addresses the very relevant issue of budgeting screen time and real world time, which we all face today. Another key message presented is the idea of having a real world identity vs a virtual identity. Often times, who we are in real life is different from who we are online (or, in the case of the movie, in the OASIS). I thought this parallel was illustrated very well in the character’s appearances and personalities in the real world vs the virtual world. It was interesting to see that the way the characters behaved and appeared in the virtual world reflected how they wished they could be in the real world. Although we don’t currently have our own OASIS, the messages presented in the film are very applicable to our lives. This movie was overall entertaining and interesting, and I would give it a 7/10.
– Shruti Sathish