Arts & Leisure

“Ready Player One” is fun, not deep

TYE SHERIDAN as Wade Watts in “Ready Player One.”

By Jim Tortolano

A movie doesn’t have to be really good to be really entertaining. For example, here’s Steven Spielberg’s new “Ready Player One.” It’s a delicious piece of eye candy to look at, has an exciting pace and even a few smart things to say about an obsession with popular culture.

On the other hand, the story line – screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline – has holes big enough for Roseanne Barr to do backflips through. There’s little subtlety in the noble kids against wicked adults premise that permeates the tale, and even the fun pyrotechnics get a little tiring after a while.

“Ready Player One” takes place in a mostly dystopian near-feature in which most of mankind takes refuge in a virtual reality called “OASIS,” where you can be anything or anyone. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is one of those who have fled a depressing reality to immerse himself in an imaginary existence.

A lot of the story following is convoluted and difficult to follow. You won’t lose much if all you know is that Watts’ spunky love interest will be Samantha (Olivia Cooke) and his foe is Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), evil head of an evil corporation.

Basic premise: the originator of OASIS, the supernerd James Halliday (Mark Rylance) has created a massive game in which the prize is OASIS itself. Much chasing, explosions and late 20th century pop culture references follows.

Not one of Spielberg’s best, “Ready” is nevertheless an absorbing, fun to watch romp, sort of like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s a popcorn movie and not very nourishing, but movie fans do not live on message films alone.

“Ready Player One” is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and some profanity.



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