If anyone was going to direct an adaption of Ernest Cline’s Ready Play One then it had to be Steven Spielberg. Cline’s book is a love letter to ’80s movies and pop culture and Spielberg produced and directed some of the decade’s most iconic flicks through his Amblin imprint ( Back To The Future, The Goonies, Gremlins, E.T et al.). Strangely though, the 2018 computer quest movie is lacking the soul that made those ’80s movies so popular and Spielberg is on autopilot, letting a plethora of CGI animators do much of the heavy lifting (much like Peter Jackson on The Hobbit movies).
Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn all do solid work but Ready Player One is all about the visuals. There’s a lot of spectacle on display with plenty of Easter Eggs thrown in to keep eagle-eyed viewers hooked for the next pop culture fix. The stand-out might be the sequence set in The Shinning‘s Overlook Hotel – but the rest is computer generated razzle dazzle and Janusz Kaminski’s despairingly milky visuals.
Ultimately, there’s no real engagement from Spielberg here – it’s a job for hire gig, one to prove that he could still score a major box office hit in the popcorn realm after the financial failure of The BFG in 2016.
The first image shows Steven Spielberg on set with Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke, while the second has the director watching the live action scenes of Ready Player One‘s central race, alongside early videomatics of the sequence.
Budgeted at $175 million, Ready Player One grossed $137 million at the US box office and $582 million globally.