Jul 132018
 

Ready Player One was an all around fun and entertaining sci-fi action-adventure from Steven Spielberg that does a wonderful job of throwing nostalgia in your face, but the filmmakers seemed to be having a hell of a time with the material, and the story itself was compelling.

 

 

Ready Player One
(2018)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 140 min. – $44.95 | July 24, 2018

Date Published: 07/13/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Ernest Cline (novel); Zak Penn and Ernest Cline (screenplay)
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K/BD): English (Dolby Atmos), English (DTS-HD MA 5.1). French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
ideo (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.39
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 4.0/5


You might’ve noticed, 1980s nostalgia is hot right now on television and in the cinema from Stranger Things to the It movie and now Ready Player One, based on a popular novel I never read (just to make it clerar), which is 80s nostalgia — and pop culture in general — on steroids. Although it is nostalgia overload, the story in of itself does tend to stand on its own, and it is an incredibly fun ride… and yes, some of the 1980s aspects did tend to put a smile on my face.

The year is 2045 and the world is consumed with the virtual reality game called the OASIS. When its creator, James Halliday (MARK RYLANCE), dies, he sets out a challenge: find three hidden keys within the OASIS and the winner will be the sole owner of his company. Now it’s a free-for-all with competitors known as “Gunters” (easter egg hunters) who study and learn everything about Halliday’s life in order to unlock the clues. We are introduced to a few of these “Gunters”: Wade Watts, avatar name Parzival (TYE SHERIDAN), a young man living in a poor neighborhood with his aunt and her abusive boyfriend; Samantha/Art3mis (OLIVIA COOKE), a young woman who has a personal and vested interest in winning; and Parzival’s best friend, Helen/Aech (LENA WAITHE). This group comprises the High Five.

However, they are not the only ones after the prize. Along with thousands of others, the IOI (Innovative Online Industries) corporation wants the OASIS to capitalize on with bombardments of advertising and membership levels. Leading the charge is IOI CEO Nolan Sorrento (BEN MENDOLSOHN) and his minions inside the VR are called “Sixers”, expendables players working for the company.

It’s a battle to unlock the clues and win the game, along the way friends are made and we get to see some iconic characters (like the Iron Giant and even the Chucky doll) and vehicles (DeLorean) from people’s, mine included, childhood kick ass.

As I said in the opening, although the draw might be the nostalgia with Back to the Future (capped off with Alan Silvestri composing and throwing in the few familiar musical notes) and The Shining, to the 90s with The Iron Giant, both elements playing a major role in the plot. As fun as all of that is, I genuinely enjoyed these characters, Wade and Samantha in particular and there was a compelling story at its core.

The performances from its cast were pretty good, mostly led way by Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke whose characters get the most development while Ben Mendelsohn plays your stereotypical corporate villain, but Mendelsohn always does a great job playing a slimy villain (see The Dark Knight Rises). The other supporting actors that make up the “High Five” were adequate but mostly are at service to the characters and story than giving anything of substance.

Ready Player One is Steven Spielberg’s return to form as his last few movies have ranged from utterly terrible (The BFG) to merely okay (The Post and Bridge of Spies), it’s whimsical Spielberg at his best and with his crew, seemed to have a blast throwing just about every pop cultural reference, even the smallest detail (check out New Rockstars’ video detailing the 300+ cameos and easter eggs). And, again, this is just a entertaining movie even if you don’t get the references (can’t imagine the amount of work to get clearance on some of these).

In the end, this was a well made and all around fun film the family can enjoy.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5


This comes with a matted slip cover, inside is a slip with the redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

There are several featurettes here and include interviews with the cast (Sheridan, Cooke, Waithe, etc.) and filmmakers (Spielberg, Cline and more). You can watch them individually or with a Play All Option (TRT 1:57:49):

  • The ‘80s: You’re the Inspiration (5:38; HD) explores the vibrant and creative decade that gave birth to Cline’s imagination and timeless novel.
  • Game Changer: Cracking the Code (57:22; HD) – In this extensive making-of featurette, the cast and crew push the boundaries of imagination and moviemaking to bring the novel to the screen.
  • Effects for a Brave New World (24:39; HD) breaks down the visual effects and seamlessly blending the practical with the virtual to visualize the two distinct worlds.
  • Level Up: Sound for the Future (8:03; HD) looks at how the sound design was created.
  • High Score: Endgame (10:04; HD) is a featurette on the music and score and the importance it played into the story.
  • Ernie & Tye’s Excellent Adventure (12:00; HD) is a one-on-one interview with Ernie Cline and Tye Sheridan as they return to their hometown of Austin, Texas to reminisce about working on RPO.

 


4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 5.0/5


Warner Brothers enters the OASIS releases Ready Player One onto 4K Ultra High-Definition and Blu-ray where it is presented with a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers respectively. As you undoubtedly can tell from just the trailers, the color array is fantastic to behold, especially in 4K resolution, where they are vibrant while black levels are stark. Detail is well defined throughout in both cases, with the 4K being a bit sharper by comparison.

4K/BD AUDIO – 5.0/5


Both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray comes with a Dolby Atmos as well as a standard DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks and boasts strong audio on both accounts with the former being more dynamic for obvious reasons. There are some sequences that really stand out, most notably the two race scenes where you get a wide range of cars passing one another and on the second race, you get a cool almost echoe-y (for the lack of a better word) vibe from it while other scenes also utilize every available channel, with the rears mostly relegated for ambient noises and front speakers outputting clear dialogue levels.

 


OVERALL – 4.5/5


Overall, Ready Player One was an all around fun and entertaining sci-fi action-adventure from Steven Spielberg that does a wonderful job of throwing nostalgia in your face, but the filmmakers seemed to be having a hell of a time with the material, and the story itself was compelling. This 4K release offers up a trifecta of excellence with the video, audio and bonus features.

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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