A good friend of mine strongly suggested I read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One novel last year shortly after the first trailer was released at SDCC. Now, I can read comics for hours but sometimes I have trouble focussing on books. After a few pages I become a dog in a field of squirrels! This book, this book was different. I was hooked after the first page. The constant references to superheroes and my favourite movies helped!
Suddenly I was halfway through the book and I didn’t want to put it down until I found out what the heroes would get up to next. I was also keen to keep feeling nostalgic over all the references, and there are plenty! I was falling in love with the characters and made a promise to myself that I would not watch the trailer until I had finished the book. A promise that I was glad that I kept.
It only took a few days and I had finished the book. I was “Ready” to watch the trailer. I hit play and I held my breath, I don’t think I breathed out until after the trailer had finished. The first thing I did was to watch it again! I wanted to see what Easter Eggs I missed the first time round!
I was excited, really excited. The images I was seeing were the images my imagination gave to me when I was reading the book. The Stacks, the immersion rigs, Wade’s secret hideout. It all looked exactly how I had pictured it and I hadn’t even seen the OASIS yet! After the third or fourth time watching I was desperate to see more, but we were months away and I was already impatient. So, I did what Wades does in the book. I researched. I read up on the movie, I watched the movies that were referenced in the book and I listened to the 80’s tracks that feature heavily. As I write this I am listening to Rush’s greatest hits!
After months of waiting and being treated and teased to new trailers, the time had come. I was invited to a multimedia press screening at the IMAX in London. One of the biggest screens in the country. The fanboy in me was already screaming! I was advised to see this movie on the biggest screen possible and this was one of the biggest! I had on my Space Invaders T-shirt and I couldn’t believe my luck.
26m by 20m. Huge! Every seat in there was filled and I managed to get a seat right in the middle at the back. I got there early so I was sat down for a while and I was constantly looking at my watch to check the time. Finally, the music stopped and I thought it was time as a hush came over the crowd. The host came over the microphone and started building hype. I didn’t need any encouragement, I was already on the edge of my seat!
Out of nowhere the host introduced three people. Ben Mendelsohn (the baddie-Nolan Sorrento), Tye Sheridan (the hero-Wade Watts), the two actors came out to a loud applause and then the director was introduced. Mr Steven Spielberg, and of course, the roof was raised. The director of my childhood was in the same room as me! I was cheering along with everybody else. Once the room managed to calm down the actors answered a few questions and Spielberg informed us that he was jealous of us as he had not seen it on an IMAX screen yet. At that moment I knew I was in for a serious escape into storytelling and after we cheered and applauded the man who has beautifully told us so many stories over the years, the lights dimmed and we all sat back to be told a story that could only be told on a big screen.
Now, don’t worry, there are no spoilers here. If you have read the book ,or seen the trailers, then you know what to expect. Let me tell you this though, your expectations are wrong! The trailers barely scratched the surface and when it came to the action and the images that were filling the screen, my mind was blowing after only a few minutes.
When I wasn’t gasping or laughing along with the audience, my eyes were everywhere. I didn’t want to miss a thing and I was looking around as if I was looking through my own V.R headset. This movie is a visual treat and if you get stuck with a seat in the front row then you are going to need to see a chiropractor the next day!
From start to finish my eyes were seeing things I never thought I’d see. Now, we know from the trailers that our nostalgic feelings would be triggered throughout this movie but I had no idea how much and for me it never got boring. This combined with the exciting story and the loveable characters made this movie an experience, not just a night out.
I thought that the exciting visuals might stop me from being able to keep up with the story but the balance was perfect and I was falling in love with the actors and their avatars at the same speed in which I fell in love them in the book.
Now, for those who might not have read the book I don’t want to give too much away. In a way I wish I could wipe my own memory so I could watch this film for the first time again. I will say that the heroes are heroic and the villains are so, so villainous! The film has it all. Comedy, romance, action, dancing in zero gravity…Combine all that with cameos from every major movie and computer game from the last few decades and you may feel that every other cinema trip after this one will be a lot less exciting. Maybe the OASIS will have to be created just so we can keep entertaining ourselves on such a high level.
I can’t wait to go back and see it again and again. Just like how I wanted to read the book as soon as I finished it, I wanted to watch the movie again as soon as the lights came back up.
If you like pop culture then you will love this movie. If you like Spielberg movies, you will love this movie. If you like being in a room filled with people laughing and gasping and cheering, you will love this movie.
Now, I am going to go and read Ready Player One, again!
Ready Player One release dates.