Mark Rylance is once again teaming up with Steven Spielberg in the adaptation of Ernest Cline’s excellent novel Ready Player One. Spielberg is assembling quite the cast here with Ben Mendelsohn and Simon Pegg already signed on with relative new comers Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke.
Have I mentioned that Ready Player One is excellent? It really is and I urge you to go and read it. It’s set in a dystopia in 2044 where most people live their lives in the OASIS, an online virtual realty utopia. Reality has turned to shit because of the great recession and the OASIS is the only place most people find happiness. When the co-creator and owner of the OASIS, James Halliday (Rylance) dies, his fortune is left to the person who can complete his mysterious challenge left inside the OASIS hidden within certain ‘Easter Eggs’ or clues he leaves behind. Each clue leads to a key which opens a gate, of which there are three. Behind each gate is a certain challenge the player has to face to progress. All of these clues are related to Halliday’s interests when he was alive which are all references to 1980’s pop culture. Our protagonist is Wade Watts (Sheridan) whose sole purpose is to complete the challenge before the evil Innovative Online Industries, lead by Sorento (Mendelsohn), obtain the OASIS and turn it from the free-to-play utopia into a money grabbing nightmare, ruining the only aspect of most people’s lives that remains bearable. On the way, he meets various other ‘gunters’, as they call themselves, including his best friend Aech and Art3mis (Cooke) with whom he strikes up a rivalry and friendship. Simon Pegg is playing Ogden Morrow, Halliday’s best friend from childhood and co-creator of the OASIS who pops up in the story from time to time, but I won’t ruin that for you.
It’s a Sci-Fi/ Fantasy with references from Back to the Future to Ghostbusters to Zork. It really is a joy to read. It’s an epic adventure story narrated via a video game intertwined with 80’s pop-culture references which makes it equally appealing for gamers and 80’s geeks alike. But don’t worry if aren’t invested in either of these things, it’s still a great adventure tale.
Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg is due to be released March 2018