“Ready Player One” was utterly disappointing


Ashley Morin, Staff Writer


2018’s ‘Ready Player One’ was a nostalgic, nerdy extravaganza that was depicted as a great, fun, fantastic ride but in actuality was much to the contrary. The trailers depicted the film to be much of an action packed experience, however, it was more of a movie-videogame-referencing sandwich. There were some decent plot elements in the middle, but it was hard to appreciate because of the flat, uninteresting characters and weak dialogue. For movie going fanatics to lovers of the book, this film is not what it was chalked up to be; minor spoilers ahead.

Visually, the film is beautiful, the CGI (Computer Generated Images) are great and keeps a consistent quality that’s much like an actual video-game, and this look was a problem in multiple scenes where audiences can barely tell what’s happening, since, the screen is just cluttered and the action is hard to follow. One might say it’s intentional, as mass multiplayer games can be fast paced and wild. However, you can have fast-paced action without it being hard to follow as Kingsman: The Secret Service proves. In Kingsman: The Secret Service, the film depicts well-known scene in a church where it’s an all-out fight between dozens of people; the screen is cluttered like Ready Player One, but it isn’t bothersome because of the fantastic, beautiful cinematography. This stylistic camera-work which is fluent throughout the Kingsman films, aids the audience by closing in on the protagonist and focuses one’s attention on what’s most important. In ‘Ready Player One’ in scenes such as the race and the final fight of the film, the film focuses so much on showing you the vastness and complexity of what’s going on that it’s relatively easy to lose to main character on screen and disconnect you from the movie-going experience.

One of the most annoying aspects of ‘Ready Player One’ was the unimportant, basic dialogue. To understand this line of thought, be reminded of “The Room” by Tommy Wiseau, where, the delivery is off and the actual dialogue itself is all to drive the plot and doesn’t actually have any realism to it, which leads to an off-putting experience. To be fair, it’s not as atrocious as Tommy Wiseau’s riveting script, but one would expect more considering the Ready Player One author, Ernest Cline, was behind the screenplay; then again, Zak Penn also co-wrote the screenplay and the only screenplays he wrote for movies that didn’t flop were: “The Avengers,” the second two “X-Men” films and “The Incredible Hulk.”

Objectively, a good film will have characters that lead its plot that are either dynamic or rounded, sometimes even both. These characters will undergo change, or if they’re rounded they behave in a real-life manner and are complex by definition. ‘Ready Player One’ does not have any characters that react or behave in any of these ways; they’re static and flat characters that lack depth. For example, Wade Watts, the main character of the film loses his aunt in an explosion and has no real reaction outside yelling “You killed my mother’s sister.” The film could have easily had him have some kind of visible reaction, or used her death as a driving force for his stride against IOI (the main antagonist’s corporation) and winning the contest; however, Wade still only is visibly driven by his infatuation with the female protagonist Artemis and solving the mystery of his idol being the game’s creator, James Halliday.

James Halliday is the only character with any depth, he’s not dynamic as he doesn’t undergo any changes as a result of the plot or story, however, he’s rounded. Halliday is quirky, quite methodical and particular in what he wants; he’s intelligent and inspired and thanks to Mark Rylance’s performance.. Wade Watts is virtually a blank slate. There’s nothing truly defining about his personality. He’s a catalyst for the plot and without question he’s a Gary Stu; being the male-counterpart for the Mary Sue trope in movies and literature. Where a character can either be perfect in every way to an annoying degree, or a character that’s only intention is to ‘do the right thing.’ These kinds of characters are predictable and more often than not are unrealistic, they’re too perfect to be real.

Ready Player One was a film with problems. There are some aspects of it that audiences can appreciate, but considering the expectations, it was quite a let down. The age-old tale of “the book was better than the movie” most certainly applies in this situation, and it’s a pity. If one wants a better story and a more joyful experience, the book can be purchased on Amazon or