The Search for Significance in Ready Player One

The Search for Significance in Ready Player One March 30, 2018
Ready Player One, screen shot from the Warner Bros. trailer

You gotta hand it to Steven Spielberg: He can make a pretty fun movie when he wants to.

Ready Player One is a delightful visual thrill ride—a two-hour trip on Space Mountain if you replaced all the stars and planets with nods to ‘80s pop culture. I’m a little surprised that, given how much of that pop culture director Spielberg was responsible for, he resisted the urge to throw in references to Jaws and E.T.—or, at the very least, keep The Goonies and the multiple Indiana Jones references that were in Ernest Cline’s original book. (Vulture tells me that there is an Indiana Jones poster in a kid’s bedroom, though.)

For all its virtual spectacle, Ready Player One feels a bit light emotionally—a strange thing to say about a Spielberg-directed flick. In some ways, the movie was kinda weak in the same way that the land of OASIS (the virtual universe at the heart of Ready Player One) is. Yeah, man it looks great. But the movie was so busy whisking us through all its visual wonders, it couldn’t pause long enough to help us care for the characters taking us there.

But if it feels a bit shallow, Ready Player One is surprisingly rich theologically. And it begins with the creator, of course: OASIS creator James Halliday.

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