It’s the year 2045 and Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) lives in the Stacks with his Aunt Alice (Susan Lynch) and her freaky boyfriend. Pretty much what all of society in Columbus does is play in the Oasis a state of the art, never seen before, virtual reality game that will take you wherever you want to go and be anyone you want to be, otherwise considered your Avatar. The Oasis was created by genius James Halliday (Mark Rylance) and upon his death he left behind an egg. Not just an ordinary egg but an Easter egg and for the person that discovers it they will take over his companies and gain all his wealth which is in the trillions. The players need to find three keys and once they receive all three they are considered the winner and the lucky person will control the entire Oasis.
Five years have gone by but no one has uncovered not even one key and one of the best players out there is Parzival, Wade’s avatar name. One rule you never want to announce to anyone your real name once in the Oasis. Parzival while searching for the first key and in a crazy race against other players and his good friend Aech (Lena Waithe) they race against King Kong, a T-Rex, explosions and Art3mis (Olivia Cooke). Parzival figures he might find out some clues by visiting the Halliday Journals and with the help of the Curator he begins to figure things out along with developing strong feelings for Art3mis. Aech warns Parzival that even though Art3mis is appealing to him within the Oasis she could actually be a dude in the real world. Heck Parzival does not even really know much about Aech in the real world.
Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) who happened to work for Halliday and his best friend Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg) realized just how smart Parzival is so he hires a hit man in the Oasis to take him down, I-Rok (T.J. Miller) who is not exactly the prettiest nor the brightest in the game. With each key to be found Anorak the Avatar for Halliday will reward that person with a clue. As Parzival, Art3mis and Aech continue their challenges for the keys now working as a team they initiate Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki) to help find the keys, ward off Sorrento, F’Nale Zandor (Hannah John-Kamen) and their henchmen. Danger awaits all of them in the Oasis and also in the real world yet in the end Wade takes a leap, makes choices, falls in love, faces his biggest regret and discovers that reality is the only thing that’s real.
First off this is Spielberg so I expected nothing less than the best. The film is long but beautifully directed as well as written. The technology between the Oasis and the real world is outstanding, not confusing and just plain remarkable. There is a phenomenal 80’s soundtrack, references too many other characters and films and overall just an amazing adventure. I must say though that after two hours I found myself wanting less than more meaning I wish they would have condensed the story slightly but in the end a must see. I just wonder if some of the young demographics will understand some of the references to a great time in life, the 1980’s.
Sheridan and Cooke carry the story and both do an awesome job but it is Sheridan that carries a lot of the weight and more so in his Avatar state then real life. Mendelsohn is a strong villain with the help of John-Kamen and Miller. It is Waithe’s characters that add a dose of humor along the adventure but once again more so as an Avatar then a human. Pegg is great and Rylance is a bit misunderstood but either way they work well together. As do Zhao and Morisaki and the many supporting characters throughout this story yet overall the film is technically superb with a good mixture of thrills and suspense.