Spielberg’s Long-Awaited “Ready Player One” Opens to Mixed Reviews

The film grossed $3.8 million on its opening | Tried to make its presence felt on 3,500 screens across the United States and Canada | Expected to bring in $100-120 million over the 4-day weekend from 4,200 theaters

Spielberg’s Long-Awaited “Ready Player One

Initially scheduled for release on December 15 last year, later rescheduled for a March 30 opening this year, then moved up by a day yet again to hit the theatres on March 29, Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited film “Ready Player One” finally did open yesterday. Yes, they got it right on the third attempt.

Projected to gross in excess of $45 million over the four-day Easter weekend, the film raked in $3.8 million from 3,500 theatres across the U.S. and Canada on the opening day, which is expected stretch to 4,200 locations come Thursday.

Internationally, the film will make its presence felt day-in-date in 62 countries and is expected to gross between $100 and $120 million in the opening weekend in China alone.

The film has attracted good to mediocre to bad reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film an approval rating of 78 percent based on 162 reviews and an average rating of 7 out of 10.

“Ready Player One is a sweetly nostalgic thrill ride that neatly encapsulates Spielberg’s strengths while adding another solidly engrossing adventure to his filmography,” reads Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus.

Based on 44 critics, Metacritic has granted the film a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, indicating “generally favorable reviews.”

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman describes the film a “coruscating explosion of pop-culture eye candy.”

Writing for arstechnica.com, Sam Machkovech was a bit here and there in his review when he said that the film’s unevenness, predictability and hollowness could be “written off in the service of “a perfectly fine kids’ movie.”

Based on Ernie Cline’s debut novel of the same name, ‘Ready Player One’ is packed with spectacular VR adventure and quite a bit of retro pop-culture references, as had been made evident in the trailer; so, no surprises there.

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The year is 2045 and the place, Columbus, Ohio.

The film’s indigent teenage protagonist Wade Watts – by his own admission, a name picked by his dad “because it sounded like a superhero’s alter ego like Peter Parker or a Bruce Banner” – finds himself in a “tiny corner of nowhere,” with nowhere left to go except the OASIS.

In an over-populated, polluted, and corrupt existence, the virtual reality world of OASIS – the brainchild of the now dead James Halliday – provides the only escape from the all-pervading destitution and gloom.

OASIS is a “whole new virtual universe” where people go for “all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be.”

It’s definitely much more than just a game AND it can be a dangerous place.

As already mentioned, there is no dearth of the retro factor – right from Speed Racer’s Mach 5 and Adam West’s Batmobile to King Kong and Chucky – all sharing the same virtual space created by the genius, Halliday.

Halliday appears to the gamers in a posthumous recording inside OASIS and offers half a trillion dollars and total control of the OASIS to whoever first finds the hidden Easter Egg he has created.

“I created a hidden object; an Easter Egg,” says Halliday. “The first person to find the egg will inherit half a trillion dollars and total control of the Oasis itself.”

And thus begins the scramble for the hidden egg.

Watt’s OASIS avatar, Parzival, teams up with his virtual friends in the OASIS in search of the all-promising egg and in doing so, attracts the attention of Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a corporate behemoth that wants the ultimate prize for itself.

IOI considers OASIS “the world’s most important economic resource” and will go to any lengths to have total control of Halliday’s creation.

The company hires the services of several online players to beat Watt at his game by getting to the egg first and the promised prize and control. For them, it’s the “control of the future” and they will treat it as “nothing less than war.”

Let’s end this here and not spoil this any further for you.

Watch the trailer here to get an idea of what awaits you at the theatre.

Here are some reactions from those who have seen the movie, already.

Cast and Characters

  • Tye Sheridan as Wade Owen Watts / Parzival
  • Olivia Cooke as Samantha Evelyn Cook / Art3mis
  • Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento
  • T. J. Miller as a bounty hunter
  • Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow
  • Mark Rylance as James Donovan Halliday / Anorak
  • Win Morisaki as Daito
  • Lena Waithe as Aech
  • Hannah John-Kamen
  • Philip Zhao as Shoto
  • Ralph Ineson as Rick
  • Letitia Wright as Reb
  • Mckenna Grace

Director: Steven Spielberg
Music: Alan Silvestri
Based on: ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline

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