Although I am not sure exactly what I just saw, I can say for certain that it was really cool. Not being a gamer, and not into the virtual reality world, this was something unlike anything I have ever seen. Steven Speilberg has created a world that you will need to visit again and again to get all the references to the 80’s and 90’s. He said it was the third toughest movie he has ever made; that is understandable. This movie will not be for everyone, but those who like it will think nirvana.
Dateline: 2045 Columbus, Ohio (No reference to Ohio State unless you include the “stacks” being a nod to the library.) Wade Watts lives in a stack of mobile homes (read that slums) in the fastest growing city in the world. Lives are so terrible that people spend all their time in a virtual world known as OASIS. The creator of OASIS has died and promised a fortune to the winner of the game. IOI, the evil corporation, seeks to win the prize, and control of the OASIS by any means, fair or foul. Wade and his fellow gunters (Easter egg hunters) must get there first or become indentured servants. But the rule is to never trust an avatar in the OASIS. Who can be trusted?
Wade Watts/Parzival is played by Tye Sheidan, an actor who looks geeky enough to pull this off. Olivia Cooke is his love interest as Samantha/Art3mis. Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) is James Halliday/Anorak, the creator of Oasis. The make-up artists make him look like Wayne of Wayne’s World. Simon Pegg (Mission Impossible) is Ogden Morrow, Halliday’s former partner. Unfortunately, his crazy personality is not utilized. T.J. Miller is absolutely terrific as iRok, a hired gun employed by IOI with an ironic sense of humor. Ben Mendelsohn is Nolan Sorrento, the CEO of IOI and mastermind of the intended takeover of the OASIS. Lena Waithe as Aech is Wade’s best friend in the OASIS who he has never met in real life. You will find her background to be a nice twist.
If I had a complaint about this movie, it would be that there is so much going on that your eyes and mind are almost on overload. Nevertheless, I was immersed in the story and the world. Like games, I was addicted to the search for the clues and the Easter egg. I couldn’t wait for more pop culture to, well, pop up. It is reported that this movie cost $175 million to make. At that cost, not too many directors besides Spielberg would be entrusted with this movie. It expects to make $40-50 million domestically and another $100-120 million worldwide this weekend. A full house at Cobb Theater on a Wednesday night is certainly a good start. Bottom line: I had fun!