Ready Player One Parent Guide
Saturated in pop culture references, this sic-fi adventure offers a hipster geek-fest of visuals and video game glory moments.
Parent Movie Review
In the year 2045, the Earth is a disparaging place. So much so that most of the populace would rather live in a virtual world called the OASIS. Once within the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (known as a MMORPG to gamers), a person can go anywhere and be anyone. This escape from reality has become so popular that people everywhere can be seen wearing the game goggles, and the real world’s economic system is now completely entangled in what’s happening in the virtual world.
The intensity of play becomes even greater after the death of its creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance). A posthumous video explains he has hidden an “Easter Egg” within the OASIS. Anyone who can beat the challenges and find three keys, may unlock the treasure, which is Halliday’s fortune and complete control over the game. Needless to say, this motivation sets off a frenzy of activity.
Amongst those vying for the big award is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teen who lives in what is best described as a trailer park, stacked six stories high, in the midst of a ghetto-looking Columbus, Ohio. In the game Wade embodies an avatar (computer representation of a real world player) called Parzival. Working with his virtual friends, a feisty female named Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), a hulky mechanical genius (Lena Waithe), and a couple of talented warriors (Win Morisaki and Philip Zhao), the High Five team is convinced they can solve the puzzle and turn their lives around.
Even more eager to get his hands on the prize is Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), head of a large technology firm that has invested heavily into winning control of this huge financial opportunity. Hiring hundreds of employees, his army is scouring the OASIS looking for clues and crippling any perceived competition. His second in command (Hannah John-Kamen) is even willing to hunt down and destroy their enemies in the real world too.
Like the sci-fi novel on which it’s based, Ready Player One is saturated in 1980s pop culture references and offers a hipster geek-fest of visuals and video game glory moments. Much of the plot takes place in the MMORPG, a realm that offers constant opportunities for violent conflict with fantastical weapons that kill and dismember, confrontations with frightening and ghoulish monsters, and reckless races with amazing vehicles. Gambling and sexual diversions are also possible and are briefly depicted in a couple of scenes (one that includes rear nudity), but within the scope of this movie there’s little time for such distractions. There are lots of violent depictions within the film’s real world too, including gun threats, kidnapping and being forced into servitude.
Although the plot never clearly explains how the average citizen earns money to pay for rent and power, or affords the virtual reality equipment and superior internet services needed to play the game, the production does provide a visual overload. Depending on how you feel about this frenetic motion, you will either leave relieved to see the closing credits or happily anticipating watching it on home video where you’ll have more time to identify the countless odes to movies, games, cars and music.
By the time it’s “game over”, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One feels like the master filmmaker is putting his arm around every millennial in the audience and saying, “Let me take you on a history tour of the golden era of digital culture”, while at the same time leaving a parental-like warning about spending too much time in the addictive environment. Some may argue this lesson on the dangers of embracing virtual reality may be too weak. Others, like my younger seatmate at the theater, may feel like this grandpa is a little out of touch with a modern generation.Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Hannah John-Kamen. Running time: 140 minutes. Theatrical release March 30, 2018. Updated June 4, 2018
Ready Player One
Rating & Content Info
Why is Ready Player One rated PG-13? Ready Player One is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, nudity and language.
Violence: Violent depictions and perilous situations are frequent throughout this film: some happen in the virtual game world, others happen in the movie’s “real” world. Fantastical characters and scary monsters are shown (one has a snake burst out of its chest). Also abundant are portrayals of guns, swords, knives, axes and grenades, along with futuristic weapons and magic enchantments. Explosions, electrocutions, hand-to-hand confrontations, martial arts combat, drone attacks and massive property damage result in injuries (some bloody cuts are shown) and deaths are implied (of both game characters and people). Reckless racing, car chases, kidnapping and death threats occur. A character nearly drowns in a flood of blood. Ghoulish zombies chase characters, and their limbs and heads are pulled off. Characters who have lost or owe money become desperate: one considers suicide, another is threatened with prison time, and a teen is held in custody to pay off a parent’s debt. A man is verbally and physically abusive to his girlfriend and her nephew. A character is kicked in the groin.
Sexual Content: Mild sexual references and innuendo are heard. Women dance seductively. A female character wears a revealing dress. Characters embrace and kiss. A women in a bathtub is shown, with careful camera angles to avoid frontal nudity, but her bare back and buttocks are seen. A female character fondles a male character.
Profanity: One sexual expletive is heard and a sexual finger gesture is seen. Frequent use of scatological slang, mild and moderate profanity, crude words and terms of deity. Infrequent name-calling and slurs occur.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Drinking is implied, but not directly shown, in a dance club setting.
Page last updated June 4, 2018
More parents' guide for Ready Player One after the break...
Ready Player One Parents' Guide
What are the pleasures of leaving life behind and immersing oneself in a virtual reality? What are the dangers? How can you balance entertainment with responsibility? What do you think are the reasons the society depicted here has become addicted to the OASIS?
Although the movie portrays a pretend world, what are some of the real life dangers of interacting with people on-line. Why is anonymity both a problem and a protection? What guidelines do you follow in the virtual world?
This movie make reference to many other entertainment media, including these movies: King Kong, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club, The Iron Giant, The Shining and Ferris Buhler’s Day Off.
News About "Ready Player One"
Based on a novel by Ernest Cline (who also helped pen the screenplay), this futuristic tale follows the uninspiring life of Wade Watts. The teen's only escape is a virtual reality game called the OASIS. When he learns of the challenge issued by James Donovan Halliday, the game's inventor, just before his death, Wade is quick to join the masses searching the program for a hidden Easter Egg. Whoever finds it first is promised Halliday's vast wealth. However, the folk back at IOI, the company Halliday founded, aren't as keen to see his money go to some overachieving player. In an attempt to find the prize themselves, they sabotage any one who looks like they might be getting close. And their dastardly tactics are not confined to the virtual world. The are quite prepared to kill off the completion in real life too.
In the movie adaptation, Tye Sheridan stars as Wade Watts. Mark Rylance plays James Halliday, and Olivia Cooke takes on the role of love interest. Steven Spielberg acts as director.
For parents who are sure their kids spend too much time playing video games, the enticing world depicted here will only confirm their concerns. Yet the dystopian picture of a planet populated by a generation obsessed with virtual reality instead of real life, may also present a warning.
The most recent home video release of Ready Player One movie is July 24, 2018. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Ready Player One
Release Date: 24 July 2018
Ready Player One releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy or
Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy in a Limited Edition SteelBook) with the following extras:
- Game Changer: Cracking the Code
- Effects for a Brave New World
- Level Up: Sound for the Future
- High Score: Endgame
- Ernie & Tye’s Excellent Adventure
- The ‘80’s: You’re The Inspiration