Movie Reviews: "Ready Player One" and More!

It’s been a long time since I did a movie review as I only do these when I get screening tickets.  That way I can get reviews out when they’re most needed, the release date.  Though with all those stresses of life this last year, I just didn’t go to the movies much.  Till this last week, somehow we got three screenings.  Two last week and one this week.  While  the two I saw last week were good, I didn’t get a chance to review them.  So I’ll touch lightly on them, though the movie from this week I want to dive into as it blew my mind.  So here’s my reaction to “Ready Player One”.

I went to “Ready Player One”, with not much knowledge of the film.  I barely ever watch live TV anymore, so I only briefly saw tv ads a few times.  And I heard people mention it.  But I often thought about “Pixels” which was okay, but not really “GREAT”.  But we got our hands on some screening passes and I was down with seeing it, as I like to see the movies that attempt to awaken that inner child in me.  Though I was not ready for how much this movie was going to push those buttons of emotions from start to finish.  So warning as some spoilers will be in here, but it’s hard not to give spoilers for a film filled with greatness.

The plot line is simple.  A great game world was invited, where you go into the world and can be anything you want and do anything you want.  Much like games like “Second Life” but even cooler.  In this game, you are wearing a VR set and get to see what your character see, act out your character with your own body.  The world fell in love with this game and most everyone plays.  But the true game starts when the creator of this VR world, the Oais, passes away the game becomes real.

The creator makes a challenge for the players.  The challenge is hidden in the game behind riddles and challenges and the winner of this contest gets a real prize.  Though the first challenge is so hard to figure out that the players have been playing for years with no luck.  Till a boy and his group of friends start to figure out the clues, collecting the keys and working their way to the end of the challenge.

The fun does not stop there, as a company wants their hands on this amazing prize.  The owner of this company has armies of people trying to solve the clues and move forward.  Once he finds out this group of kids start to make their way through them he sends his team chasing after them.  The winner will get control over the game and so much more.  The stakes get high, in and out of the game as this fight becomes more real between the boy and this business man.  But can either of these teams defeat each other, get everything needed and win the game?  I’ll leave the movie for everyone to learn that detail.

Now let’s get to know these gamers starting with our leading good guys.  The lead character is Wade, in the game he goes by Parvival, is a boy who knows a lot about the creator of the game, Halliday.  He drives a DeLorean, like it came out of Back to the Future.  He spends his time trying to figure out the clues to win the challenge by Halliday.  Played by Ty Sheridan, this was my first time seeing a film with Ty in it.  Though I felt he did a great job at portraying this boy who was just searching for more in life.  He used the game as his escape from the real world where he lived with his aunt and whichever model of a boyfriend she had at the time. 

Parvival best friend was Aech, a big guy inside the game who raced with a Monster truck and liked to build things.  Including one of my favorite characters to appear in the film.  I remember squealing when I saw that character appear on the screen for the first time in Aech’s shop.  While Parvival only knew Aech through the Oais, this was the friend he felt closest too.  Helping each other through the game, Aech gives me some of my favorite moments in the film.  Esp when they go into a movie from Halliday’s past.

Near the beginning of the film Parvival meets Art3mis who is a blogger that he’s been following for a long time.  They went through a major race and he saves her life.  Her bike is destroyed in the race, and he takes her to Aech to have the bike repaired.  Art3mis says something that hits Parvival as he thinks about her words it helps him solve the clue for the first part of the challenge.  After this, she becomes good friends with them. 

The other two in the team are Daito and Sho, these two are friends of Aech and know Parvival through him.  The team works together to help each other make it through each phase of the team.  Even though they went in feeling they were each alone and in this for themselves.  They made a great team.

The team they’re going against is a large company lead by Sorrento.  A businessman who feels he should have Oais as his.  His company is cut throat as they will do anything to win.  Sending in armies to do the challenge, having a group of some guys doing their research and hiring in game hunters to find rare objects and take care of problems for them.  The one Sorrento uses in this film is I-R0k, a man sure of his skills and likes getting paid for the job he does.  With over ten years of money and items built up.  I-R0k is very smart, funny and fastly became my favorite bad guy in the film.

The fight takes place between the Oais and the real world.  The characters all work great off of each other and the amount of cameos in the film is just breathtaking.  That is the hardest part not to talk about, but I want everyone to take this in for themselves.  But I will drop a spoiler as promised near the beginning.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in the film!  At least two of them, I need to see the movie again to see if the other two are there.

The cast includes Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Win Morisaki, Philip Zhao and Ben Mendelsohn.  A list of names that seem new to me, Ben being a name that has worked on a few movies that I have seen like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Australia” but did not a name where I would’ve known who he was at just hearing his name.  Which worked well for me, as all of the cameos that were meant to be cameos were what stood up and awoken those feelings in me while these actors only brought me into the characters they were playing in this film.  Not pulling me out by knowing their work elsewhere.  I really did think that helped me, but truly their acting helped bring these characters to life.  A great director, Steven Spielberg to lead them through this emotional action pack comedy filled with clues, keys and heroes. 

There was two names that hit me in the credits.  Simon Pegg, whom through me threw a loop as I did not even realize that was him.  Now I’ll have to pay more attention to the character when I watched the film next time.  Another name has caught my attention in the credits, David Forman listed as a Hong Kong Businessman.  I would swear this would mean Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, but IMDB is leading me in a new direction.  The only credit for this David Forman is for “Ready Player One”.   Is this a mistake on IMDB, or is this a different David?  I am going to check more into this, as I really think it would be awesome to have Leonardo within this movie.

Real fast I’ll like touch on the other two films that I saw which are already at the theater.  The first of these movies was “Midnight Sun”.  This movie is about Katie who has Xeroderma Pigmentosum known as XP.  XP is a rare inherited disease that causes one to be extremely sensitive to the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation which comes from the sun.  Being in the sunlight could kill Katie.  Her mother died when she was young, her father, Jack raised her and did everything to protect her.  As a teenager she does not want to “Be the disease” she wants to live as normal a life as she can.

While out Katie makes friend with her childhood crush, Charlie.  She watched him from her specially tinted windows as they were growing up.  He did not know of her, or who she was at all.  They meet when she’s out at night, and she decides not to share the truth of her disease with Charlie as she wants him to see her for who she is.  Not what’s wrong with her.  This is an emotional story, so much that at the screening they gave us boxes of tissues that some people did use in the theater.  As Katie lives a creative life full of love and wonder. 

I can relate to Katie, on a different level.  My disease is not what I see as life threatening, but when people learn of it I am treated different.  People don’t want to sit near me, walk on my right side or even give me a hug.  It’s not fun.  No one wants to be their disease and this movie brings that feeling to a film.  You see how bright and wonderful of a soul she is.  Her talent shines through.  The love she has shared with everyone who touches her life.  The movie is worth seeing, it’s well done and a touching story.  And if you’re known for shedding a tear at touching films, this one may just bring that tear to you. 

Directed by Scott Speer and staring Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle and Qunn Shepard.  This film is one that I will watch again if I see it on.  It is not on my “I must own” list, but does land in the movies I recommend to friends.

The last of the screenings I went to is “Sherlock Gnomes” starring Johnny Depp, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Emily Blunt and James McAvoy.  I personally enjoyed Gnomeo and Juliet when it came out, so I was looking forward to “Sherlock Gnomes”.   There’s two plot lines going.  First one is that gnomes are going missing with a threat that Moriarty will destroy them if Sherlock does not solve the case in time.  The only gnomes to not go missing in Gnomeo and Juliet’s home are the two of them.  They are to help Sherlock and Watson try to solve the case and save their families.

The second plot of “Sherlock Gnomes” is one we see often.  Two friends close to each other for a long time, should have earned a level of respect for each other.  Though one takes on the feeling as a leader and starts to take advantage of the friendship.  To the point of being rude, and abusive towards the other.  The other still cares, but does not like being treated in this way.  Even hurt.   They must realize what is happening before things could go wrong and destroy the friendship. 

I have gone through this in real life on more than one occasion.  To where friendship either changed or just ended.  So once I realized the pattern early on in the film, I was able to realize where they were going with that.  So the plot was not the impressive part of the film.  What was impressive was Sherlock himself.  They went out of their way to add touches to Sherlock to make him close to the character of Sherlock Homes.  I loved his mind Palace. 

I did enjoy “Sherlock Gnomes”, not as much as the first film.  Enough want to to own it, and I know it is something I can put on in the background when I just want a light hearted cartoon movie playing.  It’s got some funny scenes, music and character growth which are all things I look for in a movie.  I know I won’t go to the theater again to see this movie, even though I will pick it up someday. 

I recommend this to people who enjoy cartoon films, with music to it.  I recommend fans of Sherlock to check it out, just to see how they feel Sherlock was handled in the film.  And I do think kids would enjoy this movie.  There are many friends I would not recommend this movie too as well, as I know this is not the type of film they would enjoy.  It’s a movie made for taste. You have to know yourself, to figure out if this is the type of story you would find yourself wanting to see. 

Out of the three movies here the movie I loved the most is “Ready Player One”, not only do I want to own this movie when it is released.  I want to see it again in the theaters.  I want to see the 3D.  I want to bring friends.  I want to study the backgrounds.  I want to look more careful at the actors.  I want find out if David Forman is Leonardo from TMNT 1990.  I want to know if all four Ninja Turtles are in the film.  I want to see if there’s heroes in the movie that I did not notice the first time around.  I want see if I spot things the second time around that I didn’t see when I first watched the movie.  This is a movie that can entertain me everytime I see it, which makes it an epic movie.

I personally believe that “Ready Player One” will be a classic.  People will talk about this movie for years to come, sharing it with friends.  Having screenings at theaters.  Dressing as these characters at conventions.  This movie has the stuff to be something great, and we get to be the generation to see it first.  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the beginning in this radical ride through years of entertainment. 

Complaints?  I have a few, I could predict “Sherlock Gnome” a bit fast.  I didn’t get to see the real life version of one of my favorite characters in “Ready Player One”.  Well… only shock for me in “Midnight Sun” was finding out it was not based on a true story.  I can’t really complain about it.  

All three of these movies were a lot of fun to see.  I have not walked out of the theater feeling bad about any of these films as they each brought forth emotions which they were meant to.  From feeling for the family in “Midnight Sun”, Solving the mystery with “Sherlock Gnomes” and going through the entertainment ride of a life time with “Ready Player One”. 

Have you seen “Midnight Sun”?  Have you seen “Sherlock Gnome”?  Have you seen “Ready Player One”?  If so please share your thoughts!  All reviews, comments and question welcomed below! 

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