Interest Level: Young Adult
Main Performers: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn
Director: Steven Spielberg
Studio: Warner Bros
Run Time: 2h 20min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Wade Watts has a pretty rough life in the real world, but in the OASIS, he is everything he has ever wanted to be. The OASIS is a virtual reality world created by the late James Halliday. Before his death, Halliday placed a hidden Easter egg locked within the game. The first to find the keys that will unlock the egg will win full ownership of OASIS and the legacy that comes with it. A company of players known as the Sixers are intent on finding the keys and winning the egg. Wade's OASIS avatar, Parzival, teams up with the virtual mechanic Aech and well-known player Art3mis to beat the Sixers and win the prize. They go through a series of difficult tasks to uncover the three keys, but with each of their skills and Parzival's extensive knowledge of video games and Halliday's life, they are able to beat the Sixers to the finish line. Wade unlocks the egg and is offered full control of OASIS, but he opts to share with Aech and Art3mis. They decide to shut down the OASIS twice a week in order to persuade people to spend more time in the real world.
While this movie is filled with mesmerizing virtual reality effects and Spielberg's signature explosions, the film falls short in its storyline and character arcs. The cast of supporting characters are hardly developed, while the romance subplot feels forced and filled with tired cliches. The story comes across as rushed and unnatural, as with every task, Wade conveniently has some prior knowledge that allows him to succeed and beat everyone. The message of the story seems to be directing viewers to live in the real world, but the entire premise of the story revolves around the fight to save the virtual world. However, viewers will be sure to enjoy the many pop-culture references and the wonderful soundtrack of '80s hits. There is plenty of action and it is enjoyable to watch, but the story lacks depth.
*Contains mild sexual content, moderate violence, and moderate language.