True to Coming of Age tales, most supporting characters don't develop much
The sequel's probably gonna be a soulless mess of merchandising opportunities
Since the release of Harry Potter in 2001, young adult novels have been the rage for Hollywoods adaptation tirade. And to no surprise. After all, the boy wizard alone has outlived two different actors in the Spider-Man costume, and by the looks of its spin-off, by the time the five-part Fantastic Beasts series concludes in 2024, a third actor may have come to retire from his web-slinging adventures, too.
In this vein, a young adult novel that not only captures a similar demographic of imaginative readers seeking a dose of escapism, but also diehard fans of pop culture seems like a no-brainer hit. If anything, it’s almost a wonder that Ready Player One wasn’t turned into a tentpole film the moment the novel hit the shelves.
But if the wait means having gotten the creative team that finally executed the film, then it was certainly worth the wait.
At a cursory glance at all the marketing material, Ready Player One seems almost like a ready made franchise cashing in on the success of other pop culture entities. Fortunately, at its core, lies a very traditional coming-of-age tale about a boy who wants to do nothing more than save the world despite the hand life has dealt him—a tale that Spielberg has, multiple times, proven himself a deft story-teller.
While Spielberg’s skill in the handling of this movie comes at no surprise, the cast perform exceptionally well too, lending reality and gravitas to their larger-than-life characters within the virtual realm of Oasis, in which a bulk of the action occurs.
Even supporting characters such as Daito and Sho are given enough screen time to seal their fates as certain fan favourites. This can also be attributed to the significant number of changes from novel to script, changing the involvement and fates of certain characters.
Ultimately, however, the greatest aspect of Ready Player One is that it doesn’t take the easy path by falling back on the cheap feel good aspects of ’80s references and music a la Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and instead opts to build on very real character interactions, and growth.
Ready Player One is out in all theatres now and is worth watching before the inevitable avalanche of superhero movies.