Steven Spielberg has directed some classic science fiction films.
His films over the years such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET the Extra-Terrestrial, AI Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report and War of the Worlds are all top notch entertainment so the bar is set pretty high when it comes to his latest film Ready Player One.
The film is set in the year 2045, where most people live in slum-like cities due to various political issues across the world.
To escape the mindless desolation of the real world, most people use a virtual reality software both for business and pleasure which goes by the name of OASIS.
In a manoeuvre that is worthy of Willy Wonka, OASIS creator James Halliday has died but not before leaving his immense fortune and control to the winner of a contest designed to find a worthy heir.
Orphaned teenager Wade Watts (played by Tye Sheridan) is living in a tower in the middle of a junkyard in Columbus, Ohio where he discovers clues to a game hidden inside the program that helps him in the task.
Watts and several allies join together under their avatar names to try to complete the game but it’s a race against time to beat slave-like players working for a large company called Innovative Online Industries, run by archetypal evil businessman Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn).
Innovative Online Industries take a keen interest in Watts and his pals to try to find out their real identities.
Meanwhile our hero Wade decides to study the virtual OASIS library to learn about Halliday's personal life, hoping to find a hint to finish the race and after a fast start the plot splutters a little from here.
Ready Player One pays homage to popular culture – something Spielberg is the master of over the decades - with dozens of references to films, television shows, music, toys, video games, and comics with one critic saying “it was less a film and more an overstuffed cultural recycling bin.”
A little too far over the top and too long at 140 minutes, Ready Player One is still worth the price of admission, if not the OASIS of science fiction brilliance it promises to be.