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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Boy from the sticks plays to win.

Ready Player One (2018) on IMDb

Plot Overview

2045, Columbus, Ohio the buckeye state. Eighteen-year-old orphan Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) lives in “the stacks”—sort of a vertical trailer park—with his Aunt Alice (Susan Lynch) and “her string of losers.” To escape this bleak existence he's joined the “gunters”, i.e. egg hunters, in hopes of finding the “easter egg” hidden in the OASIS a VR game developed by brilliant & eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), now deceased, along with his partner Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg). He needs to obtain three keys using clues from the life of the game's clever inventor.

When against all odds he retrieves the first key (“Who is this ‘Parzival’ and how the hell is he winning?”), he rises to the top of the board, followed by his game pal avatars Aech, Art3mis, and bros Daito & Shoto (“With God all things are possible”: Ohio state motto.) They get dubbed the “High Five” and encounter serious opposition both in the game world and in the real by Sorrento (Ben Mendel­sohn) CEO of Innovative Online Industries (IOI) who wants the prize for him­self. Sorrento employs two vicious henchmen and an army of game slaves known as “Sixers” (due to their six-digit identification numbers) to thwart him.

To complicate matters Parzival commits a serious breach of VR etiquette by falling in virtual love (“I luv u”) with Art3mis, goddess of the hunt. “What if she is some 300 lb. dude named Chuck that lives in his mother's base­ment in suburban Detroit?” his buddy Aech beseeches him.

Ideology

Winning key #2 hinges on the expression, “Take the leap”, whatever that means. Researching Halliday's life shows Parzival & Art3mis that he'd dated Kira before she became the wife of Morrow, which was the source of their falling out. Halliday's journal entry reads, “She wanted to go dancing, so we watched a movie.” Which 1980s movie did they go to? The gunters scroll down the list of possibilities to arrive at Stanley Kubrick's “The Shining.” The magic of the virtual world takes a horror direction.

For the purposes our biblical Easter egg, we are going to look at the flick immediately preceding that one on the list: “Say Anything.” In it some recent high school grads defined a date as “prearrangement, with the possibility of love.” The Book of Esther shows the origin of dating when Queen Esther made a lunch date with the king. Prearrangement resulted in a plan change when the king unable to sleep the night before had some court records read to him and so was kept from a folly. The possibility of love was represented when Haman tried to bond with Esther at the lunch date to get her to intercede on his behalf. Thus a date embodies the two greatest commandments: to love God with all one's being giving him opportunity to intercede in our affairs by our prearranging the meeting, and physically bonding with one's date to best under­stand him or her and treat him with love of neighbor.

In RP1 Parzival & Art3mis don't know if they'll find each other acceptable as they are in the real world. A date is the very vehicle to find out what the other is truly like.

Let's take the Genesis model where marriage was the ideal state, (Gen. 2:18) “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God went about it thus (Gen. 2:21-22): “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.  And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” God specially made her for the man Adam, and Providence brought her to him who recognized there was something special about this woman, (Gen. 2:23) “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Further­more, in the beginning that was supposed to be a kind of precedent of a woman specifically made for (& from) her particular man, (Gen. 2:24) “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The leaving family to go out with this special one is what today we'd call dating, culminating in marriage.

The first, preliminary step involved touching whereby Adam and Eve made a connection. In RP1 they kept losing the first-key contest with gorilla touches, too heavy. Let's look at ball­room dancing where they ended up. Ginger Rogers on hearing her dance partner Fred Astaire praised, said she did all the steps he did, only back­wards and in high heels. In this movie the dance is so non-aggressive they might as well be dancing with corpses, and every jack partner had a balance handicap. Perfect for winning the genteel touch prize.

The three stages going from touch dancing to dating to marriage represent a gradation of three inter­actions that correspond uncannily to what the movie shows us: “Touch not; taste not; handle not” (Col. 2:21) where each phase is entered into not until the relation­ship has appropriately progressed. “Touch” corresponds to the friend­ship / acquaintance­ship stage. (“Ninjas don't hug!”) “Taste” is the province of the tongue, employed in a certain kind of kissing one enjoys on a date. And the “handling” of genitalia is the line one crosses after the marriage ceremony.

The familiar awkward good­bye kiss on a first date, has been written about by anthro­polo­gist Desmond Morris (well known for his book The Naked Ape): (247)

There are changes in the sequence, resulting from set social conventions. The good­night-kiss ritual can bring this form of intimacy forward in the sequence con­siderably, just as accepting an invitation to dance can bring forward a waist embrace to an early stage in court­ship.

Halliday had failed to “make the leap” on that first and only date with Kira, losing her to a guy more conventional and less reserved. The Easter egg of matrimony's third key was guarded by a force field that could only be breached by a magic spell. That meant some powerful words uttered in an appropriate context represented in our real world by the proper wedding ceremony between a man and a woman. Prof. Tamara Metz quotes Lehmann-Haupt about a ceremony conveying a certain “gravitas”: (8)

It wasn't like “la, la, la, you're married and here are some flowers.” He treated the situation with the gravity it deserved.

Production Values

This fast-paced movie, “” was directed by Steven Spielberg. It was derived from a sci-fi novel Ready Player One (2011) by Ernest Cline. Cline adapted it into a script with the assistance of screen­writer Zak Penn. It stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, and Ben Mendel­sohn. Lead actor Tye Sheridan for his part had charisma, but the rest were a mixed bag.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudity and language. It's a bit long at 140 min. but the time flies. Spielberg him­self commended Alan Silvestri's robust score. The musical sound­track played 1980s pop songs. Of note was “We're Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. The visual effects were super and the action didn't let up.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I enjoyed “Ready Player One” despite myself. The effects and non-stop action made up for a shallow plot and mediocre acting. If you don't go into it with excessive expectations, you'll likely enjoy it. Pop culture references abound.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed fun. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Lehmann-Haupt, Rachel. “Need a Minister? How about Your Brother?” New York Times, 12 Jan. 2003, late edition, sec. 9, 1+. Quoted in Tamara Metz. Untying the Knot: Marriage, the State, and the Case for Their Divorce. Prince­ton, NJ: Prince­ton UP, 2010. Print.

Morris, Desmond. Manwatching. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977. Print.