In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the Oasis to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-aka the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.
If you are even remotely into gaming, you will like this movie. If you are into 80s pop culture, you will like this movie. If you are into both gaming AND 80s pop culture, you will LOVE this movie.
I'm not much of a gamer myself, although I am certainly surrounded by it via my 24-year-old and 12-year-old sons. Still, I am a product of the 80s, so the pop culture references reeled me in enough to make me a fan of this movie.
While not a gamer, I am a HUGE techie. I've worked in technology for 25+ years and I've always been the one in the house to set up whatever tech products come our way. The virtual reality setting for most of this film was staggering and probably the main "character" in this story. The visuals kept my attention "virtually" 100% of the time.
Other than the performance by "Bloodline" and "Rogue 1" veteran Ben Mendelsohn, I wouldn't say there were any performances worth mentioning...not because there were poor performances, but mostly because the performances were overwhelmed by the main character, the virtual reality environment. Okay, okay. I I had to call out one other "voice over" performance, it would be that of T.J. Miller, of "Silicon Valley" and countless other comedies. His performance as "I-R0k" was refreshing and kept me chuckling throughout.
In my opinion, the story was somewhat weak. However, I don't think it had too much of an influence on the overall experience...it was still a hell of a fun ride. I simply felt that there was a buildup to a payoff that was never really delivered.
Would I recommend this movie? Certainly...if you fall into one of the categories mentioned at the beginning of this review. And, if you're going to see it, I strongly urge you to see it on the big screen. The visuals are a show worth watching, in and of themselves.