It’s 2045 and the future is a dystopian set of high-rise communities, where people no longer communicate face-to-face, but through a global virtual platform called “The Oasis”. With the possibility of “The Oasis” being overrun by the tyrannical IOI corporation, communities must come together in the real and virtual worlds in order to save both.
The story picks up with our main character “Wade” (played by Tye Sheridan), spending all his time in a beat-out old van, in the middle of a rubbish dump, connected to “The Oasis” via a Virtual Reality – VR – headset. His avatar, “Parzival” and his best friend (although never having met in the real-world) “Aech” compete in online games in order to gain coins that can be used to buy stuff both in the virtual and real world.
So, to set the scene (briefly), “The Oasis” was developed by a guy called “Halliday” and his best-friend “Ogden”. A few years after the initial version was released, the friendship split and the two went their separate ways, with Halliday continuing to work on the Oasis, until he died a few years later. His untimely death released a video that informed everyone that before he died, he had hidden three special keys within the Oasis, and if someone found all the keys, they would become the legitimate owner and purveyor over the entire Oasis. Fast-forward a few years, and the IOI corporation has been set-up, with its sole purpose of finding the keys and owning the Oasis for its own evil plans. And so, we continue …
The film essentially plays out as a battle between Wade, and his group of friends, and the evil IOI corporation in order to capture the keys. Wade, being the most knowledgeable person on Halliday’s life, combines this knowledge with the infamous “Art3mis” – another legendary character within the Oasis, and together they try and unlock the secrets of Halliday’s mysteries.
At this point, I’m not going to go any further into the story of the film, as it’ll just give way too much away. Instead, I’m going to focus on how this film makes you feel as you watch it. Growing in the ’80s is pretty much a prerequisite for this film as otherwise the majority of the references will just go straight over your head. And may I just take this moment to salute Mr Spielberg on not only including these references – but doing so on such a scale – it was absolutely brilliant. My favourite scene included one such particular ’80s “possessed toy” being used as a weapon against the IOI…”F***, it’s C****y!” yells an IOI officer, before being rampaged by the small doll!
Despite all of its awesomeness, this film doesn’t win a 5* rating from me. The CGI which is essentially the ‘cool’ bit of the film, the acting, and the plot (although it was from a book of the same name) are all incredible, the sheer nature of PG-13s (12A) films just tend to brush over on the character depths and head straight towards the ‘interesting’ stuff. For this film it was a bit disappointing, but I suppose you can’t always have everything.
who should watch it?
Anyone who was born or grew up in the ’80s. The sheer number of references will have you yelling and pointing at the screen with a smile on your face throughout the entire film!