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Ready Player One—Is this the future?

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Erick, Online English teacher at Acadsoc and experienced business counsellor.

Erick, Online English teacher at Acadsoc and experienced business counselor.

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For many of us, our lives are so invested in technology and the developments of the A.I industry. Everywhere we seem to be introducing robotics and computing systems to make our lives a tad bit easier – this includes schooling, production, communication and even advertising. Debates ring all around us pertaining to the future of humanity as we introduce robotics into our personal space. As intelligent machines begin their march on labor and become more sophisticated and specialized than first-generation cousins like Roomba or Siri, they have an outspoken champion in their corner: author and entrepreneur Martin Ford. In his new book, Rise of the Robots, he argues that AI and robotics will soon overhaul our economy. On the other hand though, we have no certainty about the future – we’re often in a dilemma where we want to be cautious, but we still want to test the boundaries.

The solution to our dilemmas may be contained in the futuristic content of movies. These days, technology has enabled a high level of animation to test our wildest imaginations. Ask anyone in the world with any perception of technology and they will tell you about flying cars and a fully automated home in the next ten years. Marvel Studios have been the pioneer for the ‘possible future’, mirroring a blend of reality and possibility. On the other hand, Warner Bros. Studios have produced a movie that challenges our very definition of the future – Ready Player One.

The Movie

In the year 2045, people can escape their harsh reality in the OASIS, an immersive virtual world where you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination. OASIS creator James Halliday left his immense fortune and control of the Oasis to the winner of a contest designed to find a worthy heir. When unlikely hero Wade Watts conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-known as the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.

With science-fiction at its core, the movie appeals to a wide audience, from anyone aged 13 upwards. Directed by one of the world’s most talented – Steven Spielberg, the movie combines drama, suspense and fantasy.

Spielberg described the production of “Ready Player One” as anxiety-inducing, but also expressed anxiety for viewing the film with the South by Southwest audience. “When I make a movie that I direct behind the camera … I am pretty much in control,” he said. “But when I decided to make a movie sitting in the audience with you, and I direct a film in the seat right next to you, that means I’m making the picture for you. And your reaction is everything.”

The movie has had a couple of criticisms from top critics such as Alison Willmore and Anthony Lane who are both in agreement that the movie is too flashy for the eyes (when watched on IMAX), but doesn’t inspire much from its recycled narrative. This movie may be made by a fan of virtual reality, not someone portraying a message with impact.

Characters

Ready Player One consist of the following cast – all coming together for the following characters:

Tye Sheridan as Wade Owen Watts / Parzival, a Gunter and one of the “High Five”, who wishes to win the Quest so he can leave the stacks.

Olivia Cooke as Samantha Cook / Art3mis, Wade’s love interest and a famous Gunter and one of the “High Five”, who works with various allies to ensure the OASIS is kept free and out of the hands of IOI.

Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento, the CEO of Innovative Online Industries, who seeks full control over the OASIS.

Lena Waithe as Helen / Aech, a Gunter and one of the “High Five”, who is male in the OASIS and female in reality, and longtime friend of Wade’s. Aech runs a virtual garage in his free time to create and fix various vehicles and items.

T.J. Miller as i-R0k, a freelance weapons and magic item dealer and bounty hunter, who is often employed by IOI.

Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow / The Curator, a co-creator of the OASIS, who eventually left the company due to personal reasons. He harbors a concern about how much people have grown to have an unhealthy dependency on the game.

Mark Rylance as James Halliday / Anorak, the deceased co-creator of the OASIS, who includes an Easter Egg hidden in the OASIS after his passing that grants control over the OASIS to its winner.

Philip Zhao as Zhou / Sho, a Gunter and one of the “High Five”, an 11-year-old in reality.

Win Morisaki as Toshiro / Daito, a Gunter and one of the “High Five”.

Hannah John-Kamen as F’Nale Zandor, the head of IOI’s operations in the physical world, as well as their indentured servitude programs.

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Standout Quotes and Scenes

Wade Watts: [in the background] I was born in 2025, but I wish I’d grown up in the 1980’s, like all my heroes. I live here in Columbus, Ohio. In 2045 it’s still ranked the fastest growing city on earth, but it sure doesn’t seem like it when you live in the stacks. They called our generation The Missing Millions. Missing not because we went anywhere, there’s nowhere left to go. Nowhere, except The Oasis. It’s the only place that feels like I mean anything. A world where the limits of reality are your own imagination.

As Wade continues in his introduction, he sets the tone for the journey he is on, the life he is living and his challenges. The viewer can only imagine of what is about to happen or what will happen.

Wade Watts: [in the background] This is the Oasis. It’s a place where the limits of reality are your own imagination. People come to the Oasis for all the things they can do, but they stay because of all the things they can be.

Wade alludes to the fact that the creation of the virtual world will unlock possibilities unknown to man in his current reality. Further creating a narrative for the production and advancement of such – after all, we are headed for the year 2045.

James Halliday: Hello, if you’re watching this, I’m dead. I created a hidden object, an Easter egg. The first person to find the egg will inherit half a trillion dollars and total control of The Oasis itself.

What is your purpose? Which Easter egg are you chasing in your life a how much is it worth? Would you risk it all for the promise of such?

Conclusion

Drawing from these scenes, and so many more, is the inspiration of the endless possibility of self-discovery. Wade’s continued search for a simpler time (as he states that he wishes he was born in the 80’s), plays on the fact that sometimes we’re rushing what we can’t contain or what we can’t keep up with – losing our essence in the process. Now, this movie has so many features, from the graphics and the high-definition, but it speaks to so much more within us – it inspires us to keep searching for what gives us life. Not many of us are alive, but we’re all living… to some degree. Ready Player One is a movie that implores the younger audience to keep searching, but begs the older generation to help them keep the true essence of life in each and every step they take – for no virtual reality can make you escape your true reality and what being human promises.

This movie is recommended for anyone with any slight level of imagination. The scenes and story-line inspires great thought and admiration for the boundaries that it pushes. When Steven Spielberg created this movie, by his own admission, it needed him to be a fan over and above the role of director. Whether he passes or fails in this quest, Ready Player One will definitely shape the way we see virtual reality from now on. In theatres from 28 March 2018.

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