Sean Jordan: Mind blown — Spielberg does it again | TheUnion.com

Sean Jordan: Mind blown — Spielberg does it again

In the beginning of February I wrote about the book, "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline.

The story has quickly become one of my favorites and I have been impatiently waiting for the film to finally arrive on the big screen.

Well, that day has come and I had the chance to see the film.

I was as giddy as a school boy when the trailers stopped and the film began. The opening scene was a visual feast and explains to the audience — by highlighting the various aspects of the virtual world called, the Oasis — everything the Oasis can do and how it came to be.

(For a detailed explanation of the Oasis and the "Ready Player One" book read my previous column.)

Director Steven Spielberg takes you on journey through a virtual wonderland, where you can be anyone and do anything. He does an amazing job showcasing the various worlds that it made me wonder how close we are from this type of technology — and when can I get my own Oasis gear.

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Spielberg blends jumping from the virtual world to the real one seamlessly and I found myself often forgetting the characters on the screen were digital.

Tye Sheridan plays the hero Wade Watts, or Parzival, as he is known by his avatar name in the Oasis, and does a nice job capturing the obsessive yet passionate protagonist.

The rest of the cast members are all well suited for their roles, and to their credit they all played their characters well, but there was one man who really grabbed my attention.

For me, the real star of the film is Mark Rylance, who plays James Halliday, the socially awkward nerd genius who invented the Oasis.

Rylance really steals the show with his performance of Halliday. There is something about him I can't quite put my finger on, but it's like he personifies all the great tech giant minds into one character. He has this look about him like he's one thought away from the biggest discovery man has ever made, but he can't tell you.

Every scene Rylance was in was important, so maybe that explains it, but he really brought a tenderness and light-hearted humor to the character.

I'm trying to stay away from plot points here as there are some differences between the book and the film, but the message and the characters are all the same. As a big fan of the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the creative choices Spielberg made to tell the story the way he imagined it.

One of the important, overarching plot points of the film is that virtual reality can be great to escape from the real world, but there are some things in life that the virtual world can't compete with. Things like love, physical intimacy with another person, the great outdoors and other things we can take for granted.

To quote Halliday from the film, "The Oasis has everything … except a great place to get a meal."

I came into this movie with high expectations and I wasn't disappointed. The film hits where it's supposed to and throws a few surprises at you along the way.

Whether you're a fan of Spielberg, video games, pop culture, dystopian futures or technology there is something for everyone to enjoy.

"Ready Player One" is now showing locally at the Del Oro Theatre in Grass Valley.

Contact Prospector Editor Sean Jordan at 530-477-4219 or sjordan@theunion.com.

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