SPOILER WARNING: this spoils some of the best parts of Ready Player One, so come back after you've seen the movie.
Last weekend, Ready Player One finally arrived in theaters and while it didn't feel like it had a lot of buzz around it, people were nonetheless interested in the movie to see the huge amounts pop culture references that are literally walking around in any given scene. You could see a Ninja Turtle, Ryu from Street Fighter, and Hello Kitty all within the same breath and the movie has tons of fun showing these characters off. Leave it to Steven Spielberg to find the most fun way possible to show off these references without beating you over the head with it (for the most part).
Ready Player One largely takes place within the virtual reality world of the OASIS, where a player can essentially do anything. Making the audience feel like anything can happen, too, might be the movie's biggest accomplishments. This video game world combined with the near unlimited use of pop culture icons means that a good amount of cool stuff happens in this movie and these are just five of what we think are the coolest in no particular order.
The Big Race
The driving plot (pun mostly not intended) of Ready Player One is that just about every player in the game is searching for an Easter Egg left behind by the deceased creator of the OASIS, which would give the payer who finds it full legal control of the virtual world. Players must find three keys, each one earned by winning a challenge hidden inside the game. The first is a race throughout a changing cityscape and it's insane. It's almost every famous vehicle in pop culture destroying each other in the sickest race of Mario Kart ever. On top of all of that, cars are chased by a T-Rex and King Kong. There's so much going on that it's hard to keep track of, but it's definitely an exciting way to start things off.
The Iron Giant Enters The Fight
The Iron Giant has been pretty heavily featured in the marketing campaign for the movie, and the big guy does not disappoint in the least. He doesn't get in on the action until the climactic battle at the end when an army of players battle against the villainous corporation IOI for control of the final key. The Iron Giant is a big gun on the side of the good guys and he has no trouble dispatching evil players with his eye beams and laser cannon. It's true that The Iron Giant is entirely about pacifism and avoiding the use of weapons, but this A) is a video game world, B) not the actual Iron Giant, and C) it's really cool. The Iron Giant also gets to take part in a really cool fight that we'll get into later.
Art3mis Behind Enemy Lines
Toward the back half of the film, Samantha -- who goes by her avatar Art3mis in the game world -- is taken hostage by IOI and forced to work in one of their vaguely defined loyalty centers. Luckily for Art3mis, this places her in a key position right inside the enemy headquarters during the most crucial moment of the final challenge. With the help of her friends, Art3mis is able to escape her cell/workstation, but she decides to stay and masquerade as an enemy soldier inside the OASIS. While in the game, she manages to single-handedly take out an impenetrable magic force field surrounding the enemy castle that was keeping out all the good players. She then proceeds to join the battle and kick lots of butt, but she does this while still inside IOI headquarters, meaning that she's in actual real-life danger.
Recreating The Shining
You need to know two things about the OASIS: anything is possible, and it was made by a total dweeb. This means that the second key is hidden inside of a level that perfectly recreates the classic horror movie The Shining all the way down to the creepy twin girls. This whole sequence is an absolute blast. One of the main characters, Aech (Lena Waithe), hates scary movies and has never seen The Shining, which means that she falls into some seriously deadly traps from the movie, like the river of blood and the creepy, naked bathroom lady. Don't worry, the dog-faced guy doesn't show up. The only thing that would have made it better is if they were actually allowed to use Jack Nicholson's likeness to recreate "Here's Johnny!"but it's still an insanely fun scene.
Gundam Vs Mechagodzilla
The entire final action set piece is full of moments that would make decent additions to this list, but none of them are quite as memorable as this. In a moment that truly captures the idea of taking two action figures and mashing them together, good guy Daito (Win Morisaki) transforms into a life-size Gundam and fights MechaGodzilla, who's piloted by the evil CEO, Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn). For fans of either of these properties, this is a massive treat, and even people who aren't as familiar can likely find something to enjoy in a Japanese anime robot with a laser sword battling a mechanical dinosaur. These only get ramped up even further when the Iron Giant steps in to help finish things off with style.
Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.
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