doppelgangerdev’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've very much grown out of the 80s nostalgia kick. Long before 'Stranger Things' showed up and everyone went nuts like it was the answer to something missing. In fact that same year Jeff Nichols released 'Midnight Special' a film that was inspired by some of the same things, yet understood not to make a 'turduckin' of it all as a final product.
'Ready Player One' could've gone the S.T. route and I think in another filmmakers hands that would've been the default. However, Spielberg, being Spielberg respectfully uses the characters and images of countless films, shows, cartoons and videos games (he pretty much scrubbed the whole thing of references to his work) to actually achieve something that feels... dare I say it... fun.
The real world stuff works reasonably, though I would've liked a bit more of it aside from the final act where it's more action related and inner cut with what's going on in the Oasis. The characters play off each other surprisingly well in the Oasis itself, but are just okay in the real world (perhaps by design?).
While I don't think any of it is mindblowing-- it is very entertaining without feeling pandering. Well structured and paced. But my biggest take away was the amount of respect given to gamers, designers and the range of people who love that world. I despise 'geek culture' by way of things like 'The Big Bang Theory'; and gladly none of that cheapness was applied to these characters.