Directed by Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One is a sci-fi action movie, based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Cline. Set in the year 2045, the movie follows the story of Wade Watts, a teenager who embarks on a quest involving a game, various pop culture iconography and a virtual reality world known as OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation).

Ready Player One arrives in UK and US cinemas on March 29th, but this weekend the movie received its world premiere courtesy of SXSW (South by Southwest Film Festival). The premiere has already resulted in various online reviews, which means today’s edition of The Great Stampede is dedicated to a review round-up for the forthcoming flick.

Below are six snippets, all taken from various reviews of Ready Player One. These snippets should give you an understanding of what is currently being said about the new movie.

  • Charlie Fink of Forbes gave Ready Player One the big thumbs up, calling it “an instant sci-fi masterpiece.” He said: “Ready Player One is a relentlessly entertaining movie. If you are a fan of the genre, get in line. Like all sci-fi fans, I look forward to seeing it, again and again, to earn its many Easter Eggs and ultimately own the OASIS myself.”
  • John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter was also a fan of Ready Player One, commenting: “A much-love fanboy novel gets the movie it deserves.”
  • Joi Childs of Slash Film awarded Ready Player One a score of 7/10 and said: “The stellar visuals carry this film beyond its simple script and its simple ideas, making it a fun adventure. It does not exist to stretch your mind (it does stretch your time, running a bit too long in the third act) but like the OASIS, it’s a wonderful piece of escapism. Sometimes, a vacation from anything meaningful does make for an interesting ride.”
  • Monica Castillo of The Guardian was not impressed with Ready Player One, awarding the movie two stars (out of five). She said the “flashy adaptation of the book is full of pop culture references and striking visuals but a thin plot and shallow characters.” She added: “Those who come away cheering for Ready Player One will likely have enjoyed the film’s many references, the story’s breakneck speed and playful visual design. Others may want to unplug from the paint-by-number characters and shallow plot. The film has much to say about our present-day fixation on nostalgia. So many characters pine to go back to their 80s future, but some of us want to see what’s next. There’s no leveling up or cheat codes that can help with that.”
  • Eric Kohn of IndieWire awarded Ready Player One a Grade B+ and said: “As it cycles through dozens of references to past achievements, “Ready Player One” amounts to a frenetic attempt at remaking the past 30-odd years of popular culture by one of its greatest architects. Without seeing the movie, it’s hard to imagine anyone could turn it into a satisfying product; by the end, it’s clear that only Steven Spielberg can.”
  • And finally, David Crow of Den of Geek! awarded Ready Player One four stars (out of five) and said: “There is likely a more post-modernist take on this material out there in the multiverse, and certainly one that would be far more critical of a world stuck in the past, but most audiences will count themselves lucky to be living in the one where all of Ready Player One’s hermetically sealed nostalgia is inexplicably fresh and, most of all, fun.”

So, there you have it, mostly positive, although it would seem you’ll get more out of the movie if you understand the many, many pop culture references that appear throughout the story.

For more reviews of recent releases, check out past editions of The Great Stampede which have focused on Love, SimonA Wrinkle in TimeAnnihilationThe Shape of Water and Black Panther.