Ready Player One UHD Review

A Geek Paradise 5 Stars

Based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 best-selling novel, Ready Player One could be considered a futuristic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory substituting 1980s pop culture icons for candy bars. It also marks director Steven Spielberg’s return to blockbuster popcorn movies after a bit of a dry spell.

Ready Player One (2018)
Released: 29 Mar 2018
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 140 min
Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe
Writer(s): Zak Penn (screenplay by), Ernest Cline (screenplay by), Ernest Cline (based on the novel by)
Plot: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.
IMDB rating: 7.7
MetaScore: 64

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 Hr. 20 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy, UltraViolet
Case Type: 2-disc UHD eco keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 07/24/2018
MSRP: $44.95

The Production: 4.5/5

In 2045 Columbus, Ohio, much of society finds the virtual world of the OASIS, developed by computer whiz and owner of Greagarious Games James Halliday (Mark Rylance), much more enjoyable than the poverty-stricken world they actually live in. When Halliday dies alone, he releases a video will stating that he has hidden three keys within his virtual world that will unlock an “easter egg,” and the first person to discover the egg will inherit his fortune and the OASIS, worth an estimated half trillion dollars. Of course, the public begins searching for clues that will lead them to that first key (referred to as “gunters,” short for egg hunters), but so does Greagarious’ rival corporation Innovative Online Industries (IOI), led by former Halliday intern Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn). Sorrento wants the egg so badly that he not only has formed a group of anonymous soldiers (known as “sixers” because their employee numbers all begin with the number 6) who are paid quite handsomely to find the keys and the egg, but IOI is also using the poverty-stricken to pay off their debts in internment camps the company calls “loyalty centers.”

When Wade Watts aka Parzival in the OASIS (Tye Sheridan), a young man living with his Aunt and loser of the month boyfriend in the slums of Columbus called “The Stacks” (quite literally, trailer homes stacked one atop of another), finds the first key by completing an impossible race through the streets of New York, he meets Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), a beautiful young woman with lots of spunk and hatred for IOI and its army of sixers, who quickly follows in finding the first key. The two team up with Parzival’s online friends – behemoth and tech-wizard Aech (Lena Waithe), samurai warriors Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao) – to find the remaining keys. Furious that IOI is far behind in the hunt, Sorrento has enlisted the aid of I-R0k (T.J. Miller) to find Parzival’s true identity and wipe him out of existence on the OASIS.

After the box office disappointments of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Adventures of Tintin, and The BFG, director Steven Spielberg came back to hit a home run at the international and domestic box office with Ready Player One, fusing a dazzling virtual world created using performance capture technology (which Spielberg first used on Tintin) and a drab pre-apocalyptic real world rather seamlessly. His mostly young cast help sell the fairly simple story, with some help from Simon Pegg as Halliday’s only true friend, Ogden Morrow, a kind of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the futuristic virtual world. Alan Silvestri’s score is reminiscent of his own scores for 1980s films Back to the Future, Predator, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, to name a few, which fits in perfectly with the infusion of 1980s and 1990s pop culture and video game references throughout the movie. And it is those references that make Ready Player One a real treat on repeat viewings, as there are an unknown number of “easter eggs” hidden by the production design and visual effects teams.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Ready Player One had its real world shot on 35mm film and the virtual world of the OASIS rendered at 2.8k resolution, with the final film completed as a 2K digital intermediate with Dolby Vision high dynamic range grading. Warner’s 2160p upscale retains the film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1, plus adds both HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range, and the image is dazzling. When compared to already excellent (and included) Blu-ray edition, the colors in the virtual OASIS world are much more vibrant and bold, with more even gradients, and no instances of blooming. The real world, while often drab, is slightly less monochromatic as seen on the Blu-ray, appearing more naturally desaturated. Contrast, particularly with black levels, is where the UHD disc truly excels, revealing more shadow details (and, hence, more easter eggs) than its Blu-ray counterpart.

Audio: 5/5

I still do not understand why Warner continues to author their 4K UHD discs to default to the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track rather than the Dolby Atmos track (and, for that matter, why are Blu-ray’s the opposite). The DTS-HD MA track is very good, but the Atmos track quite literally blows that out of the water. As expected, LFE is much more pronounced and tighter, but without sounding overly boomy. Heights are used to great effect to include the sounds of IOI’s drones buzzing overhead almost constantly in the exteriors of the real world, as well as extending the “headroom” as it were for scenes inside the OASIS. Sound effects are placed more precisely within the viewing/listening area, with dialogue always coming across clear and understandable.

Special Features: 4.5/5

As usual, all of the special features can be found on the included Blu-ray edition of the film.

The ‘80s: You’re the Inspiration (1080p; 5:38): The book’s author along with select members of the cast and crew discuss the 1980s nostalgia factor.

Game Changer: Cracking the Code (1080p; 57:22): A very in-depth look at the making of the film. A bit of a warning, though, there are quite a few spoilers in this documentary.

Effects of a Brave New World (1080p; 24:39): A closer look at the visual effects created for the film.

Level Up: Soud for the Future (1080p; 8:03): Supervising sound designer Gary Rydstrom and sound designer Kyrsten Mate discuss the challenges of creating the complex sound of the film.

High Score: Endgame (1080p; 10:04): A visit to the recording stage as Alan Silvestri conducts the score for the film.

Ernie and Tye’s Excellent Adventure (1080p; 12:00): Author and co-screenwriter Ernest Cline and star Tye Sheridan discuss making the film just prior to its premiere at the SXSW festival.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy of the film on Movies Anywhere. I redeemed my code on Vudu, and received the film in UHD on Vudu, FandangoNow, and Google Play Movies, HD on Amazon Prime Video. Redemption will also most likely get you the movie in UHD on iTunes, as well. The code also provided access to the digital exclusive bonus feature Ready Player One: From Concept to Screen on Vudu plus Trivia and Production slide shows on the Movies Anywhere app and website.

Overall: 5/5

I loved every minute of Ready Player One, and in the three viewings so far have found more easter eggs each and every time. Video and audio are excellent, as are the special features. Recommended.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

23 Comments

  1. Nice review Todd

    However Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was certainly NOT a box office disappointment.

    In 2018 dollars it would have grossed close to a Billion dollars worldwide.

    Ready Player One has made a bit more than half that amount at $582 million worldwide.

  2. I rented 'Ready Player One' in 4K Dolby Vision via iTunes today. It was my first time to see the film. I loved it. And the imagery and sound are spectacular. If there was ever a film that benefits from HDR, this is one of them.

    I will definitely be adding this to my collection when the 4K Blu-ray drops in price. No way I'm paying $29.99 for a single film, 4K or not.

    Mark

  3. Mark Booth

    I rented 'Ready Player One' in 4K Dolby Vision via iTunes today. It was my first time to see the film. I loved it. And the imagery and sound are spectacular. If there was ever a film that benefits from HDR, this is one of them.

    I will definitely be adding this to my collection when the 4K Blu-ray drops in price. No way I'm paying $29.99 for a single film, 4K or not.

    Mark

    it’s even more impressive in 3D.

  4. Tino

    it’s even more impressive in 3D.

    As I watched it, I could tell that a great number of effects were created with 3D in mind. I kept thinking how distracting they would be with a pair of goofy glasses on my face and an image that would shift or move unnaturally when I moved my head. Not to mention the headache I'd have afterward.

    Enjoy your 3D while you can, Tino, it's gonna be completely gone (on new releases) before you know it.

    Mark

  5. No 3d- no buy- YET.
    I will simply wait for the import. No need for fake popping HOT unfilmlike colours for my viewing.

    Mark- I hate to tell you as you appear to have a disdain for 3D BUT the new Jurassic World has been announced as a future 3D blu ray release.

  6. noel aguirre

    No 3d- no buy- YET.
    I will simply wait for the import. No need for fake popping HOT unfilmlike colours for my viewing.

    Mark- I hate to tell you as you appear to have a disdain for 3D BUT the new Jurassic World has been announced as a future 3D blu ray release.

    Why wait for an import?? It’s available now domestically.

  7. Received my 3D copy from Best Buy. Hoping to watch it this weekend when the weather cools down.

    My expectations are lowered a bit, as I read and enjoyed the book in March and am aware of quite a number of changes that have been made. Not sure how I'll perceive that. Though I am far enough removed now that I don't recall specific details of the book.

  8. Tino

    Why wait for an import?? It’s available now domestically.

    noel aguirre

    Thanks for that Tino- I just picked up a copy on eBay and I am really looking forward to watching a 3D movie properly shown in 3D.

    How much was it on eBay? It’s available for as little as $24.99 at B&N.

  9. Tino

    Why wait for an import?? It’s available now domestically.

    noel aguirre

    Thanks for that Tino- I just picked up a copy on eBay and I am really looking forward to watching a 3D movie properly shown in 3D.

    How much was it on eBay? It’s available for as little as $24.99 at B&N.

  10. Mark Booth

    Enjoy your 3D while you can, Tino, it's gonna be completely gone (on new releases) before you know it.

    3D is still popular overseas so it’s not completely dead yet.

  11. I screened the regular BR yesterday afternoon, in a 5.1.4 Atmos set-up. I quite agree with the rating of 5 for the audio, but I did note a couple things that seemed unusual to me.

    First, the dialog clarity was outstanding…better than pretty much any modern film that comes to mind. I find that many newer films do a very poor job with dialog clarity and intelligability (I am looking at you, Christopher Nolan!), but for whatever reason, the dialog clarity in RPO was exemplary.

    That said, it seemed that of some of the music tracks were very low in the mix. When the film begins with Van Halen's "Jump", it did not seem as loud as I would have expected, leading me to turn up the volume. But once the dialog and action started, it was clear that the music was just mixed a bit lower than I might have expected. This was particularly true during the siege of the dome toward the end with Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It".

    Anyway, just some personal observations.

  12. Brian L

    I screened the regular BR yesterday afternoon, in a 5.1.4 Atmos set-up. I quite agree with the rating of 5 for the audio, but I did note a couple things that seemed unusual to me.

    First, the dialog clarity was outstanding…better than pretty much any modern film that comes to mind. I find that many newer films do a very poor job with dialog clarity and intelligability (I am looking at you, Christopher Nolan!), but for whatever reason, the dialog clarity in RPO was exemplary.

    That said, it seemed that of some of the music tracks were very low in the mix. When the film begins with Van Halen's "Jump", it did not seem as loud as I would have expected, leading me to turn up the volume. But once the dialog and action started, it was clear that the music was just mixed a bit lower than I might have expected. This was particularly true during the siege of the dome toward the end with Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It".

    Anyway, just some personal observations.

    I should have noted in my review that I screened the film in both a 7.1 and a 5.1.2 (Atmos) configuration. Anyway, here is my theory on why the 80s pop songs were somewhat subdued and front heavy – when I've played games that allowed me to play music from my own playlist of songs on my PS3, even if the game was "mixed" in 5.1, in most instances the personalized music still only played in stereo out for the front left and right speakers. If you listen closely to RP1's use of pop music and how it was mixed, it is steered more to the front left and right speakers, with some bleed to the center, surrounds, and heights, so I think both Spielberg's and Rydstrom's intention was to simulate how those songs would sound if chosen by a player during a video game.

  13. Todd Erwin

    I should have noted in my review that I screened the film in both a 7.1 and a 5.1.2 (Atmos) configuration. Anyway, here is my theory on why the 80s pop songs were somewhat subdued and front heavy – when I've played games that allowed me to play music from my own playlist of songs on my PS3, even if the game was "mixed" in 5.1, in most instances the personalized music still only played in stereo out for the front left and right speakers. If you listen closely to RP1's use of pop music and how it was mixed, it is steered more to the front left and right speakers, with some bleed to the center, surrounds, and heights, so I think both Spielberg's and Rydstrom's intention was to simulate how those songs would sound if chosen by a player during a video game.

    Excellent reply. I assumed it was intentional, but not being gamer, I did not really have any idea why.

  14. RATS…. Best Buy had a pricing error on its site for about 30 minutes this morning. 'Ready Player One' 4K was priced at $9.99. The item was taken down about 30 minutes after the word got out but Best Buy is honoring the price for those that submitted orders for in-store pickup (and perhaps for delivery too). I missed it by about 15 minutes (read a topic on another forum 20 minutes too late).

    Rats! 🙂

    Mark

  15. Mark Booth

    RATS…. Best Buy had a pricing error on its site for about 30 minutes this morning. 'Ready Player One' 4K was priced at $9.99. The item was taken down about 30 minutes after the word got out but Best Buy is honoring the price for those that submitted orders for in-store pickup (and perhaps for delivery too). I missed it by about 15 minutes (read a topic on another forum 20 minutes too late).

    Rats! 🙂

    Mark

    They did — 9.99 or 14.99 for the Steelbook. For those that had prior orders BBY is also honoring PostPurchase price guarantee if you can find a screen grab of the price. They've gotten enough calls that you would think after a bit it would be easier just to correct the price if they're going to honor it for some.

    I did get my pick up in store order in and notice that it was ready. Hopefully I can grab it tomorrow.
    This should pair nicely with the BN 3D that shipped for a lot of people this afternoon. It's not a single package, but it's a 4 version combo pack done the old fashioned way with an extra 2D and Digital copy to do something with. I tend not to strip and sell the parts of my stuff, but I know folks that do.

  16. The folks that snagged the $9.99 deal for resale are already all over eBay. The lowest price I could find for a sealed copy with slip was $21.00 including free shipping. $21 without tax is about $19.40 plus sales tax (around here). That's cheap enough for me (since I missed out on the $9.99 deal). Purchase made. Expected to arrive early next week.

    My seller only had 4 copies and I think they are all gone already. Others are priced from $22 and up.

    Mark

  17. Mark Booth said: ‘No way I’m paying $29.99 for a single film, 4K or not.’

    Here in the UK all Marvel/Disney new releases (including this one) are stuck at $32.40!! (How to price a new format out of the market…)
    I’ll be waiting to see if there’s a multi-buy deal on this in 6+ months time…. (Amazon pre-orders for ‘Solo’ are $35!!)

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