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Ready Player One | 2018 | PG-13 | - 3.5.5

Based on Ernest Cline's best-selling novel: Set in 2045, life is bleak and people escape by participating in an online virtual universe called the Oasis, where you can be anybody you want to be. When the creator of the Oasis dies he leaves behind a series of puzzles that will grant the person that solves them sole ownership. The competition gets heated and one young man (Tye Sheridan) fights against all odds to try to win the prize and save the Oasis from unscrupulous corporate interests. Also with Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance. Directed by Steven Spielberg. One line of dialogue is spoken in Japanese with English subtitles. [2:20]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A nude woman sits in a tub (we see her bare shoulders, upper chest and cleavage) as a VR character enters the room; the woman steps out of the tub and we see her bare back to the hips as she walks toward him and touches his chest and he leans toward her as if to kiss her (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A teen boy and a teen girl kiss twice and they lean back with him on top of her before they are interrupted. A teen girl sits on a teen boy's lap and they kiss and caress each other (she is wearing a top that is low-cut and reveals her shoulders and bare back). Two teen avatars and many others dance in a club and they embrace and dip; the girl asks the boy about the sensitivity of his suit and we see glowing handprints appear on his arm as she caresses him, and then on his chest and crotch and he flinches. A teen boy touches a teen girl's face tenderly.
 Many scenes show people using VR goggles and acting out whatever they are doing in the gameplay, including one woman who dances around a pole and runs her hands down her body suggestively. We see scenes from different VR worlds and as we glide through the areas we see a flashing exotic dance sign and a young man's voice says, "You can go in there," with a sexual implication. A male VR avatar grabs a female avatar by the hand and pulls her off her motorcycle; they fall to the ground and the girl is shown lying on top of the boy.
 A character makes a comment about "Hos on Santa." A teen boy talks about an avatar and refers to her as "hot." Two men talk about one of them going on a date with a woman. An avatar tells another avatar that he has a "cyber-crush" and that a female avatar is "hacking his heart to get to his brain," and that "She could be a dude." A teen avatar tells another teen avatar that he is in love with her.
 A teen girl's avatar wears a low-cut evening gown that reveals cleavage, part of her abdomen, bare legs to the thigh (through a slit) and bare back to the hip. A teen girl's avatar wears a tight-fitting outfit with sheer side-pieces that accentuate her curves and reveal her sides and back. An avatar of a cat person wears an outfit that reveals fur-covered cleavage. A teen girl wears short shorts with stockings. A teen girl wears a short top that reveals her bare abdomen. VR creatures are shown with bare buttocks.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - Drones plant explosives and when they ignite they blow up a stack of trailers with people inside (they collapse in flames and people on the ground run and scream (we see a teen boy with a charred face as he walks away from the scene). A man punches a teen boy in the face and he falls to the ground (no blood is shown). A man slams a teen boy against a wall and threatens him. A woman with a bloody cut on her cheek punches a man in the face (no wound is shown). A woman opens a van door and points a gun at a teen boy inside; she fights with a teen girl and a young boy hits her in the head with a gas tank before a teen girl kicks her out the back of the van that is now moving (we see the woman roll on the ground ). A teen boy is held from the back with a handkerchief over his nose and mouth until he passes out (we see him wake up with his hands tied and a man with a large knife cuts him loose). A teen girl held in a cell is zapped with an electric charge for a "work violation." A teen boy with a bat hits a drone several times until it shorts out in pieces on the ground. A man with blood on his face and nose holds a gun in the air when he is surrounded by many people.
 Many avatars fight with weapons, punching and kicking: a giant robot fights with an even bigger Godzilla and it is thrown to the ground before the Godzilla creature blows flames on its back (it glows red). Many armed avatar guards enter a club where many people are dancing and open fire: a teen avatar is struck in the side (we see a glowing spot on his suit) and they escape. Many armed guards break into a warehouse and threaten the occupants; a teen girl is taken away and placed in a cell where she is forced to do manual labor in a VR world. A teen boy avatar and a man avatar fight and we see glowing areas on their suits; the man is kicked in the crotch and we see his suit glow. A teen girl avatar kicks a teen boy avatar in the chest and he falls back (we see a glowing boot print on his chest). We see scenes from "The Shining" play out with avatar characters in the action: one character meets twin girls in a hallway and then a wall of blood flows from elevators and throws him through hallways and another scene shows a decayed nude woman (no detail is clear because of the decayed flesh but we see some bones) attacking him with a large knife and then an ax as he is chased through a labyrinth (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). Many avatars rush toward a force field yelling and launching weapons. A "Chuckie" doll holding a large butcher knife jumps into a scene and attacks an avatar that throws him into another avatar (we hear him cackling maniacally). We see many people wearing VR goggles making fighting gestures on sidewalks. An avatar throws an explosive into the control room of a giant Godzilla avatar and it explodes (we see a man/avatar inside as his face expands and explodes). A giant robot falls across a chasm to form a bridge for avatars to cross until another avatar shoots its hands off and it falls into a flowing river of lava below (we see its face as it sinks into the lava). An avatar takes aim at another avatar until a thrown bladed weapon cuts his arm off. A teen avatar shoots another teen avatar at close range. Cars slam into a van from either side and throw the people in the van around.
 A woman yells at a man and a teen boy. We hear that a teen boy's mother and father died when he was young and that he lives with his aunt. A teen girl avatar yells at a teen boy avatar and tells him about how her father died.
 Many cars, trucks and motorcycles speed along a bridge in a VR level and we see obstacles pop up out of the roadway as vehicles spin out and crash; one truck sprouts spinning blades and cuts up other vehicles while a speeding train derails in their path, a timber truck jackknifes and wrecking balls swing across roadway causing more crashes until an enormous ape lunges toward cars and snatches a motorcycle out of the air and crushes it in its hand. A car speeds in reverse, falls down a ramp and speeds along a track until he crosses a finish line and an enormous ape roars at him from a distance. A giant robot stands up and breaks through the roof of a warehouse.
 A large avatar grabs another avatar by the arm and leads him to a private room where the large avatar's abdomen moves before an "Alien"-like creature bursts through his flesh and toward the other avatar (we see blood and tissue); it was someone wearing a costume and the alien was a hand puppet. We see a dark VR world where a man meets another man and they discuss strategies to win a competition; one man is shown wearing a chest plate that looks like a skull with empty eye and mouth holes. An avatar holds another avatar with its octopus tentacle. A centipede-looking creature skitters across the ground of a VR world and appears to attack a character. A female avatar dances with several zombies and one man's eyeball pops out of its socket, she pulls his arm and it detaches from his body with a crunch, a woman nearby bends backward unnaturally and we hear a crunch. When people wearing VR goggles die in the game they are playing, their suits glow red and they fall to their knee before going to re-spawn. People are shown playing video games and when they lose they crash through ice beneath their feet.
 A woman plays a VR game and climbs on a couch as a frying pan in the real world background is shown in flames and she is zapped in the game (we see her chest plate glow red and she falls back off the couch (we do not see injuries). A man apparently loses in a VR game and jumps on his desk in a crowded office (in the real world), and then runs toward the window as if to jump but he is held back by others. A young girl loses a VR game and screams angrily -- in the real world. A teen girl is shown with a birthmark on her face and she is sensitive about its appearance.
 A "loyalty center" contains many cubicles where people are confined and forced to work in a VR world to pay off debt. We see many trailers stacked on top of each other with scaffolding connecting them and people that live here call it "The Stacks."
 Several VR sequences show fighting between armed characters and we see many being blown up or struck with some gore visible. Many scenes show people using VR goggles and acting out whatever they are doing in the gameplay from fighting to shooting to playing tennis. Many avatars crowd around another avatar in a few scenes after he successfully completed a level of a competition. A giant blast from an orb creates a force field around a large area.
 A character says, "Reality is a bummer." A reference is made to "war for control of the future." An avatar says, "I'm soiling my (inaudible) right now." A man talks about something that a VR system can do "before inducing seizures." A character jokes about someone having urinated on himself.


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LANGUAGE 5 - At least 1 F-word, 1 obscene hand gesture, 14 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, name-calling (sad, [anatomical term deleted]-weed, shoulder blades, McFly, idiot, dreamer, fan boy, hater, maniacal, overlord, ghetto trash, naked zombie lady, stupid), exclamations (shut-up), 2 religious profanities (GD), 4 religious exclamations (G-O-D, He's like a god, Oh My God, Holy Hand Grenade).


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SUBSTANCE USE - We see assorted beer bottles and partially filled glasses of champagne on tables, apparently after a celebration.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Virtual reality, reality, the future, greed, competition, pop culture, hate, Easter eggs, escaping ones past, love, broken hearts, death of parents, death of a loved one, Rosebud, connecting people, trust, love, collection agencies, sacrifice.

MESSAGE - It's not about winning; it's about playing.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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