The Art of Ready Player One by Gina McIntyre
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
In arguably Director Steven Spielberg’s most visually dazzling and technologically challenging film to date, Ready Player One invites viewers to a cautionary tale where reality and the limitless possibilities of its virtual counterpart blur beyond belief. Embracing a pop culture obsessed way of life, Ernest Cline’s fanboy-loving novel of which the film is based on could only be realized on the big-screen by one of its crowning inspirers. Without the requirement of VR goggles, Gina McIntyre’s The Art of Ready Player One sends readers on an in-depth journey through the film’s distinctly unique realization with insight from the many makers and creative heads who helped bring this once-thought unfilmable premise into our world. Set in Columbus, Ohio of 2045, Spielberg’s 3D feature follows Wade Watts’ (Tye Sheridan, X-Men: Apocalypse) struggles, along with his trusted core friends of competitors, to win the late James Halliday’s contest, granting the victor control of the virtual realm known as the Oasis and the latter’s lucrative company. While Wade expresses himself differently in the Oasis as the avatar known as Parzival, his real-world life is anything less than stellar. Residing in the poverty-stricken Stacks, McIntyre’s book showcases the production’s challenges in realizing the RV stacked mobile homes and their eventual explosive destruction.
Furthermore, the behind-the-scenes account showcases the film’s juxtaposition between its traditional set-built locations and the digital realm of the Oasis where the actors spent months on end performing on motion-capture stages in order for the digital wizards at Industrial Light and Magic to bring their avatars to life. Showcasing gorgeous pieces of concept art for the wide army of creatures seen in the film, otherworldly locations such as Planet Doom, the variety of familiar vehicles utilized and the futuristic costume designs donning our characters, The Art of Ready Player One is eye-candy galore. Taking a particularly hefty and appreciated look into the characters’ exploration of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and the film’s equally intense and action-packed racing sequence, McIntyre’s leap into Spielberg’s latest blockbuster easily stands as one of the best art-of books of the year for a film that will leave viewers scratching their heads and pondering “how did they do that?”.