A few decades from now, life, for much of the population, has become so awful that they “live” in the virtual reality world of The Oasis.
We learn all this from a teenaged boy, Wade (Tye Sheridan). He much prefers to be Parzival, his virtual reality avatar. As Parzival he has friends and adventures. Most important, he has a goal.
When the creator of Oasis was dying, he announced that he was leaving clues to an incredible treasure. The one who solves all the clues will become unbelievably wealthy as well as in control of Oasis.
No one has solved even the first of the clues. Parzival starts thinking and concludes the answer lies in thinking outside the box. He makes a daring attempt and solves the first clue! Now his friends follow his lead and it looks like they will win. But now the real world bad guys, Online Industries led by Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn)go on the attack, first with bribes and then literally. Battles are fought in and out of virtual reality.
Ward is running for his life and is falling in love. His closest friend warns him that the slim, beautiful girl is only an avatar. She could be anything in real life, even a man.
The story gets more and more complicated. He learns about Halliday (Mark Rylance) who founded Oasis and why.
I can’t say anymore with spoilers. I will add that I was never into games or virtual reality. I understand that those who are enjoy all the references, especially the nostalgic look back at the early video games. I still enjoyed the movie. It’s fast moving with characters you care about and, for someone like me, it’s a glimpse into another world.
Reviewed by Marian Powell