Ready Player One…On Weed

Ready Player One

Let’s face it, it is a tough world out there and we could use an escape every now and again. Even in legalized states like Oregon and Washington, the cannabis community still has to face stigmatization, unnecessary regulations, and the threats that come from the Donald Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Thus, one of my tasks at Weed News will be to review some movies that provide us a short respite from the daily grind. My first blog review: Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, that I watched…on weed. (Yes, I’m stealing from Jon Stewart’s character in Half Baked, but I get a kick every time I think of him.)

The Cannabis

With a sci-fi epic on hand, with an assigned seat at Cinetopia, and a designated driver, I chose to utilize my electric dab rig to vaporize some CO2 crumble from Natural Roots, followed by some Gold Moon Grandaddy Purp shatter. Natural Roots’ CO2 crumble, testing at 68% THC, is clean and smooth and it produces a very energetic high for me. Gold Moon’s Grandaddy Purp shatter is terpene infused and tests out at 78.7% THC. I followed up the dabs with a few tokes of Natural Roots’ Blue City Diesel CO2 cartridge, which has a tasty, clean high that helped put me at a great high to see a sci-fi epic on the big screen.

The Movie

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

I didn’t read the book, so I have no source material to compare the movie to. Up front, I tend to like action-packed movies and comedies that have a happy ending. I don’t like horror movies and usually don’t like to see suffering on TV and movies (I’m a fan of the Walking Dead, however, so go figure).

Ready Player One starts by effectively describing the world in 2045. We quickly learn through our protagonist, Wade Watts, that most of the world’s population lives in a bleak world filled with wars, energy shortages, and environmental disasters. Wade has been orphaned and lives in the “stacks,” a shanty-town comprised of trailers stacked on top of each other, with his aunt and her abusive boyfriend. Wade, like most of the world, escapes reality by playing in the virtual world of the OASIS, where people can be whoever they want to be and do about anything that they want, from using your avatar to fight other players or climb Mount Everest…with Batman.

We quickly learn that James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS and one of the world’s richest people, had just passed away, leaving his fortune, and control of the OASIS, to whoever could find three keys hidden in his online creation. Immediately, many people start participating in the competition, but eventually, people start dropping out as the game seems too difficult. Those looking for the keys are called Egg Hunters, or Gunters for short, and Wade is the first person to successfully find the key.

The first key was found by winning a car race; the second by navigating the Overlook Hotel from The Shining to ask Kira, Halliday’s (unrequited) love of his life, to dance; while the third key was won by finding the very first “Easter Egg” in video game history by revealing the creator of the Atari game Adventure. After getting the third key, there is one more test as Wade reveals his selflessness and the love of his friends, who become known as the High Five.

Along the way, we meet Wade’s online friends in both the virtual world and then in real life. We meet Aech, who happens to be a man in the OASIS, but a woman in reality; Art3mis, who becomes Wade’s love interest, Daito, a formidable online warrior; and Sho, who turns out to be an eleven-year-old. Art3mis, aka Samantha, is the leader of a resistance fighting against IOI, a corporate overlord that buys up people’s debts to put them in a futuristic debtors’ prison. IOI, the 2nd-largest company in the world, has the resources to hire an army of OASIS players and to outfit them with the best. Art3mis, and her band of rebels, work to ensure that IOI doesn’t take control of the OASIS. Wade joins the ragtag group of rebels after IOI learns of his real identity and blows up his Aunt’s trailer, along with the other trailers in her stack.

In my opinion, the movie delivers on all fronts and I give it an A+. The graphics are fantastic and the references to the 1980s and other pop culture references were very entertaining. The action keeps moving, never leaving you bored, even though the movie has a runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes. The love story is sweet, the stakes keep increasing over the course of the move, the main antagonist, Sorento, the CEO of IOI, is a great villain and TJ Miller provides some great laughs as Sorento’s online sidekick.

The movie is PG-13, so it is pretty kid-friendly. There are some tense moments and serious topics, however. Spielberg definitely loves video games, but he provides a couple of warnings about getting too engrossed as he shows a man attempt to commit suicide because he lost all of his virtual money and includes a message about the need to unplug from the virtual world at least a couple of times a week. The danger of corporate power is certainly examined, contrasted against the value of individuals and having true friends that have your back.

That’s my take. Check out our Let’s Hash It Out review and let us know what you think about the movie.

Sarah Duff
About Sarah Duff 4 Articles
Sarah has been a cannabis activist since the beginning of this century. Sarah co-founded Duff Johnson Consulting with her husband Anthony Johnson to help network medical cannabis patients and growers. The business has since grown to include consulting with recreational and ancillary businesses as well, to include licensing, compliance, and public relations. Sarah is a policy advisor to New Approach Oregon and serves on the board of Oregon NORML and Compassionate Oregon. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Sarah petitioned and campaigned to pass a local decriminalization measure in Columbia, MO, back in 2003. In Oregon, Sarah has assisted two statewide campaigns, including gathering the very first signatures that led to the Measure 91 legalization victory.