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.


The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5)

Film:
Extras:
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
(Max score: 100)

93
Details:

Studio and Year: Warner - 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 140 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Written by: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline - based on the novel by Ernest Cline
Region Code: A

Release Date: July 24, 2018


"Reality is the Only Thing That’s Real"
My Take:

In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spend their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—known as the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.

I came of age during the late 1970s and 1980s and really enjoy films that provide the type of nostalgia that harkens back to those times. Ready Player One beats to a pop culture drum that resonates with folks from several generations and is set to a narrative of sci-fi adventure that favors more of a style over substance approach. In the hands of director Steven Spielberg that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The plot is simple, the characters aren’t particularly deep and the action is typical. What the makes the film fun is its imagination in stitching together a story the incorporates the depiction of fandom, with a heart. No, it’s not destined for greatness but, is assuredly going to have a definitive following, especially for those that really get what it was striving for.

The production elements are spot on, complimenting its context and tone. I enjoyed the cache of young talent chosen to play the team of principle characters. Ben Mendelsohn has come into his own when it comes to playing the villain and, you can never go wrong with allowing T.J. Miller to add his voice to any project. Ready Player One isn’t a four-star movie but, it comes awful close and made for an entertaining experience that I look forward to coming back to.

Replay Value: 4 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudity and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 98
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Ready Player One comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Ready Player One was derived from digital/film sources, rendered from a 2K DI, and up-converted to 4K.

Ready Player One is a sci-fi/fantasy/action-adventure film that features two worlds that blend of mix cinematic visuals, and this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. With a discernible increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the image appears sharper and vibrant when compared to the 1080p version. Primary colors are pleasingly rich while whites appear gradational and punchy. The spectrum of secondary colors literally pop off of the screen. The opening sequence which introduces The Oasis provides a glimpse of what is to come regarding what the presentation’s wide color gamut has to offer. The combination of rich color, sepia, and gradational gray tones look absolutely stunning.

I also enjoyed the implementation of HDR. Primarily speaking this isn’t an overtly bright film. The added dimension in blacks, and shadows during the low-level scenes, such as those that take place in the Stacks, or in the Oasis on in areas like Planet Doom, the night club or in the realm containing the third key. The cinematography makes use of shadows, streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. It’s application here is used very well, drawing upon HDR’s ability to create stark contrast between the two. In the aforementioned sequences, the blend of shadow detail/depth of field offset by the presence of light at varying levels, looked very great, and when applied, brilliant light caused me to blink/squint in reaction to it.

The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close up camera angles that show off the superb rendering of detail. At times, the level of minutia is excellent, as even the finest nuance in the physical features, clothing and interior spaces is resolvable. The CGI featured in the film has superb depth which adds an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic to them. There is some innate softening due to the extensive CGI, but it’s rarely depreciating.

The difference between viewing Ready Player One in high definition and Ultra HD is fairly close, but there is no question that it benefitted from the increase in resolution, emboldened color and high dynamic range treatment. It looks terrific, plain and simple.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

In comparing the DV and HDR-10 renderings I ran the same scenes using my reference Oppo UHD player (both in DV and forced HDR-10 and Samsung UHD player (HDR-10 only). The title looked terrific on both formats with respect to the reproduction of HDR. I found that the DV presentation offered deeper delineation of color, and specular highlights, which were most noticeable in key sequences in the Oasis. I felt that the rendering of the finest details in shadows was a toss-up. Inevitably you can’t go wrong with either but, my preference was the Dolby Vision presentation.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that makes ample use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is comprised mostly of discrete effects, with some ambient extension. This is done to good effect, creating a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events in an involving fashion.

The aforementioned race sequence in chapter two is lots of fun as the soundstage comes alive with head turning effects in the form of falling debris, overhead pans and fiery explosions. Similarly, the scene where Parzival, Art3mis and company knock out the orb’s forcefield and take on Sorrento and his minions, in pursuit of the third key, contains a host of swirling effects, near field pans and ambient extension that rotate around the soundstage, shifting overhead, passing by at ear level and coming directly at the listening position.

I found the overall mix to be engaging, utilizing the platform to accentuate its thematic tone but, it should be noted that this isn’t a noticeably active Atmos presentation in terms of its use of audio object place in the height channels. As I have pointed out before, that isn’t a prerequisite for a good mix per se but, for some that is a necessity. Truth be told I have fun with this one and look forward to revisiting it.

** It should be noted that the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is the default audio option. Listening to the Dolby Atmos mix requires entering the audio set up menu and manually selecting it.**

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

 

Audio: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 

 

Ready Player One comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video, lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound, and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This film utilizes a variety of settings, visual schemes and cinematographic processes to create its world (s) and I had high hopes for its presentations on Blu-ray. I wasn't disappointed. The video is sharp with a pristine quality that enhances its seemingly flawless rendering of detail. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally depicted so that wide angle perspectives, unevenly lit interiors, and shadow laden environs have a seemingly infinite level of depth. This presentation delivers some of the richest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen on Blu-ray.

Colors are vibrant, delineated and when called for, deeply saturated and warm, without appearing unnatural. The palette of secondary hues used are eye pleasing and vivid. Contrast is well balanced and dynamic which energizes colors, empowers whites/grays and engages blacks. The video has a pleasing aesthetic that plays hand in hand with the film’s stark visual style, providing an incredibly entertaining experience that looks superb regardless of the size of your display.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby True HD (Atmos core) soundtracks have solid dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes excellent use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The music score, coupled along with the integration of discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in this involving and engagingly active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment makes for a notably enveloping surround experience.

Low frequency effects work in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low-level bass and dynamic impact associated with the action-based sequences. The race sequence in chapter 2 sets the stage for what the tracks has in store delivering a rousing listening experience that is punctuated by pounding/resonating bass that delivers the goods. Speaking of slamming bass, there is a sequence in chapter 11, where Sorrento sets off a world leveling device, that is sure to bottom out subwoofers that are less than up to the task.

Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. This is a terrific audio presentation that enhances the film while providing a thoroughly involving home theater experience.

** It should be noted that the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is the default audio option. Listening to the Dolby Atmos mix requires entering the audio set up menu and manually selecting it.**

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Ready Player One Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Ready Player One Blu-ray
    • Game Changer: Cracking the Code
    • Effects for a Brave New World
    • Level Up: Sound for the Future
    • High Score: Endgame
    • Ernie & Tye's Excellent Adventure
    • The '80’s: You’re The Inspiration
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Ready Player One is a visually engaging and entertaining sci-fi adventure that tantalizes with its plethora of pop culture references that inspire warm feelings of nostalgia as we root for its young heroes. It arrives on Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Combo Pack that delivers sparkling image quality, while invigorating the listening experience with a solid Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix. Also included is a middling assortment of extras that are worth exploring for fans. Ready Player One isn’t destined for classic status however, it has plenty to offer and is easily worth picking up for the right price on the platform best suited for your home theater.


 
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad /iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems




We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works  here .