Movie Reviews

20 Movies Like Ready Player One Everyone Should See

3 8

While it is hard to ever match Steven Spielberg, movies like Ready Player One capture the similar immersive sci-fi world and engrossing video game adventure of his movie. Adapted from Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel of the same name, the movie is jam-packed with action, humor, and romance all set around a video game scavenger hunt. There are many aspects to the movie to enjoy, like the nostalgic references and idea of living among them, the young rebel heroes fighting against the corrupt powers, and the concept of escaping the real world through a new reality.

Ready Player One is, by virtue of its core themes and source material, informed by a great many movies both legendary and underrated. There are so many examples of movies that either directly influenced Spielberg’s Ready Player One or similarly explored the ideas of the technology of this world. Those looking for similarly fun and thought-provoking stories, whether they may be light and colorful adventures, darker and violent action movies, or deeply detailed documentaries, will have plenty of options to choose from.

Ready Player One was far from the first movie to incorporate video games into a sci-fi fantasy story and it bears several similarities to the cult favorite space adventure The Last Starfighter. With Ready Player One‘s adoration of cult movies, it would make sense if it served as an inspiration in some ways.

Both movies feature protagonists who escape their dead-end lives in trailer parks with their gaming skills, only to find that they might be their ticket out of there. The movie follows a young teenager named Alex (Lance Guest) who is recruited by an alien civilization to be their savior in a war with their intergalactic enemies.

While The Last Starfighter is clearly influenced by Star Wars, its effects were ambitious back in the mid-80s even if they don’t hold up today, and is much more influential than it’s often given credit for.

Given the wild futuristic adventure that Ready Player One takes audiences on, it might seem strange that a documentary captures some similar vibes. However, Second Life is an exploration of technology that proved to be ahead of its time.

This enveloping documentary follows the lives of several people who develop new lives in the online world of Second Life, a virtual world that offers its users opportunities that range from financial to romantic. Spielberg’s Ready Player One explores both the escapism elements of the virtual reality world and the idea of it taking away from real life.

The documentary is similarly an even-handed study of what draws people to virtual spaces and then keeps them there, examining how and why games can become preferable to people’s actual realities. Given how huge these kinds of immersive online worlds have evolved since then, Second Life would be an interesting movie to revisit.

There is a love of video games that permeates Ready Player One and that passion is found in this unique documentary as well. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters delves into the strange and fascinating world of arcade game high scores, specifically the competition surrounding the record for the classic game Donkey Kong.

As unlikely as it may seem, the movie finds a larger-than-life hero and villain in the endearing outsider Steve Wiebe and the overconfident champion Billy Mitchell, respectively. The movie is a surprisingly thrilling ride with an entertaining narrative of a true underdog story.

It is also a reminder of how much people can get attached to these worlds though the movie never judges these people who have dedicated so much time to the world of arcades. Though a small-scale documentary, it packs as many thrills as Ready Player One.

While 2023’s Wonka surprised many people, the best Willy Wonka movie is still considered to be the first one. This classic adaptation of author Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book brought the titular character to life in an unforgettable way with Gene Wilder’s performance as the eccentric chocolatier. The story follows a young boy who is among the lucky few guests who are welcomed inside Wonka’s secret factory where the wonderous world he’s created is revealed.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is referenced throughout Ready Player One as one of its most fundamental pop-culture influences, each story sharing the central concept of a reclusive genius presenting the public with a rare opportunity to understand and profit from the imaginative world that they’ve created. It’s certainly not an action movie but the comedy and adventure are still unbeatable even today.

The Wachowskis’ iconic sci-fi mind-bender injected modern philosophical concepts like transforming identities in a predominantly digital future with dazzling action and effects, drawing inspiration from a vast legacy of popular culture from across the world.

The story of a nobody who discovers that his life is merely a simulation remains a landmark of both genre filmmaking and discussions about virtual reality, with the conversations between the characters proving as stimulating to audiences as its meticulous fight choreography.

While Ready Player One explored the thrill of jumping into a fantasy world of this virtual reality existence, The Matrix was a thought-provoking look at what it would be like if the entire human race were unknowingly trapped as part of that simulation. Though the franchise continued, the sequels failed to capture the special feeling of The Matrix.

Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series is bursting with colorfully creative action and all the adolescent kicks that a movie fan’s heart could possibly desire. In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Michael Cera plays the eponymous bass player who must battle a woman’s evil exes in order to win her heart and the movie’s video-game-inspired quest is one of the greatest marriages of the mediums ever made.

Just as Ready Player One celebrates the world of movies, games, and nostalgic pop culture, Scott Pilgrim is a love letter to so many areas of the “geek world.” The movie is also full of fun references to nostalgic video games, from the 9-bit opening title sequence to the fact that defeated characters turn into a pile of coins. The Scott Pilgrim cast recently returned for the animated series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.

One of the many filmmakers that are frequently referenced throughout Ready Player One is Robert Zemeckis, who made many strides in the field of integrating animation with live-action in feature films. There are many movies that show Zemeckis’ development of Ready Player One‘s most essential technologies but his classic cartoon mystery adventure is still arguably his magnum opus.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a hugely inventive live-action and animation hybrid starring Bob Hoskins as a grizzled detective who attempts to prove cartoon character Roger Rabbit has been framed for murder. While it is fun to see the characters of Ready Player One walk around in a world inhabited by iconic characters like The Iron Giant and Chucky, it feels like an homage to the world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit where icons like Mickey Mouse and Bug Bunny inhabit the same space.