Steven Spielberg’s Most Underrated Sci-Fi Movie Is #1 On Streaming 

Ready Player One is one of the most-watched movies on HBO Max.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

steven spielberg
Ready Player One

Steven Spielberg has brought us many amazing films over the years, including the cinematic adventures of Indiana Jones. He also helped define the ‘90s with Jurassic Park, another franchise he kicked off that is still thriving to this day. And now that people can easily stream it on HBO Max, more audiences are tuning into Ready Player One, Spielberg’s underrated sci-fi movie that FlixPatrol reports is one of the top 10 movies being streamed on the popular platform.

When Steven Spielberg directed Ready Player One, he adapted the popular book of the same name written by Ernest Cline. Both the book and the film portray a dystopian future America in which the vast majority of people don’t care that much about the actual world around them. That’s because everyone is able to use special VR headsets to access the OASIS, a virtual reality in which users can see or experience just about anything that humanity can imagine, and all without leaving the comfort of their homes.

Our chief protagonist is Wade Watts, and he is played by Tye Sheridan, whom you might best remember for playing Cyclops in films such as X-Men: Apocalypse (he swapped the ruby quartz visor for a VR headset, but it’s somewhat ironic that his most famous roles keep covering up most of his face). Watts is very poor and has a pretty miserable life in this Steven Spielberg film, but he’s focused on changing it by finding a digital Easter egg hidden somewhere within the OASIS by its mercurial creator James Halliday. After Halliday passed away, his will stipulated that any user who actually found the Easter egg would gain full ownership of the OASIS, effectively making them rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams.

At the time the film came out, many accused Steven Spielberg of releasing a movie that is largely propped up by its many cameos. And it’s true that Warner Bros. (now Warner Bros. Discovery) threw in just about every character they had access to, ranging from Michael Keaton’s Batman to Ian McKellen’s Gandalf. But this was actually very true to the spirit of the book, in which Wade Watts flies around in the Back to the Future DeLorean and eventually befriends one of Halliday’s friends, Ogden Morrow, who used his wealth to make a real-life version of Rivendell to impress his now-deceased wife.

Despite the haters, the movie earned 72 percent on RottenTomatoes and earned $592.2 million at the box office, making it a critical and commercial hit. It was also nominated for many major awards, ultimately taking home two major awards from the Visual Effects Society Awards for some of the movie’s jaw-dropped effects work. On top of that, Steven Spielberg took home a prestigious Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film.

Another reason some fans are learning to love this strange Steven Spielberg sci-fi film is because of the talented cast. Among the older and more established actors, we get some great performances from Simon Pegg and Ben Mendelsohn. But we also get a powerhouse performance from a young Olivia Cooke who is now killing it on House of the Dragon.

As an added bonus, if you go ahead and stream this movie, you’ll be up to date when the inevitable sequel makes it to the big screen. Back in 2020, Ernest Cline released a sequel to Ready Player One that was imaginatively named Ready Player Two. And the cast of the first film is contracted for sequels once the studio decides to make them, and Cline has previously stated that a sequel film is now in very early development but that he doesn’t yet know if Steven Spielberg will return to direct it.

If nothing else, we think you should watch Steven Spielberg’s science fiction film Ready Player One because its plot reflects our own world a bit more with every passing day. When the book came out back in 2011, the idea of most people spending their time in a virtual reality simulation seemed quite unrealistic, but this is the exact kind of world Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is trying to make happen with Meta. Throw in the fact that users are now creating limitless stories, games, and other experiences with ChatGPT and the idea of the OASIS is no longer unrealistic…it is, simply put, inevitable.