Ultimate Gamer: 25 Movies like Ready Player One

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About Ready Player One

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One focuses on a futuristic world where most of humanity uses a virtual reality simulation called The Oasis. However, it is run by an evil corporation who wants to profiteer from the players. The plot focuses on a teen orphan (played by Tye Sheridan) who discovers clues to a contest which promises the winner total control and ownership of The Oasis.

During a recent rewatch I started to think of all the other movies like Ready Player One who some of you may want to tick off your bucket list. Below are my 25 picks. How many have you seen? Let’s dive in.

1. The Matrix (1999)

Movies like Ready Player One: The Matrix (1999)

Written and directed by The Wachowskis, The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano. It was released in the year 1999.

The Matrix is the first movie in The Matrix franchise and focuses on Thomas Anderson, a hacker with the screen name Neo, who discovers that all is not as it seems. The world isn’t real. Instead, it is a virtual reality construct and the real world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland where humans are used as batteries to power a race of robots.

2. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Movies like Ready Player One: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Alita: Battle Angel stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson. It was released in the year 2019.

Alita is a battle cyborg who is revived by Ido, a doctor, who realises that she actually has the soul of a teenager. Alita then sets out to learn about her past and find her true identity. Meanwhile, just like all good dystopian hellscapes, there’s the constant looming threat of augmented human-cyborgs and evil corporation to keep Alita busy.

3. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Movies like Ready Player One: Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Directed by Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell stars voice actors Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka, and Iemasa Kayumi. It was released in the year 1995.

Ghost in the Shell is about a cyborg public-security agent, who hunts a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master. The story is set against a backdrop of a cyberpunk Japan where the lines between sentient and non-sentient technology is blurred. It’s no surprise that this is one of many anime’s that inspired elements of The Matrix.

4. Pacific Rim (2013)

Movies like Ready Player One: Pacific Rim (2013)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, and Ron Perlman. It was released in the year 2013.

Pacific Rim is essentially a sci-fi kaiju tale, yet the basis for the universe is an invading force of large interdimensional beasts. This kind of invasion is exactly what H.P. Lovecraft would’ve envisioned. He probably just didn’t imagine fighting them with giant robots.

5. Dark City (1998)

Movies like Ready Player One: Dark City (1998)

Directed by Alex Proyas, Dark City stars Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O’Brien, and Ian Richardson. It was released in the year 1998.

Dark City is a neo noir science fiction film which starts with a murder by a man with amnesia which quickly descends in an existential dilemma infused epic sci-fi ballad of The Matrix-like proportions. While Dark City was no mainstream success, it certainly deserves its cult-like status and is a worthy addition to this list.

6. Vanilla Sky (2001)

Movies like Ready Player One: Vanilla Sky (2001)

Directed by Cameron Crowe, Vanilla Sky stars Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, and Cameron Diaz. It was released in the year 2001.

Vanilla Sky is a science fiction thriller about publishing magnate David Aames who suffers horrible scars to his face after a drunken car crash. From there he begins to question his own existence, the meaning of life and so has his body cryogenically frozen so he begin to live his perfect life again in the form of a virtual reality lucid dream. However, the process has removed his memory of the car crash and so he begins to question everything around him before he starts to remember what really happened to him.

7. Inception (2010)

Movies like Ready Player One: Inception (2010)

Directed by Christopher Nolan, Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. It was released in the year 2010.

Inception is a science fiction action film written and directed by Christopher Nolan in which Cobb and Arthur perform a form of corporate espionage by infiltrating the dreams of their subjects and placing ideas in their subconscious. The dream-like state is achieved by Nolan and his team through a series of impressive camera and CGI techniques which create a mind-altering state.

8. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Movies like Ready Player One: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Directed by Luc Besson, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu and Rutger Hauer. It was released in the year 2017.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is about a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. When this metropolis comes under threat by a dark force, Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace which may threaten the entire universe.

9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Movies like Ready Player One: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson. It was released in the year 2004.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is romantic science fiction drama where Joel’s girlfriend, Clementine, has all memories of him erased from her memory by the company called “Lacuna.” Distraught, Joel does the same thing. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind heads on a sinister route when one of Lacuna’s employees uses Joel’s memories of Clementine to try and seduce her. Ever wondered what romantic infused Total Recall would be like? No, neither have I but this movie is it.

10. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Movies like Ready Player One: A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, A Scanner Darkly stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, and Rory Cochrane. It was released in the year 2006.

A Scanner Darkly is an adult animated science fiction/mystery drama based on the 1977 Philip K Dick novel of the same name. A Scanner Darkly is set around a dystopia which is constantly under police surveillance while a drug addiction epidemic is breaking out. Do yourself a favour, watch this film as sober as possible or don’t. Either way, it’s a butt load of fun!

11. Blade Runner (1982)

Movies like Ready Player One: Blade Runner (1982)

Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, Blade Runner stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. It was released in the year 1982.

Based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, Blade Runner focuses on Rick Deckard who is a Blade Runner. Someone who is responsible for hunting down and retiring rogue bioengineered human known as Replicants. The imagery in Blade Runner is often looked back on as inspiration for the Cyberpunk genre due to its melding of film-noir and science fiction.

12. The Cell (2000)

Movies like Ready Player One: The Cell (2000)

Directed by Tarsem Singh, The Cell stars Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, and Vincent D’Onofrio. This film was release in the year 2000.

The Cell is about a group of scientists who use experimental technology to enter the mind of a serial killer who’s in a coma – with the aim to try and locate his latest kidnapped victim. While the story isn’t as strong as it could be, The Cell is a film whose style is so strong that you’ll forget Jennifer Lopez’s lacklustre acting attempts. Thankfully, method actor Vincent D’Onofrio’s acting ability more than makes up for any short fall.

13. Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

Movies like Ready Player One: Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

Directed by Robert Longo, Johnny Mnemonic stars Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Takeshi Kitano, Ice-T, and Dina Meyer. It was released in the year 1995.

Johnny Mnemonic is about a world driven by a different kind of internet which is controlled by mega corporations. Keanu Reeves stars as the title character which has an overloaded, cybernetic implant designed to store mass amounts of information. Which, in a dystopian society, means everyone wants to kill him.

14. Free Guy (2021)

Movies like Ready Player One: Free Guy (2021)

Directed by Shawn Levy, Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Joe Keery, and Taika Waititi. It was released in the year 2021.

Free Guy is about a character in a video game which is a background character. However, when a glitch happens in the game and he falls in love with the avatar of another character the world of the video game spirals out of control. Free Guy, like Ready Player One, features endless cameos by well known characters. Adding to the fun of this adventurous film.

15. Tron (1982)

Movies like Ready Player One: Tron (1982)

Directed by Steven Lisberger, Tron stars Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, and Barnard Hughes. It was released in the year 1982.

Tron is about a computer programmer and video game developer who is transported inside the software world of a mainframe computer where he interacts with programs in his attempt to escape the very world he’s created.

16. The Game (1997)

Movies like Ready Player One: The Game (1997)

Directed by David Fincher, The Game stars Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger and James Rebhorn. It was released in the year 1997.

The Game is about a wealthy investment banker who receives a gift from his brother which is for a game that begins to take over every aspect of his life. Pretty soon things get out of hand and a larger conspiracy reveals itself. One which appears to be a real threat!

17. The Maze Runner (2014)

Movies like Ready Player One: The Maze Runner (2014)

Directed by Wes Ball, Maze Runner stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, and Patricia Clarkson. It was released in the year 2014.

Maze Runner is a dystopian science fiction film about a group of young men trapped in a maze and their struggle to get out alive. On the way they are faced with numerous obstacles like the maze itself rotating it’s routes and genetically engineered monsters. Because of all the running, by the time you’ve finished watching it you’ll feel like you’ve done two hours of cardio. Cardio sucks!

RELATED: Dystopian Cardio: 23 Movies like Maze Runner

18. Total Recall (1990)

Movies like Ready Player One: Total Recall (1990)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, Total Recall stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, and Ronny Cox. It was released in the year 1990.

Total Recall is a science fiction action film focusing on main character Douglas Quaid who visits a company called Rekall. While there he asks them to implant realistic false memories where he’s a secret agent on Mars. However, the procedure is interrupted when Quaid lashes out and he’s sent home.
When he wakes up at home he’s attacked by a group of men and his wife. Pretty soon it gets roped into a mystery which makes him question his very reality,

19. Love and Monsters (2020)

Movies like Ready Player One: Love and Monsters (2020)

Directed by Michael Matthews, Love and Monsters stars Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Dan Ewing, and Michael Rooker. It was released in the year 2020.

Love and Monsters is a post-apocalyptic film where the world is inhabited by kaiju-sized monsters. It’s part science fiction, part action and all heart. It’s about character Joel Dawson who gets separated from his girlfriend Aimee and will do anything he can to be reunited with her. Even if it means getting eaten alive.

20. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Movies like Ready Player One: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto. It was released in the year 2017.

Unlike the original film, which followed Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard, Blade Runner 2049 follows a Nexus-9 replicant “blade runner” (played by Ryan Gosling) who uncovers a secret that threatens to destabilize society and the course of civilization. It also provides an explanation on where Rick Deckard has been since the events of the first Blade Runner movie.

21. Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Movies like Ready Player One: Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Directed and written by the Wachowskis, The Matrix Reloaded stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Gloria Foster. It was released in the year 2003.

Matrix Reloaded is the first sequel in The Matrix franchise and explores the war between the humans and the machines. With Neo now having godlike abilities in The Matrix the Agents struggle to keep him at bay but when the virus known as Agent Smith returns he begins to assimilate multiple agents and move towards taking over The Matrix as a whole.

22. Akira (1988)

Movies like Ready Player One: Akira (1988)

Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira stars voice actor Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Taro Ishida, Mizuho Suzuki, and Tetsusho Genda. It was released in the year 1988.

Akira is based on the manga of the same name and is about a shadow organisation in Japan that experiments on children with extraordinary telepathic and telekinetic abilities. The animation in Akira is exceptional and is matched only by the storyline which explores themes of metamorphosis, corruption, gang violence, revolution, terrorism and friendship.

23. Gamer (2009)

Movies like Ready Player One: Gamer (2009)

Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, Gamer stars Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Amber Valletta, Logan Lerman, Terry Crews, Chris Ludacris Bridges, and Kyra Sedgwick. It was released in the year 2009.

Gamer is about an online game in which participants can control human beings as players. It unveils the filth and grossness of humanity with gaming as the surrogate. Watch this film once and you’ll think twice about whether you think gaming is as innocent as people make it out to be.

24. Tron: Legacy (2010)

Movies like Ready Player One: Tron Legacy (2010)

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Tron: Legacy stars Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, and Michael Sheen. It was released in the year 2010.

Tron: Legacy is the sequel to the original Tron movie and is set 20 years after the first film’s series of events. The film culminates in an epic conclusion inside the virtual reality world. Pity we’ll never see a third Tron movie.

25. The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

Movies like Ready Player One: The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

Directed by Josef Rusnak, The Thirteenth Floor stars Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dennis Haysbert, and Armin Mueller-Stahl. It was released in the year 1999.

The Thirteenth Floor takes place in two places: in Los Angeles in the year 1937 and in a virtual reality world called “The Thirteenth Floor,” which is a simulation of 1937 Los Angeles. The story follows the inventor of the virtual reality system, who is murdered, leaving his colleague as the main suspect.

What did you think of this list of ‘Movies like Ready Player One’?

What did you think of Ready Player One? Have you seen any of these films before?
Let us know what you think on social media.

Ultimate Gamer: 25 Movies like Ready Player One

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