847. Ready Player One

Title: Ready Player One
Director: Steven Spielberg
Year: 2018
Run time: 2hrs 20m

“From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.”

Live blog

1:22 – Great tune to start a movie!
2:34 – “…after people stopped trying to fix problems and just started trying to outlive them.”
7:17 – Oof, how people behave when they’ve got headsets on.
9:06 – Half a trillion dollars!!
13:49 – I’m glad walkthroughs are still a thing in the future.
19:12 – Does that count as a plan? Move into a mansion and buy a lot of cool shit.
23:24 – Is that an actual Ask Jeeves?
27:40 – Loving the brass band with no actual musicians.
33:30 – Properly love TJ Miller.
38:29 – “She wanted to go dancing, so we watched a movie.”
48:55 – ZEMECKIS CUBE. So much need.
57:03 – “Wow, you really switched gears there. From fairly reasonable to maniacal overlord.”
1:03:17 – So Halliday basically had his own version of Film Watch. I’m Film Watching about another Film Watch.
1:12:24 – Really curious about the top ten horror films above The Shining.
1:20:43 – She was actually stroking her chin whilst thinking, do people really do that?
1:35:11 – I feel like I should know some of these games they’re talking about.
1:36:50 – Wonder how many references there are hidden in the big crowds. Bet they had a lot of fun creating it.
1:52:59 – “Extra life. Long story. Sorry I shot you.”
2:00:17 – I am like, mesmerised.
2:08:06 – The curator!
2:10:39 – Music by Alan Silvestri. Obviously they were going for a sound and luckily they got the guy who only makes that one sound over and over.

Conclusions

I have seen mixed reviews about this film, and I think most of it comes down to whether you have read the source material or not. Those that have and are particularly fond of it may have looked down on this film for differing so much from Ernest Cline’s novel.

Thankfully, I haven’t read the book yet so came in to this with completely fresh eyes and a willingness to go wherever the nostalgia took us. I think I probably only got about 10% of the references anyway, though, and that’s where my one criticism of the film stands.

It’s a pop culture wonderland with references here, there and everywhere, but it’s all very much white male nostalgia. I got some of it, Mr C got more of it, and presumably anyone within Ernest Cline’s demographic got even more. What about the rest though? That’s a pretty narrow definition of pop culture, particularly as the Oasis is supposed to have something for everyone.

I get that Cline’s book can have been as self-indulgent as that and fair play to him, but you’d think an entire movie studio and Spielberg himself might have put a bit more effort into expanding their horizons.

Anyway, aside from that, it was also an interesting story. I did think about halfway through that it felt like they weren’t real stakes – omg, we have to save this fantasy land and so what – but it soon became clear that there were more levels to it. Whoever controls Oasis controls the internet, so similar to net neutrality and all that goes along with it. And IOI weren’t exactly a good company so anyone rallying against them is to be applauded.

Overall, good film, fun cast, and a nice couple of hours of escapism but probably not for everyone.

Rating: 4/5.