Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ready Player One celebrates video games over the decades

Movie Title:      Ready Player One

Grade:  A-

Rating: PG-13, 140 minutes

In a Nutshell:   The creator of the largest virtual reality world ever, called the OASIS, dies and leaves a challenge to anyone who can find three invisible keys that lead to a hidden Easter egg to win a fortune and ownership over the OASIS.  Directed by Steven Spielberg, it is full of imagination, fun, action, romance, humor, and a moral lesson.  Game on!

If you’re not into video games, this movie is probably not for you.  I don’t really play video games, but I still enjoyed it.  I have four sons who played video games for many years growing up, so I was exposed enough to most of the characters that make an appearance in this movie that I got a kick out of it all.  One of my sons is now living his dream as a 3D character artist for the hugely successful video game company Blizzard.


Tips for parents: 
·       Ready Player One is rated PG-13 for tons of violence, bloody images, partial nudity, profanity, and some suggestive material.  
   *  I was worried that the movie would glorify video games and encourage kids to plug into technology even more, but the message in the end is that we all need each other and real life.   I thought the ending was actually very sweet.
·       Some profanity and other crude language.
·       A character flips the bird.
·       It shows real people losing touch with reality as they play video games.
·       Several people have face and body tattoos.
·       The leading lady’s avatar (Art3mis) has a super skimpy outfit on.
·       You see the partial naked back side of a virtual reality woman. 
*   There is an important reference to “Rosebud” in the 1941 movie Citizen Kane that very few kids or even adults will catch.

Uplifting theme: 
·       “People need to spend more time in the real world.” – Wade/Parzival
·       “It’s not about winning, but playing.” – Wade/Parzival
·       “As painful and terrifying as the real world can be, it’s the only place you can get a decent meal…because reality is real.” – Halliday
·       “No man is alone who has a friend.” – I-R0k
·       Illusion vs. reality
  • Real world consequences

Things I liked:
  • The movie itself is classic Spielberg with absolutely fantastic action sequences and imagination.  
  • The special effects are really well done and blend easily from virtual reality environments into scenes with people in reality. 
  • The movie is overflowing with references that span several decades of movies, music, and pop culture, focusing mostly on the 1980’s.  While the main character (Wade Owen Watts) is looking for the grand prize, there are TONS of fun Easter eggs for the audience to look for and enjoy during the entire film.  At one point, there is a scene with a famous Anime motorcycle that Spielberg is notorious for having rejected 30 years ago, dismissing it as “unsalable” for film.  It’s fun to see how he now embraces and celebrates it on the big screen. 
  • There is some humor and heart in the film with most of the comic relief provided by a scary-looking, yet hilarious character named I-R0k, voiced by T. J. Miller. 
  • Alvin Silvestri offered an energizing and fun musical score.  Originally, Steven Spielberg’s favorite composer, John Williams, was going to tackle the project, but he had to step away to finish his work on another Spielberg film, The Post
  • If you can, try to see the movie in 3D, but it’s still fun without the glasses and extra fee.  
  • Climb Mt. Everest with Batman.  Ha ha
  • I love Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance in anything.

Things I didn’t like:
·   Older folks will probably claim the movie is on sensory overload (they’re right), but the younger crowd will feel like they’re right in the middle of playing a video game.  A really old guy sitting near me in the theater got up and walked out.
  • There are a LOT of exposition scenes that tell us what’s happening and the movie drags a little bit in the Third Act.  
  • It’s a very long 2 hours 20 minutes flick, so Grandpa or Junior may fall asleep.
  •  Sit farther back in the theater; otherwise, you won’t be able to focus on everything going on.  There is a LOT happening on the screen.

Funny lines:
  • “There are only 3 things I hate in the world: Steam Punk, pirates, and Tabouli.” – I-R0k (T.J. Miller)
  • “Am I being punked?” – Aech/Helen (Lea Waithe)
  • “She wanted to go dancing, so we went to a movie.” – Halliday (Mark Rylance)
  • “She could be a dude, a 300 pound dude who lives in his mother’s basement…and his name is Chuck.  Think about that!” – Aech/Helen
  • “Voila….which is French for….” – I-R0k
  • “Do you want it or not?” – Anorak (Mark Rylance)

Interesting lines:
  • “People go to the Oasis for all the things they can do, but they stay because of all the things they can be.” – Wade
  • “A fanboy knows a hater.” – Parzival
  • “Things move forward whether you like it or not.” – Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg)

If you loved it and want more, check out the book that it’s based on, Ready Player One ,written by Ernest Cline.  The movie adds to and deletes from the source material, frustrating true fanboys, but they both have something to offer.  Cline actually mentioned Steven Spielberg in the original novel.


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