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Note that I've never read the book. But the film feels so shallow. On one hand, it's trying to say that an executive having a team of people helping him research random trivia is bad, but the game is pretty much won by knowing random trivia. Don't hate the player, man.
A game where the final level to unlock the Easter egg is literally the first video game Easter egg ever made. And somehow nobody could figure that out except a "true geek".
This is a movie that tries to say that being a real nerd is more than just shallow references and yet every pop culture reference on screen is as shallow as you can get. For example - the iron giant. The Iron Giant character is a robot that doesn't want to be a weapon. The supposed "good geeks" just use it as a weapon.
Visually it's amazing but behind all that it's just meaningless. Oh and there's a lot of dry infodumps too. The character just talks at the audience to explain the plot, the reference, the plan, etc. Self-defeating AND poorly written. Ugh. 4/10, the score is 100% visuals.
I'll admit, I was skeptical of this movie prior to seeing it. It looked like something I might have loved when I was between 10 and 12-years old, but that I'd be far too cynical to enjoy at my current age.
However, after seeing how excited and pleased many people were with it, including a few online film critics whose opinion I generally respect, I decided to go see it. The main reason being that, at the very least, I figured it was probably something I would not regret seeing in the theater.
I was proven right on that front. This movie is a dazzling feast for the eyes, with often beautiful CG animation and even more exemplary motion capture work. And it's undeniably entertaining to see this wide a variety of staples from movies, TV shows, comic books, anime, etc. all juxtaposed into a single film. It's a safe popcorn movie through and through, an unabashedly fun thrill ride as only Steven Spielberg could deliver.
And yet, my first impression based on the initial trailers was also correct. The inner child in me had a blast, but the adult in me easily picked apart its flaws even as I was sitting in the theater watching it.
In some ways, the movie was a total joy. In other ways, its content is very shallow and confused. And no matter how you swing it, every aspect of the plot and its characters are painfully generic; for instance, it features one of the most blatantly uninteresting central protagonists I've ever come across.
The very premise of Ready Player One — a virtual reality matrix becoming mankind's unifying fixation — is kind of horrifying if you look past its face-value; I know you can say that about a lot of kid/family movies with playfully ridiculous storylines, but this is a standout example.
Actually, even the plot on its surface is pretty messed up if you stop to think about it. Not only are people letting the real world devolve into a dystopian nightmare in favor of a wildly interactive VR experience, they're all willingly obsessing over the game's dead creator and adopting his own nerdy obsession with pop culture for the grand prize of, essentially, controlling the world by way of said VR. In a way, the heroes are no different than the heartless corporate villains of the film; we're only meant to see them as better because they claim to actually care about nerd culture and they aren't killing each other for profit, which, I guess validates their own avaricious fanaticism.
The film's messages are a bit hypocritical in the end. And overall, I feel like the main appeal its aiming for, beyond the sheer level of its entertainment value, is simply getting to pat yourself on the back every time you recognize a pop culture item one of the characters inevitably name drops. Given the excerpts and reviews I've seen, the novel sounds even more obliviously superficial. But Spielberg is able to elevate the story to a point where its flaws can be largely overlooked.
I haven't read the book so I don't know how much accurate the film is, but I found there's plenty of contrived coincidence in the film. Personally I found the end fell a bit flat. It does have some awesome moment though (especially for the first and second trial).
Still, it's a decent film and the cameos aren't so bad.
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