A Review Of Ready Player One By A Fan Of Steven SpielbergReady Player One has hit the big screens and don't worry, it's good. Phew!
From the first moment the screen fades in with the now associated 'Jump' by Van Halen to the final climatic scenes with the UPS van under attack, accompanied by Back to the Future soundtrack cues, this film is a dream for anyone who is a fan of popular culture especially from the 1980's.
But, you probably knew that anyway. After all, retro is most definitely in and this film has retro references by the Big Trak load. Some references are obvious but others are a blink and you'll miss it. Look out for the "Re-Elect Mayor Goldie Wilson" campaign poster, a tip of the hat to Terminator with the thumbs up and of course plenty of Back to the Future references with Alan Silvestri's original soundtrack.
Movie Or The Book?
The movie version of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is different to the book but that's okay. I'm not going to say the book was better or vice versa. See my other article on my thoughts on that particular subject. What I will say is, accept the differences. This is a movie, so having a whole challenge centred around playing Joust or a text adventure like in the book probably wouldn't have worked as well as having an epic Trackmania style race as the first challenge. I can see why they changed the challenges. It's about making sure the movie flows well and it does just that. If you accept this then you will love the movie, I guarantee it.
Coming in at two hours and nineteen minutes, I didn't once look at my watch. In fact, strap yourself in and prepare for a ride that doesn't slow down, well not until the resolution at the end of the movie where the slow pacing was welcomed.
My Only Gripe
Here's my only gripe about Ready Player One and it's to do with that fast pacing. The epic battle (they are epic) and fight scenes suffer with that "what's going on" at certain points. Not as bad as watching a Transformers movie but the camera too close and shaking thing is there. The Oasis allows pretty much anything to happen and Spielberg took full advantage of this. There are hundreds if not thousands of avatars on screen at certain points and the close camera fighting made it difficult at certain times to know where to look. This only happens a couple of times during the movie and does not spoil the experience. In fact it probably promotes repeat viewing. Don't worry, that is my only negative point of the movie. Perhaps my forty something eyes are just getting too old and can't keep up as well as they used to.
It is Steven Spielberg at his best and even though he said this was the most technically challenging movie he has ever made, it doesn't show. It feels like a Spielberg movie from the 80's but with state of the art CGI, a nice mix to please retro fans and bring in the masses.
The cast do a good enough job with my stand out performance going to Olivia Cooke as Art3mis and Samantha in the real world. In fact all the cast perform well as their counterparts but Mark Rylance as Halliday sounds too much like Elmer Fudd and I couldn't stop thinking this. However his avatar, Anorak was awesome.
The soundtrack by Alan Silvestri is full of surprises and will be an essential purchase for any soundtrack collector. I just wish it had more of a signature piece. The cues from different soundtracks was a masterstroke though and will definitely make you smile when you pick them up.
There is a serious message to the story. The Oasis is a way for everyone to escape reality, even if it's not the reality we want. Is this our future? It's feasible that we are already there with a society that sees the world through the screen of their smart phone rather than their eyes, motivated by an up-vote or concerned where their next 'like' will come from. The movie's message I'm sure will be lost on so many, especially and ironically as some viewers in the screening I was in were lighting up their phones more than once.
Ready Player One is a Spielberg classic and it's nice to see Spielberg back to a subject matter that is something a little less serious than his recent movies. 80's Spielberg was needed for a movie heavy on the 80's references and, thankfully we get him.
Go and see Ready Player One on the big screen and let the Oasis take over your reality for two hours and nineteen minutes. Just remember to return to the real world afterwards.
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