Film Review: “Ready Player One” (2018)

Stephen Spielberg is an interesting director. Over the years he’s terrified us (Jaws), invoked science as reality (Close Encounters…), made Harrison Ford a superstar (Indiana Jones X 2), viewed the love of a child for a space creature (ET), had dinosaurs chasing the park visitors (Jurassic Park), depicted war as it really was (Saving Private Ryan) and brought viewers to sober reflection (Schindler’s List). The list goes on. He is the highest grossing director in history. Two Oscars and five nominations.

“Ready Player One” would not seem like a typical Spielberg effort, but he’s proven to be extremely imaginative over the years. I think Spielberg looked into the future and saw that CGI (Computer Graphic Interface) is going to be a permanent vision of film. I think he figured that this being the case, why not make a film that combines typical Spielberg story line quality with totally state-of-the-art computer graphics as a point toward the future. Spielberg is successful in “Ready Player One”. He hits both nails on the head, presenting a high quality story line with truly amazing graphics, especially in the 3D version.

The storyline, set far in the future involves an adolescent boy who escapes the desolation of the real world by a virtual reality game called “Oasis” in which any player can be anyone he wants, anywhere he wants in a fantasy world that’s as real as the player wants it to be. The original creator of this game (played by Mark Rylance) dies, but before his death understood that the game and the world needed to be protected from corporate suits that would do what Comcast is currently doing to the Internet. He established a game where only the smartest of potential players could possibly get to the end and inherent the ownership of the virtual world, saving it from the suits.

The interface between real humans and their virtual reality counterparts is fascinating. The graphics of the virtual world is spellbinding. The characters are well played, the production is immaculate and, of course, the direction is pure Spielberg. There are tips of the hat to many 1980s zeitgeists and I loved the 80s soundtrack.

Parenthetically, I waited to the end to see the cast and I recognized exactly one name. The wonderful actor (my age) Mark Rylance in a throw away role in which he did well anyway. I recognized none of the other actors that reminded me that am approaching three generations removed from them. I picked up a “People” magazine in my dentist’s waiting room and I knew exactly none of those people focused in it.

The professor in my Pitt class asked the youngsters if they had ever seen “Dr. Strangelove”. Not one hand went up. Even Rolling Stone, a magazine I have had a subscription to since it was a tabloid in the 60s (I wrote an article for them once), is now filled with musicians I never heard of or have not the slightest interest in. I only have two channels on my satellite car radio. 60s and 70s. I’m slowly but most assuredly drifting off into the sunset, filled with irrelevancy.

It’s a really good film. Recommended by me.


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