Saturday, April 14, 2018

Ready Player One: Game On, Dudes!

Are you looking for the perfect movie to take you away and forget about this crazy world? If so, Ready Player One may be the movie for you, especially if you happen to be a gamer.

As a standalone movie, it holds its own. The CGI is beyond amazing. The action sequences are fun. The 70s/80s/90s references are all cool. And it depicts something that could actually happen in the near future.

Wade Watts is a money-poor gamer living in the stacks -- future slums where trailers are stacked on top of each other. Despite his lack of resources, Wade joins the search for the ultimate easter egg, one that would give the winner full control of the ever-popular OASIS virtual world, worth a gazillion dollars. Along the way, he'll have to fight the affluent corporation IOI and their sixers. They have the money, but Wade has his passion.

I would strongly advise watching this movie while still in theaters so you can get the full effect. I must admit there were times I felt I was part of the movie and had to remind myself I was just watching.

My only complaints about the movie are nerdy in nature. For starters, I don't think the music fit as well as it could have. Silvestri seemed to be channeling a John Williams vibe, but not as well. For example, the incidental music at the start of the car chase wasn't exciting enough. Most of the 80's/90's song cues were cool, but even some of those choices seemed weak, especially the opening song.

If John Williams were scoring this, he would have hidden a Willy Wonka cue, much like "When You Wish Upon a Star" hidden in Close Encounters, but I didn't catch anything. (Yes, I know "Come With Me" is in a trailer, but that's not hidden, and I don't think Silvestri arranged it.)

Those who have read the book may find some parts annoying. I believe the movie adequately captures the most important parts of the books, but the three tests are so "easy" that most any nerd could have figured them out in real life. The tests in the book are much more nuanced and intelligent.

Also, Wade has much more character development in the book. For example, he already has most of his cool gear at the beginning of the movie -- so he's not nearly as poor. Then again, Spielberg is really good at creating empty main characters -- think Indiana Jones. This can be both good and bad. Bad because the character comes across as shallow, and their motives can be confusing. Good because the shallowness allows for the watchers to more easily insert themselves into the main character.

Either way, I didn't notice much of this until after the movie was over and I started analyzing.

I watched it in 3D IMAX. I generally choose not to watch such movies not shot in 3D (and I am disappointed Spielberg chose not to go this way in the real-life shots), but as most of the movie occurs inside the virtual world, which is by nature "shot" in 3D, I figured it was worth a shot. I'm not sure how much it added, but wearing the glasses was kind of like wearing VR glasses -- so maybe that helped with the feeling of being inside the movie.

Go have some fun. Catch this movie.

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