Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

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Gregory
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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#176 Post by Gregory » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:40 pm

dda1996a wrote:I think that it is usually one his biggest faults. He is just too much of a good guy to criticize something. It can get by when he makes criticism free films, but recently his political era just screams criticism but he chooses to avoid that
You're right, it is very much a fault to be too much of a "good guy" to be able to have a critical relationship to the culture. It's complacent at best and even opportunistic, especially considering that in the 1980s Spielberg fully become part of the landscape that he once described with a critical tone in an interview in the late 1970s:
It all begins on Sunday—you take the car to be washed. You have to drive but it's only a block away. And as the car's being washed you go next door with the kids and buy them ice-cream at the Dairy Queen and then you have lunch at the plastic McDonald's with seven zillion hamburgers sold. And then you go off to the games room and you play the quarter games: the Tank and the Pong and Flim-Flam. And by that time your car's all dry and ready to go you get into the car and you drive to the Magic Mountain amusement park and you spend the day there eating junk food. Afterward you drive home, stopping at all the red lights, and the wife is waiting with the dinner on. And you have instant potatoes and eggs without cholesterol, because they're artificial—and you sit down and turn on the TV set, which has become the reality as opposed to the fantasy this man has lived with the entire day. And you watch the primetime, which is pablum and nothing more than watching a night-light. And you see the news at the end of that, which you don't want to listen to because it doesn't conform to the reality you've just been through primetime with. And at the end of all that you go to sleep and you dream about making enough money to support weekend America.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#177 Post by dda1996a » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:46 pm

Blimey that does not sound like Spielberg at all... I do agree that being completely antagonistic with this video game/VR world would have alienated a lot of the targeted audience, but I just hate this middle ground ambivalence

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Luke M
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Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#178 Post by Luke M » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:00 am

That Spielberg quote is something else.

I did a Twitter search for Ready Player One and was reading some of the comments and one of them stood out for me. It was and I’m paraphrasing here, “what did you expect it’s not a Christopher Nolan movie” The quote kinda shook me both in the way Nolan and Spielberg are perceived by younger generations. When I was a kid growing up in the late 80s/early 90s a Spielberg movie always felt like a safe bet, you knew the movie was going to be good. His movies were more than just movies they were some of the biggest events of the summer.

But today it feels like Nolan has taken up that mantle.

Just some food for thought.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#179 Post by dda1996a » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:03 am

Highly disagree. Spielberg just started getting older and more interested in politics and American history, and as good a director Nolan is (and as mediocre as he's a writer) he isn't half as brilliant or as fun as Spielberg is. Even films like A.I and Minority Report are full of outstanding set pieces I doubt anyone could pull off like Spielberg does

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#180 Post by Ribs » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:33 am

Nolan is just the latest iteration of what Spielberg was, and then Tarantino was - a high-profile director whose name is one of an incredibly small handful that enter the wider subconscious for being a truly great filmmaker. But, somewhat tellingly (not on Nolan, who I don't really have a problem with putting on the same pedestal, but for the culture), Nolan probably has at the most 1/10th the name recognition Tarantino ever had and even less than Spielberg (obviously). His movies are beloved and successful, but there's a weird intellectual remove to a lot of them that prevent them from really feeling like these populist entertainment pictures like his predecessors have made. And, as with any of the names I mentioned here, there's plenty of people who dislike Nolan *because* he's one of those names, and Spielberg is probably the poster-child for such backlash. One critic I follow (can't remember which) said following the positive notices for Ready Player One that never is a filmmaker so consistently underestimated, meaning that literally any movie he makes seems to attract a sort of "it's gonna be bad, Spielberg is bad" attention for the months leading to release before finally subsuming to the "it's actually good, Spielberg is good" crowd when people actually see it. Nolan, similarly, probably doesn't have anywhere near the "green light power" that Spielberg has - while he can make whatever he wants (the story is that WB has designated he and Eastwood as their "whatever they say" guys), I think he's still expected to conform to studio notes, expectations, restrictions, in a way that Spielberg and basically no one else does not.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#181 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:36 am

Ribs wrote:One critic I follow (can't remember which) said following the positive notices for Ready Player One that never is a filmmaker so consistently underestimated, meaning that literally any movie he makes seems to attract a sort of "it's gonna be bad, Spielberg is bad" attention for the months leading to release before finally subsuming to the "it's actually good, Spielberg is good" crowd when people actually see it.
Is it so hard to believe that people would have been mightily skeptical of this film regardless of who directed it because of its abysmal source material and ridiculous conceit? I don't know if anyone was saying "it's gonna be bad, Spielberg is bad," they were saying "it's gonna be bad, Ready Player One and the nostalgia-fueled nerd culture that spawned it is bad."

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#182 Post by Ribs » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:41 am

I wasn't talking about just this film - that "buzz" existed for Bridge of Spies and the Post too. I understand why people were skeptical of this movie or any of these other movies from the outset, and that I was willing to put much more slack in the rope for Spielberg then the average person because of everything he's done. Frankly, I don't recall if it was around for Lincoln, War Horse, or Tintin, but it wouldn't surprise me. I think there's a huge chunk of people that have been told since childhood Spielberg is a master and so, rebelling against the grain, feel the need to assert that Spielberg is overrated (and lazy) as though no one has had this thought process before, and seemingly non cognizant of the actual path of his career where he's basically totally inverted upon who he used to be. When you're literally one of the most famous people in the world, such a backlash to the very concept of you is probably inevitable.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#183 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:54 am

I didn't feel that buzz for Bridge of Spies and The Post - not trying to make this an ongoing tug of war, to continue your rope analogy, but your defensiveness of someone who doesn't necessarily need the energy you put into your defense might be clouding things a little bit (and it might not, it's just the way I'm perceiving things). Bridge of Spies had a lot of buzz around the screenplay by the Coens and the excitement of seeing that executed by someone with the effortless talent and lack of pessimism of Spielberg. And then The Post had almost absurd early buzz (might as well cancel the Oscars now, look at that cast and fillmmaker and topic, etc), was initially being propped up (at least by critics I follow) as the frontrunner for Best Picture once they saw early screenings of it, and then it wasn't until it released that the balloon sort of emptied and everyone sort of forgot about it. That is sort of the opposite of an initial skepticism, at least as I perceived it.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#184 Post by Ribs » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:05 am

I mean, I don't really think the "cancel the Oscars now - look at that cast!" is positive, per se, but rather "this looks boring and prestige-y and safe." I think Bridge of Spies did have a negative cloud around it from pretty much the moment it was trailed (which it deserved, considering it was trailed very poorly), so I'd have to disagree with you there: it definitely felt to me like there was a lack of excitement and general fatigue around it altogether until its somewhat unexpected positive notices. Unlike this movie, it didn't get hundreds of thinkpieces written about it everytime anything adjacent to it was announced or released (and this movie's not gotten quite the same level of enthusiasm as the earlier film after people saw it), which changes the dynamics a bit, but I don't think the suggestion that it and the Post had a bit of fatigue and "ugh, Spielberg" attached is that crazy. Again, I don't blame people for feeling the way they do, but I think a lot of it spawns from a general misreading of the shape of Spielberg's career and a lot of his decisions since he won the Oscar.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#185 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:16 am

You certainly have the more difficult task, which is playing the world's smallest violin for the most successful filmmaker of all time, but I'd still contend that despite some of your perceptions, these films were received far more warmly than they would have been were they directed by someone not named Steven Spielberg. I mean, War Horse made like $80 million at the domestic box office, as did The Post - would these films in particular have even made 5 were they not Steven Spielberg films? Whatever microaggressions you might perceive among film critics and film Twitter and so on are made up for a hundredfold by the general filmgoing populace's willingness to see a film that might otherwise have little to no appeal to them because of Spielberg's name brand being attached.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#186 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:27 pm

Ribs wrote:Nolan, similarly, probably doesn't have anywhere near the "green light power" that Spielberg has - while he can make whatever he wants (the story is that WB has designated he and Eastwood as their "whatever they say" guys), I think he's still expected to conform to studio notes, expectations, restrictions, in a way that Spielberg and basically no one else does not.
I get the impression that if anything Nolan has taken on the 'Kubrick spot' for WB more than a Spielberg one, and probably deservedly so since nobody else appears as adept at making big budget mainstream yet intellectually and emotionally satisfying mainstream dramas, shifting genres from action to sci-fi to historical in quite the same way other than Nolan at the moment. (And arguably the sense of 'intellectual remove' makes him more Kubrickian than Spielbergian).

I am just glad that we have two 'heirs to Kubrick' at the moment in Nolan and Jonathan Glazer (Glazer of course having the 'one film every ten years' trait down pat too!)

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#187 Post by Brian C » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:03 am

I'm really surprised to say this, but I actually really enjoyed Ready Player One. Despite being on the edge of 40, I don't really remember the '80s with much nostalgia, and I have almost no patience for random pop-culture call-outs in the first place. I mean, if I want to see the DeLorean from Back to the Future, for fuck's sake I'll just watch Back to the Future, you know?

But I don't really think the movie is really riding on nostalgia at all. The pop-culture references are there because those references mean something to these characters, and perhaps the biggest surprise of all was how naturally they fit into the film's landscape. Take, for example, the Iron Giant, which was featured prominently in the trailers, but in a way that made it look like the Iron Giant just pops up so that people can say, "hey look, it's the Iron Giant!" In the actual movie, though,
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it's actually a homemade avatar lovingly constructed by Aech simply because she's a fan. It actually has meaning from a character standpoint.
Really, the whole movie is like this. The pop-culture stuff tells us something about who these characters are and how they see themselves. It's really not unlike the concept of the "residual self-image" that Morpheus explains in The Matrix. In fact, I thought the movie works best from a basic futuristic sci-fi angle - it builds a plausible version of what an internet virtual reality community would look like, including the relentless drive by corporate forces to monetize it and exploit its users.

I mean, it's not perfect. Over the last third, I felt myself losing patience a bit as the action-movie script contrivances built up. And Parzival really is kind of dull for a lead character - really anyone else from the High Five was more interesting than him. I didn't realize until I was writing this that he's played by the kid from Mud - Nichols got amazing work from him in that movie, but Spielberg makes him basically an empty presence here. Still, though, I could not have possibly guessed when I saw the first trailers for this that it would even be watchable, and as it turns out, I thought it was actually fun to watch.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#188 Post by Daneurism » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:49 am

I wish someone would have shown Mark Rylance, Wayne's World...

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#189 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:55 am

Daneurism wrote:I wish someone would have shown Mark Rylance, Wayne's World...
This reads exactly like a @dril tweet.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#190 Post by Daneurism » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:09 am

mfunk9786 wrote:
Daneurism wrote:I wish someone would have shown Mark Rylance, Wayne's World...
This reads exactly like a @dril tweet.
Hmmm? Genuinely wish someone had told him he was just doing Garth from Wayne's World. Have this feeling Mark Rylance hasn't even heard of it.

I do love dril

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#191 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:12 am

It's honestly entirely because of the placement of your comma. Just ignore me. I just adore the texture an oddly located bit of punctuation can give a declarative statement. Your point was clear.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#192 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:16 pm

Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski Warns That Directors of Photography Are Losing Control of the Images They Shoot
"To some degree, it's not moviemaking for me," he added of some of the CG techniques used in 'Ready Player One.' ... "There are too many cooks in the kitchen," lamented Kaiminski, who has been working with Steven Spielberg for three decades, most recently on Ready Player One. "So far the results are good, if you have a good chef, like Steven [Spielberg]. But the moment the director is not involved, [the cinematographer loses] control of the image."

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#193 Post by Luke M » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:14 pm

I was just remembering there’s a part in Ready Player One where Rylance says his favorite character to play in Goldeneye was Oddjob and I can still hear the “oh, fuck you” I made in my head.

Anyone who played as Oddjob is a cop.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#194 Post by cdnchris » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:20 pm

My son was bugging me to see this so I ended up taking both of the kids to it and was surprised by how much fun I had, especially since I was expecting a steaming turd. It's vapid and I don't know if there was much of a point:
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It seems odd that the lesson(s) may be around "live your real life" and/or don't "live in the past or obsess over your regrets" but the heroes choose to keep the Oasis in place after being given a way to delete everything (though I guess turning it off on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a happy compromise...?)
But whatever, it was decent popcorn entertainment and really flew by.

I was also surprised by the references my kids did get. They didn't know who Chucky was, but they got all the key references, the Iron Giant, King Kong, and even
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The Shining! When the one character goes into room 237 I heard my daughter say "I hate this part" while covering her eyes. I was stunned and whispered to her "you've seen The Shining!?" And she said "yes! This is where the girl is in the bathtub!" I was pretty horrified and haven't quite found out how she saw it. My son only knows of it from the Simpsons parody (so he didn't know that sequence), though I don't know how much better that is. So yeah, I'm a shitty parent. (They also got the Alien reference.)

It's odd Spielberg chose that sequence to recreate, where the maze, or even just being chased by a crazed man with an axe would have been more video game centric I would think. But I had a laugh over how the sequence was being framed.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#195 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:52 am

cdnchris wrote:
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...It's odd Spielberg chose that sequence to recreate, where the maze, or even just being chased by a crazed man with an axe would have been more video game centric I would think. But I had a laugh over how the sequence was being framed.
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I believe Spielberg was limited by rights issues. Clearly, he wasn't allowed to show Nicholson, so he had to build something around the iconic imagery without showing the lead actor. While the hedge maze does play a brief part in the sequence, a longer segment placed there would only draw attention to the absence of Jack Torrence.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#196 Post by MongooseCmr » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:49 pm

Luke M wrote:This one really didn’t work for me. I actually came close to walking out in the first 20 minutes. It was hard to invest anything into the CG version of the characters. There’s a race scene near the beginning and it has zero emotional weight to it. The designs of the CG characters are so plain they come off like dollar store Avatar. The movie gets better as the real world actors get more screen time. Though Lena Waithe deserves so much better than the cheesy lines she’s given. The references don’t land with any kind of impact. Even The Shining scene only got a few chuckles in my theater.

Others may get more out of it, but to me it was a dud.
I left after The Shining scene. I really have to question the tastes of anyone that tried to sell that as a saving point of the film. It’s the most egregious “I know that and I clapped” part that people hated the film for before it was even out (and from the half of it I saw there’s surprisingly few empty references like that), but because it appeals to movie nerds instead of 80s pop culture geeks it seems like people totally bought it.

Olivia Cooke is great in this though, the one actor to sell the mocap/voice acting at all. The rest have that detached fake enthusiasm you hear in video games or anime dubbing, but she manages to put so much charm into her ugly cgi avatar and make it seem effortless by comparison. TJ Miller’s performance on the other hand ranks above bomb threat and below sexual assault on his recent list of crimes.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#197 Post by barryconvex » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:54 am

With a couple exceptions i've never really been sold on Spielberg as artist. Spielberg as tech geek though is a different story and this movie is so up his alley he might as well have been looking over Cline's shoulder as he wrote it. Give a technical genius carte blanche and this is what you get- as fully formed an alternate reality as a series of images could possibly suggest. I love movies that can create a space that i want to live in and while Ready Player One is too dopey to really adore, The Oasis is...man. Is it any wonder the citizens of dreary future USA spend all their time there?

If you want to switch off your brain and look at kool stuff for a couple hours boy, is this the movie for you. Along the way there's the typical boy/girl stuff and breaking into this and stealing that and the evil overlord intent on stopping the good guys and it's all innocuous enough but i don't believe for a second Spielberg actually gives a shit about any of that. It's there because it has to be there, he could do those parts in his sleep. Any director could. But If he's inspired by a challenge? Let out the leash, get out of his way and you'll get the opening of Saving Private Ryan, or the last forty minutes of Jaws, or the T-rex sequence in Jurassic Park, or the opening race scene and the closing battle in RPO. These are easily two of Spielberg's greatest achievements and worth the price of admission. He might be addicted to schmaltz and allergic to drama but there are things, even all these 45 years into his career, that he can still do better than anybody.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#198 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:02 am

"We estimate we can sell up to 80% of the individual's visual field before inducing seizures"

Spoilers:

I thought that it was very amusing that the first thirty minutes or so of the film run through almost all of the imagery that was shown in the trailers. In a world in which trailers seem to spoil all of the big moments of a film from the very beginning it was nice to be surprised again, not least by what was done with the big new filmic reference that occurs in the mid-section.

I really liked this and it captures a lot of the core themes of Cline's book, whilst also subtly weighting things a bit more towards an optimistic vision where the characters face a lot of trials but they are not quite as harrowing as they feel in the book, making it a good case study of adaptation. Mostly because the film is much more of a love story that helps to make the real world more livable in (which dampens down some of Wade's more abrasive aspects of chasing after a girl who may or may not have any interest in him, because the feeling is mostly mutual from the very beginning. Also the friendship aspect is much stronger in the film compared to everyone being out for themselves, even with Parzival and Aech having their friendship strained, until the final coming together for the collective action climax. Amusingly even the bad guys have friends in the film, with I-R0k being wonderfully upgraded from just a school bully in one early scene of the book to a full on henchman buddy figure, which any true villain needs! Contrasted with the real world counterpart of F'Nale. When even the baddies have companions the character's lives cannot ever be as lonely and isolated as they are allowed to get in the book!), and also because many of the darker things that Wade faces have been transferred over to Art3mis/Samantha.

Perhaps it is intended mostly to be a way to build Art3mis's backstory up a bit more, which does work for the film by having her reckon with indentured corporate servitude for debt repayment as her father did before her (exorcising the trauma that he never could in some ways), but in having her face almost all of the real world danger, as well as seemingly being the head of an underground resistance movement (with a member sporting an unfortunately highly recognisable facial tattoo, which seems a problem in trying to keep the organisation low key! At least have someone else go out to buy the metaphorical vegetables! In the sense that the bunch of carrots seem intended to pointedly contrast with the overcrowded urban world. With the introduction of the resistance group, we also get roof gardens and greenery appearing in the real world for the first time) that arguably means that Wade is left as almost a hero more by default, and becomes heroic more because of the friends he has around him than by particularly having to face his own demons. Art3mis even gets the equivalent of the real world meet up scene with Aech and the other members that was originally Wade's in the book! And she also takes on the key role that in the book was played by the Johnny 5 robot from Short Circuit! In the end Art3mis is the main action heroine of the film, if just in practical terms of doing almost all of the important actions.

However Wade still faces the real world drone strike that kind of does him a favour in both book and film. Whatever Happened To Aunt Alice anyway? Wade feels a bit guilty about her in the book whilst both the aunt, or "my mother's sister" as Wade tellingly calls her later on (the familial affection being at one extra remove), and the latest abusive boyfriend are relatively untroublingly gone post-explosion in the film, as Wade gets kidnapped by the resistance movement (its sort of as if it is what allows him and Samantha to bond as now they have both lost family). But suddenly being part of an extant organised resistance movement means that Wade does not really have to face going on the run and having to rebuild his life alone and anonymously in another city, where escaping to the OASIS becomes even more important as the only place where he actually is somebody, and is even a celebrity (it is also another example of the 'real world' being scary in terms of geography, emphasising the literal distance between people compared to the online world. Everything is geographically compressed in the film, that somehow makes everything 'easier' to navigate in a practical way). Instead the film brings the action back to the Stacks, allowing both for Wade to return 'home' (strangely like the end of the War of the Worlds remake) as well as for Sorrento to come face to face with the real people in the real location he committed, or at least signed off on, a real world atrocity to take place in (the explosion in the Stacks with Wade walking away from the wreckage literally ashen-faced, could also be another veiled Spielberg 9/11 reference post his War of the Worlds remake. And we literally get Sorrento equated with the alien ships of the 1953 War of the Worlds at one point). The book is much colder and detached regarding the idea of 'community', even online, and once Wade leaves the Stacks and his home town for the anonymous big city (eventually to become a literal nameless drone to a corporation, even if just for a short time), he will never return. By contrast, in the film he rallies his community together to face the corporation, both everyone online as well as those others who also live in the Stacks.

Also the High Five are separated off in different cities, as well as different continents in the book and are only able to be brought together by the intercession of a benevolent corporation rather than a nefarious one (Ogden Morrow has a much bigger behind the scenes guiding role in the book, though it is still there to some extent in the film) is another point that is there but rather muted as a theme within the film, along with the ideas that really everyone from the lowliest anonymous player with the free to play version of the game to the besuited corporate drones with their state of the art VR-rigs (which does get used for some fun moments in the film!) are acting within something much bigger than themselves - the ideological battle for corporate control turned into one for the future of the online universe, but also with the sense that Wade Watts and Nolan Sorrento could be any archetypal hero or villain. I suppose though that the idea that the lead hero and villain of the tale are not particularly special in themselves (more the avatar for the interests of others) cannot really be heavily made in a film that actually has to function as a blockbuster fantasy film as well! Though also I think the film hints at their similarities by having Sorrento's avatar seemingly modeled after the burly early look of Superman with the cowlick and Art3mis briefly putting Parzival in a Clark Kent disguise! Interestingly Wade also notes at one point that one of Halliday's favourite quotes was by Lex Luthor, which turns all three characters into a trinity and adds to the sense that Halliday might be a flawed creator figure! (Weirdly the 'trinity' in the book is Parzival, Aech and Art3mis, while in the film the implicit connections are more between Halliday, Sorrento and Wade, fighting for control of the direction of the system, which perhaps might be a telling philosophical change from collective action towards the primacy of individual consciousness and will of a figurehead moulding the general direction of a social system from the top down)

A lot of the economic elements of the book that fleshed out the world are subtly different too. The idea that everyone has to work and go to school in the OASIS whether they want to or not, and that making the online space a subscription only one would isolate everyone from not just the entertainment and socialisation aspects but also from actually being able to be employed or educated too (literalising the haves and have nots) and that is what makes fighting for freedom of access to the online world as a right for all so important is almost completely gone in the film to the OASIS being mostly just a place where people can "spend their time" (which is an interesting choice of words in itself!) and arguably people do not need the OASIS just for day to day existence in the same way. In the film it is more about selling advertising and microtransactions to annoyingly clutter up a user's experience rather than totally isolating users from being able to interact with the system (in that sense the target of criticism has changed its focus from subscription MMOs like World of Warcraft that 'addict' players into entirely living within their created universes, which aside from WoW have all mostly gone free to play anyway now; through free to play games in general which not so subtly suggest that it is probably necessary to buy tons of extra stuff to have the 'true' experience, and the concern about kids playing a 'free' game that they then end up spending all of their parent's money on; into something more like EA's games that you buy initially but which also feature microtransactions and lootboxes! This interestingly feels as if it reflects changing concerns in the video game sphere between the release of the book and film). Which itself plays into the slightly too underlined ending (the equivalent of the underlined ending of The Post!) in which we are told that people can make do without the online world, if only for two days a week! I guess that at least they kept the big 'OFF' button in there without using it! (A recent example of a film taking the rather blunter 'press the OFF button for the good of all, whether they like it or not' approach is the climax of that Bruce Willis film Surrogates)

It also loses that aspect of each of the three keys being prototypes of new products that Halliday is getting people to posthumously playtest for him before release to the wider public (which will also push the company forward into new world dominance in the various fields). Instead it is about exploring Halliday's regrets in his own life which takes precedence. This is probably understandably altered for a Spielberg film, where more intimate friendships and a love story takes precedence here over the economic wide scale impact ones.
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But that does lead to the best alteration moment of the film, with the temptation to sign the contract in a room full of riches exchanged for Halliday's childhood room, which is this film's equivalent of the ending of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the choice there of the simple carpenter's cup over the jewel encrusted chalice. Luckily Sorrento did not get there first and dissolve into a pile of dust by choosing wrongly!
Though I should emphasise that I do not think any of these changes were really for the worse, more that it is still more than worthwhile to read the book as well as watching the film. I think that if I have any criticism of the film it is that the Alan Silvestri score sometimes seems a bit too perky for some of the more dangerous moments, and kind of feels as if it quotes from Stuart Little too obviously! But in a film about other media being reformed into something new, it seems fitting for Silvestri to quote a little from his own themes! But whilst the score is orchestral and lush and works, I think there would have been a great opportunity here for some other musical styles as well, especially as there is quite a vibrant subgenre of 8-bit games being given modern remixes, which would really have fit well with the themes of the film. I am not that familiar with the retro game remix culture myself but recently went through Retro Gamer Magazine's cover CD of themes such as Lightforce, Ghouls'n'Ghosts and Galway Is God, etc, and would have been very impressed if music like that had showed up in the film! (Though it was amusing to hear Twisted Sister's "We're Not Going To Take It" song used in the film, particularly since a cover of it also recently appeared in the end credits of Wolfenstein II!)

However the film still captures that sense of a being a love letter to a creator of pop culture worlds with the suggestion that, as with all of the clashing together brands being used as avatars (I cannot remember if this was in the book, but it came as a surprise to find out that Daito's avatar is Toshiro Mifune! Which of course leads to that astonishing media mash up of imagery in the final fight of Mifune jumping out of the Serenity ship before transforming into a Gundam mid-fall, all to battle Mechagodzilla!), perhaps better than the threat of punishment for copyright infringement and misuse of intellectual property, is for people to at least spend a moment to acknowledge the hand of the original creator in the work that they love and has inspired them so much, and which they then use to build upon for their own purposes. Whether that is acknowledging that Adventure was designed by Warren Robinett or that Spielberg directed the film from Cline's book.

I suppose the main lesson that I took from the film though was that we might think that suits with haptic feedback crotches would sound like a lot of fun, but they end up causing nothing but trouble!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:55 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#199 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:23 pm

By the way, I have a potentially subversive reading of the ending of the film that might be similar to those tantalising theories about where Minority Report 'truly' ended and adds a bit of darkness to an otherwise more upbeat tale.
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In the book, there is really no question about Halliday having entirely planned out the three quests with Ogden Morrow drawn into adjudicating the game after Halliday's death to ensure the game is played fairly whilst keeping his distance. In the book Morrow actually does break the rules to some extent when things look at their absolute bleakest for everyone by gathering the High Five together and jetting them to his private home, making sure that they are guarded in the real world whilst they fight their online battle for the future of the OASIS. So he does intercede in events in the final section, and in doing so reveals that he has been monitoring the High Five since they appeared on the leaderboard. But other than that acknowledgement of where his true interest lie by saving the youngsters from being crushed by IOI, Morrow feels much more of a distant neutral observer in the book, being unable to do much more than prepare them for the trials and final battle.

Whilst in the film Ogden Morrow only appears in the present in the final scene of congratulating the High Five on their achievement after the final battle has been won, and otherwise just makes fleeting appearances in archive footage, often seeming a lot more animated than Halliday. As in the book Morrow says that he was kept entirely in the dark by Halliday as to what would happen in the contest, and indeed he seems a much more absent figure in the film. Just a guy to congratulate them, get them to sign a contract and have Wade tell him that he was "Halliday's Rosebud".

But what if that was actually completely wrong? What if the entire contest was not about Halliday's feelings of guilt over his old friend and lost love, but could Morrow in the time since Halliday died actually have changed the nature of the game into being about those ideas by himself? Has Morrow actually created the game rather than Halliday?

I am thinking this mostly because everything revolves around Ogden Morrow in some way that the trials in the book never really did - the clue to driving backwards comes from a tossed away comment by Halliday in the post-party piece of archive footage (which the Curator, later revealed to be Morrow himself, pointedly lets continue onwards past the point that Wade tells him to stop it, so that he can hear the clue as he is walking away); the second quest revolves around the woman that Halliday took on a first date to a horror film and presumably afterwards a terrible dance that gets adapted into a zombie-like dancefloor moment that the player (acting as surrogates for Morrow?) have to wrestle her away from to claim for themselves; the final quest involves the moment of being offered the contract in the room full of riches that Wade correctly guesses is Halliday buying out Morrow's share of the business from him.

Has Ogden Morrow actually created the contest, rather than Halliday? Halliday has the taped speech at the opening that announces the contest after his death, but at the end when Wade meets Halliday in his childhood room, he says that it is not really him and asks who he is in actuality. While he gets no answer, it is probably Morrow, and if he can appear in the form of Halliday at the end of the contest, surely he could have appeared as Halliday at the very beginning to start it all off as well! (And that makes some of Halliday's more strange character quirks, such as announcing his death from his coffin, or emphasising that point about driving backwards "because Bill & Ted did it", almost talking directly to the camera that is recording the memory in that moment, and so on seem strangely fake because they are actually someone playacting as their lost friend! Maybe projecting and putting all of their love and annoyances towards their long lost friend into their playing of him)

And of course the Curator/Morrow is the one who insists on Wade getting the extra life quarter, which becomes crucial later on!

That for me complicates the straightforward story fascinatingly. Is Morrow creating the contest to preserve Halliday's legacy, or to subvert it? (After all, we never hear Halliday's response to the youthful Sorrento's ideas of monetising the OASIS! Maybe he was all for it!) Or was he trying to create a kinder and softer version of Halliday to show that their friendship meant as much to him as it did to Morrow? (Sort of as if Steve Wozniak was telling the story of Steve Jobs that suggested Jobs was not a corporate figure first and foremost, but actually has Wozniak's best intentions at heart all along!)

And that makes that moment when Wade speaks to Morrow at the end and confidently tells him that the contest proves beyond all doubt that Ogden was "Halliday's Rosebud", the long held regret of a lost friendship, deliver even more powerfully. Simon Pegg plays it well by having that moment of having a hitch of emotion at hearing that, which works movingly in the 'standard interpretation' of the moment as Morrow coming to the realisation of his old friend having always cared for him. Yet it also feels just as powerful if we think of it as someone who has manufactured a contest to achieve that aim of being told that his friend cared for him, and on being told the same by Wade he either finally has all of his hard work pay off, or realises the utter hollowness of having manufactured the moment when Halliday had never told him that in real life ("Jim always said that the OASIS was never supposed to be a one player game"). That flicker of emotion becomes less transcendent and more devastating then.

In some ways Ogden Morrow is the Willy Wonka figure here - a touchingly naive romantic living inside a world of his own creation, not Halliday. A person making bets as to the outcome of events but the other player went and died on him, so he has to play on by himself until someone solves the contest and brings it to a final end.
Anyway, that is just my pie in the sky interpretation, probably arising from just wanting to add a dash of darkness back to the proceedings, and probably kicked off by noting the changes made to the contest from the books that likely were just as much to provide a stronger emotional structure to the various quests. So it may just be my own cynical projection onto things than anything intentional, but I like that the film seems open enough to allow that kind of interpretation, if one so wishes! But it also kind of makes sense of the section of Spielberg referencing, and reinterpreting, Kubrick if we see it as another version of a visionary creator who is now dead, having their body of work being tinkered with by a colleague in order to better fit it into their worldview!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:56 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

#200 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:16 pm


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