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Ready Player One

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I thought Ready Player One was a fairly entertaining novel, mainly as a nostalgia trip, but I never imagined Steven Spielberg directing it.

 

 

The novel, published in 2011, is set in a not-too-distant future where advanced Internet, gaming and virtual reality technologies have changed the world as we know it and led to the creation of the Oasis, a virtual reality universe that people live in and value more than the real world.

...

“We are thrilled to welcome Steven back to Warner Bros. We had an historic series of collaborations in the 80s and 90s and have wanted to bring him back for years,” said Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures. “As for “Ready Player One,” we have always felt that Steven was the dream director for this project.”

 

The novel also appropriates a bunch of 70s and 80s video games, and I wonder if they'll get the rights to all of them for the movie.

 

Robert Zemeckis and Christopher Nolan had also been rumored directors.

 

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Excellent! This adaptation would only work with a really high budget, and I assume that Spielberg would command such resources. I could see all the rights issues being a problem here as there are tons of 80s properties scattered throughout the book.

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I thought Ready Player One was a fairly entertaining novel, mainly as a nostalgia trip, but I never imagined Steven Spielberg directing it.

 

 

Seems like there are so many announcements of what Spielberg is directing next that all I ever do is imagine him directing things. It'll be good when he actually gets around to directing something. 

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I thought Ready Player One was a fairly entertaining novel, mainly as a nostalgia trip, but I never imagined Steven Spielberg directing it.

Seems like there are so many announcements of what Spielberg is directing next that all I ever do is imagine him directing things. It'll be good when he actually gets around to directing something.

Bridge of Spies comes out this year, doesn't it?

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M. Leary wrote:
: I could see all the rights issues being a problem here as there are tons of 80s properties scattered throughout the book.

 

But if there is anyone who can make the keepers of copyrighted back catalogues open their vaults for the purposes of shared nostalgia, it's Spielberg. (Remember Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the film that brought Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse together onscreen for the one and only time ever? Spielberg was a producer on that one.)

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Comic Con Trailer

So I'm hoping this will be fun, it -looks- a lot of fun, but also it looks badly lighted and not very colorful. Also just perhaps a complete assault on the senses of pop culture icons fighting other pop culture icons. Could just be the trailer is not very well made since it is just for Comic Con.

Felt somewhat Zach Snyder meets Michael Bay for a minute or two. But I'm trying to hold out hope it has good story and plotting and isn't just cgi assault since it's Spielberg. Don't flop this Spielberg, please

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My friend who is a published science fiction writer hated the novel. I saw some excerpts floating around on Twitter the other day, and if they're accurate, I can imagine why. The worst kind of pop nostalgia pandering. I love Spielberg, but I can't work up any enthusiasm for this. Probably because I also despise gamer culture.

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If this is a big pop-culture mash-up, I wonder if in some ways it might be comparable to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which Spielberg produced. (Spielberg was instrumental in sweet-talking Warner Brothers and other companies into letting their animated characters appear in a Disney movie.)

Someone on Twitter quipped that Warner Brothers had no idea how to market The Iron Giant when it came out 18 years ago, so it seems a little odd that they're now basing *another* film's marketing campaign, in part, on imagery from that film.

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Well, that certainly looks headache inducing.  Sort of Speed Racer meets Transformers meets World of Warcraft to equal a Tron knockoff.  No thanks.

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Now see, I loved the novel, but I'm also a full on nerd...who thankfully never got pulled into 4chan/gamergate gamer culture that became part of the Internet conception of gamers. I love the 80's references, and stuff that I loved as a kid, as well as some of the other things that I love more now as an adult. That said my love for the novel, and the portrayal of some characters has mellowed over the years, and Cline's second novel is just really not that good, instead just a rehash of Ready Player One 80's culture references with plot from Last Starfighter/Enders Game and far less interesting characters. Not a fan.

It's kind of that thing where you love a thing before thinking about it too much and then you read a lot of valid criticism of it, and you almost feel a little bitter...but know they're right. You kinda want to rebel and still love it a little. And I do. It's a good story. Not as great as I once thought, but not terrible either. IMO

Edited by Justin Hanvey

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Quote

 

teven Spielberg dropped by Austin last night to introduce the film, which was both pretty terrific and total fan service. Should make a gazillion dollars. My review

 

Quote

I  also had an Atari 2600 and love 80s movies, so Ready Player One is a bit like catnip laced cocaine sprinkled atop crack filled Girl Scout Cookies. You probably can't live on it. It may even kill you. But it will be worth it.

 

Edited by kenmorefield

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Happy you liked it.  I'm also a child of the 80s and had an Atari 2600.... and yet the trailer still underwhelmed me.  I also have a fandango coupon for a (mostly) free ticket.  And yet... that trailer still underwhelmed me, and my time is precious.  On the fence.

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Based on what little I know of you, I expect you would probably hate it.

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So, is Alissa Wilkinson the only film reviewer out there asking these questions?:

"But about three-quarters of the way into the movie, I started to feel extremely uncomfortable, and that discomfort only increased as the movie skidded toward its conclusion. The movie was asking me to root for the heroes — but I wanted nothing more than for them to fail in their quest. And while that could work in a satirical film, Ready Player One is far from satirical. On the contrary, it seemed blithely unaware of how disturbing it was.

Ready Player One is set in a dystopian future. But it seems to have no idea how dystopian it really is.

The year is 2045, and the world has gone to shit. It’s gotten so bad that most people prefer to spend their time in a massive video game called the OASIS, where they engage as characters in various worlds and collect coin, the in-game currency.

We learn all this in voiceover from Wade (Tye Sheridan), a teenage orphan who lives with his aunt in a trailer park and plays in the OASIS as an avatar called Parzival. Wade loves the OASIS. It’s where he’s met his friends and where he spends his days. And no wonder — the real world is a wreck, and everyone in it spends all their time in the OASIS too ...

An early shot in the movie pans across the trailer park where Wade lives, trailers stacked high. Inside each trailer is a person wearing VR goggles and looking kind of ridiculous, because they are in the OASIS, playing games or fighting or whatever.

It’s one of the more frightening things I’ve ever seen in a movie, largely because it’s only a few notches past the world we inhabit now. It’s like a scene from Black Mirror: a world of people so distracted by their shiny technology that they have entirely neglected the stuff of human life. They’d rather just escape into another world, created by a couple of programmers.

To me, that seems transparently dystopian — not that the world is bad, but that nobody cares anymore about fixing it ...

There’s no sense in the film that anyone really should be paying attention to what’s brought their civilization to this place. (Which, for all its described evils, still has the wealth and technology available to deliver piping hot pizzas via drones.)

It sounds overly pedantic to say this, and it probably is, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going on in the world outside the OASIS. Were people starving? Or fearing for their lives? Can everyone afford to have headsets, or does this neglected world include people who have to live in the dystopic ruins without escape? What kind of unrest has driven them into this dystopic state? And why doesn’t anyone think it can be fixed? Isn’t it horrifying that they’ve just left it all behind altogether?

This would be some pretty salient Black Mirror-style warning about technology and bad social systems if it were just left there. The solution would be to see the OASIS destroyed so that people are plunged back into the real world and resolve to change it.

But Ready Player One presents itself as a story about a gang of brave, scrappy heroes who are motivated to save the world — but only the virtual world, the one that keeps them from engaging with what’s really going on in the physical world.

And the movie applauds this. It very obviously wants us to cheer for our heroes as they try to save the OASIS from destruction. I sat watching this all unfold, disturbed by the implication here: that we out in the audience are supposed to be on the side of escape. In fact, we are on its side, engaging in a movie that functions as an escapist fantasy itself."

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Not the only one, over the last few months I've gone from an admirer of this novel and the story therein to a very vocal detractor. In part because of what Alissa points to. Good review, and needed questions.

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*** SPOILERS FROM THE VERY END OF THE MOVIE ***

There comes a moment near the end where I thought -- hoped -- the film was going to go in the direction of telling us that the Oasis shouldn't belong to *one* person, it should belong to *everyone*... but nope, it belongs to one person. And that one person tells us, almost offhandedly, that he decided to shut the Oasis down for two days each week, to force people to deal with the real world (which, for him, means cuddle time with his girlfriend), and I couldn't help but think how outrageous it would be for an entire society to be subject to one person's whims like that.

And yes, I wondered how affordable the gear required to enter the Oasis was supposed to be.

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This movie is so dumb. It has exactly one redeeming feature--one place where I felt actual joy--and that's the journey into The Shining. Everything else? It's the perfect embodiment of all that I hate about nerd culture--the performative interest in trivia, the confusion of reciting trivia with love of a thing, the Romantic view of the Poor Misunderstood Genius who Just Wanted to Make a Cool Thing--and it's all so obvious, so dreary, and so flat.

One problem--and I've mentioned this elsewhere--is that Spielberg is precisely the wrong person to do a movie about nerd nostalgia. When he makes movies that hit his own nostalgia buttons he's generally good. But he made the world these kids are nostalgic for. He's got no reason to particularly feel anything at all for it. 

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I think your second paragraph hits the nail on the head, Nathanael.  I suspect this accounts for much of the film's lack of passion.  It makes me wonder how much of a role in writing the screenplay Cline really had, since his book oozed sincere love for 80s popular culture.

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On 4/2/2018 at 5:32 PM, NBooth said:

One problem--and I've mentioned this elsewhere--is that Spielberg is precisely the wrong person to do a movie about nerd nostalgia. When he makes movies that hit his own nostalgia buttons he's generally good. But he made the world these kids are nostalgic for. He's got no reason to particularly feel anything at all for it. 

David Ehrlich's review makes me wonder if this is a bug or a feature:

- - -

For a director who’s never been shy about his autobiographical streak, this period of Spielberg’s career has almost felt like an act of self-portraiture. He may not have freed the slaves or risked his reputation to defend the First Amendment, but he implicitly understands what it is to know that you’re making history. Few storytellers have ever become so monolithic while they were still alive, and even fewer have been able to watch their legacies take shape before their eyes.

Judging by “Ready Player One,” Spielberg isn’t thrilled about what he’s seeing. As disjointed and (dazzlingly) inert as anything its director has ever made, “Ready Player One” is a lot of different things — many of them contradictory, and the majority of them dull — but most of all it’s an Ozymandian spectacle by an artist who’s reflecting on his works and despairing over what they’ve wrought. It’s a corporate blockbuster about the corporatization of blockbusters, directed by the man who invented blockbusters; more than that, it’s an inherently derivative studio film about the crisis of originality in today’s studio filmmaking, and a sexless orgy of intellectual property that tries, in its too gentle way, to liberate fans from the franchises and iconography they love a little too much for their own good.

With “Ready Player One,” Spielberg is looking at the mainstream movie culture he helped to create, and desperately trying to fix things before it’s too late. Before he’s gone. . . .

“Ready Player One” is a movie about a future where Spielberg is missing, and Hollywood’s profit structures haven’t made it possible for anyone to take his place. This is a story in which the bad guy is a corporate overlord who’s just trying to gain control over the geek universe so that he can exploit it more efficiently, and the good guy is an open-mouthed kid whose only fix to the stale addictiveness of the OASIS is to force everyone to log out for two days each week.

Like the current state of the film business, it’s a fight between the greed of the studios and the naïveté of their audience, and neither side is worth rooting for (at least not in “Ready Player One,” where both factions are completely daft). Wade just wants to play in his virtual sandbox, and villain Nolan Sorrento just wants to price him out of it. Neither side recognizes the raw potential of the OASIS — the pure joy of creation. Neither side has anything to dream about. Everything they know is just a shadow of something that came before it, their lives an emulator for a system that time and negligence has already rendered obsolete. . . .

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Yeah, that was an interesting review. 

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