Gamers vs the Man!
BQB here with a review of “Ready Player One.”
3.5 readers, I went into this movie thinking it would suck…but it didn’t. I love it when that happens, when I got into a movie thinking it will blow goats but instead it blows hot winds of fun into my face.
Anyway…in the future, the world sucks. Poor people live in trailers stacked on top of each other and life sucks so much that people spend all of their time in a virtual world, the OASIS, where they can be anyone and do anything rather than live in the sucky world.
There is a catch – to die means to lose all progress, money, enhancements etc. you’ve made to your avatar, and to start over from scratch. Some have spent so much time building their online personas they’d rather die in real life than begin anew again in the virtual world.
Halliday (Mark Rylance), a socially awkward to the tenth degree nerd who developed the OASIS has died but he’s left an “Easter Egg” in his game, i.e. if a gamer can solve three mysteries, he/she will get three keys to use to unlock…dun dun dun…a prize, that being controlling stock interest in the OASIS (a lot of money plus ability to run the world’s most powerful video game which accounts for a substantial amount of the global economy.
I don’t want to get bogged into the details but suffice to say, I went in thinking this would be a glorified cartoon but instead, found an interesting look at a possible technological future. The better virtual worlds get, will they be able to solve societal problems? After all, few can be all they want to be in reality as they are so many people competing for so few opportunities, but if everyone can be beautiful, awesome, do whatever they want in a realistic virtual game….well, is that a way to make everyone happy or is that a way to keep people from experience reality, as drab as that may be sometimes?
Pop cultural references abound as Halliday was a fan of everything 1980s. The hero of the film Wade/Parzival Tye Sheridan, drives a copy of Marty MacFly’s DeLorean, for example. Somehow, he and his love interest, Art3mis/Samantha (Olivia Cooke) and a band of plucky young players must save the day and defeat Sorrento, owner of IOI, a corporation set up to dump thousands of players into the game for the sole purpose of finding the keys and gaining control of the OASIS for evil purposes.
From a writing standpoint, it’s pretty slick. It makes me want to read Ernest Cline’s novel version to see how he did it. You’ve got human players in the human world and they’re playing in the virtual world. They go back and forth between worlds, almost simultaneously, as sometimes human heroes are trying to save their indisposed friends who are busy playing the game from an attack from real life baddies. It gets very complicated so I’m always curious as to how authors navigate such difficult waters.
One complaint. I hate to sound like an old man, but even though it’s PG-13, the word “fuck” is used. Seriously, what the fuck? It’s used in a joke and the joke lands, ergo it’s not gratuitous but still, are there standards or what? Either “fuck” gets you an R rating or it doesn’t. Further complaint, “shit” seems to be really creeping into PG-13 movies and it’s like, what the hell, either these are movies that families can take their older kids to or they aren’t.
All that said, the movie was fucking good.