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Re: Ready Player One reviews

Posted: Thu May 17, 2018 1:49 pm
by Mister Tee
I wouldn't say I have a wildly higher opinion of this film than BJ or Precious Doll, but I have to emphatically disagree on one point: I think it is hugely enhanced by its being directed by Spielberg and not one of the many directors who've headed up the Marvel/DC films of the past decade. On the level of kinetic and graphic energy, this is by far the most fun "summer movie" I've seen in a long time. The visuals are deeply detailed and perfectly framed, and the pacing is for most of the way exceptional. After the dreariness of the BFG, I'm pleased to see Spielberg still has it in him to make something old school like; I'd say it's his most purely entertaining work since...what?...Minority Report?

But there's always been a contradiction in Spielberg's career, one that the younger among you haven't had to confront as directly as those of us who've followed his career from the start (and absorbing the early critical skepticism): he may be one of the most prodigiously talented directors to emerge in the past half-century, but the shallowness of his understanding of human nature has always limited him to rather impersonal genres -- largely, fantasy and history. Even his most acclaimed "adult" works -- Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, maybe Lincoln -- have been triumphs on the epic scale but something less when dealing in human emotions (the most criticized elements of Schindler and Ryan were the reaches for emotion in the closing reels). As for his fantasy efforts, even the greatest among them -- E.T. above all -- while they engage narratively on a deep visceral level, they also offer a nagging sense that the story being told is fairly routine kids' stuff, and that it's only the director's extraordinary cinematic gifts that are managing to camouflage the shortfall. (And when the films don't work -- like Hook or The BFG -- the failure is glaring.)

Which is to note that, at a certain point in Ready Player One, even while I was immensely enjoying the visual imagination on display, and was caught up in the narrative momentum, I was reminded that this was a fairly formulaic structure -- that the hero would of course eventually capture all three keys, that he'd beat the villains (though they'd of course appear at regular intervals to represent temporary obstacles), and that he'd capture the heart of the pretty girl in a way that a pre-adolescent might imagine: with a pure, sex-not-involved eternal love. It actually struck me that, in a way, it's appropriate the film is centered on video games, because what Spielberg and Lucas created in the 70s -- what they soon led the entirety of Hollywood into making industry standard -- was pretty much the equivalence of movies to video games: impersonal, game-like stories where winning is everything and the pretty girl is the door prize. So, even while I was relishing Spielberg's display of talent here (the film has way more energy than your average septuagenarian could muster), this reminder of his long-time limitations, and what it's done to movies over my lifetime, got in the way of purer pleasure.

Two small things: the visual effects are, to me, as good as I've seen outside of Blade Runner in this decade. And Mark Rylance, with as little as he had to do, brought the most human touch to the film -- his general befuddlement caught the essence of the reluctant genius in very small strokes.

Re: Ready Player One reviews

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:20 pm
by The Original BJ
Ready Player One seems like the kind of material that's tailor-made for Spielberg, at least in terms of what we think of as old-school Spielberg -- it's an adventure film set in the future, featuring as its central character a young man who has lost both of his parents (natch), that almost seems to be grappling in a fairly meta way with the legacy of popcorn entertainment that Spielberg himself ushered in. And yet, there was a moment during one of the film's (plentiful) fight scenes when I thought, this doesn't FEEL like a sequence that only Spielberg could have directed; it feels like something any action director from one of these extended universe sagas could have mounted just as adequately. And so I end up agreeing with Precious Doll -- this is a movie that has an engaging enough premise (solve the puzzle created by a mastermind before he perished), that's watchable for a while on the strength of its visuals (there's a good bit of wit and imagination in the creation of The Oasis), but just doesn't feel inspired enough to justify its really excessive running time, and simply doesn't go in narrative directions that provide the sense of wonder or emotional impact of Spielberg's best early works.

And I don't think I've seen a single other movie whose content relies as heavily on references to OTHER pop cultural touchstones. Some of these are cleverly incorporated -- I, too, got a kick out of The Shining sequence -- but the movie becomes pretty quickly overwhelmed by its mish-mash of references in a manner that makes it feel more like a stale regurgitation of '80's pop culture than anything fresh. And given that one of my least favorite forms of cinema is anything that makes me feel like I'm watching someone else play a video game...I grew tired pretty quickly of a film where that is the LITERAL concept.

I also found the film's general theme -- that people need to spend less time in the virtual world and more time in the real one -- a bit of an odd fit for its subject. This is a film that plops you into a virtual world for two and a half hours -- a world whose pleasures rely on excessive knowledge of countless other forms of entertainment -- and spends the bulk of its running time making the case for how much of a blast this all is. That (for me) it fails to make that case -- I left the theater eager to engage with real people, and exhausted by CGI fight scenes -- seems a pretty unintended way for the movie to advance its main idea.

Re: Ready Player One reviews

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:33 am
by Precious Doll
I had seen a trailer for this back when I saw Spielberg's The Post in January. My reaction was simply WTF and a groan because Spielberg was directing which meant I felt obliged to go and see it.

Well, it fairly watchable for the first 80 minutes or so but wears out it's welcome. I got sick of the amount of time spent in the virtual world and would have preferred more time with the actual characters in the real world of 2045. The 80's film and musical references were by and largely ho-hum, though the extended "The Shining" sequence was amusing.

I'm lousy at predicting box office but this is going to struggle to make a profit on a budget of $175 million. Aside from fans of the book & Spielberg (I'm neither) I can't imagine anyone else much wanting to sit through it and it is a long 140 minutes.

Visually impeccable, all that budget is up there on the screen but such a nothing in the end. Less than 20 people at an early evening screening the day before a Public Holiday is not a good sign and to add insult to injury The Death of Stalin was playing in the cinema next store to a packed house.

Re: Ready Player One reviews

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:56 pm
by ksrymy
Franz Ferdinand wrote:[W]hite males between 25-40 who will shriek with delight when they see the Delorean and Batmobile and E.T. and Michael Jackson and 80's ephemeral pop culture references - and fall into a sugar-rush stupor by the 45th minute. A four-quarter hit like Black Panther this will not be.

Goddamn, you nailed that. The book was trash as well, but the movie looks like it's ramping up the references to an even higher level; it looks like nothing more than, "Hey! Do you remember ThunderCats? We have those! Do you remember Ninja Turtles? Man, those were rad! Oh, but look over here! It's the Iron Giant! Whoa!"

I can't wait to hate-watch this garbage. If I had no class, I'd do what I saw on a friend's Facebook post: loudly whisper to your friend throughout the movie but do so making only incorrect references. When the DeLorean comes on screen, go, "Oh my God, it's Knight Rider!" When The Iron Giant comes on screen, say, "Ah. It's Chappie."

Re: Ready Player One reviews

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:02 pm
by Okri
Yeah, this movie is ripe for an "edit out the guys" cut

Re: Ready Player One reviews

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:47 am
by Franz Ferdinand
I'm still ready for the adaptation of this horrendously-written novel to get generally mediocre reviews and do middling box office, especially since these reviews scan as less than enthusiastic - but maybe that's just wishful thinking. How big is the market for a movie that just endlessly regurgitates aging fanboys' childhood nostalgia at them? I suppose we will find out.

Either way, I can't see this movie appealing beyond a very limited audience of Millennials or Xennials or whatever we are called: white males between 25-40 who will shriek with delight when they see the Delorean and Batmobile and E.T. and Michael Jackson and 80's ephemeral pop culture references - and fall into a sugar-rush stupor by the 45th minute. A four-quarter hit like Black Panther this will not be.

Ready Player One reviews

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:09 pm
by Mister Tee
Hard to trust the fanboy reactions out of SXSW, but these legit reviews suggest it'll be a hit. ... ew-1093639 ... 202723649/