Apr 1, 2018

REVIEW: Ready Player One (dir. Spielberg)


'The movie, like the book, is a curious mixture of sugar rush and pop-culture study session: you’re  not sure whether you should be enjoying it or supplying footnotes.  Take the opening race through a virtual New York, with Wade s in   wing-doored DeLorean from Back to the Future —customized with KITT from Knight Rider— going up against, among others, Stephen King’s killer car Christine, the Batmobile and the A-Team van  while a T Rex and King Kong take lunges at them down the cross streets. Your basic rush hour traffic. Wade wins by taking the entire track backwards, which not only summaries the  the  movie’s whole retro ethos  but wins him the  admiration of Artemis. (Olivia Cooke), a svelte anime  hottie with punk-red hair,  although as his buddy Aech (Lena Waithe), says “She could be a 300 guy living his his moms basement in Detroit. Think about it.”  Sure, but don’t think about it too much. As someone says “reality is a bummer” and when Wade’s aunt goes up in smoke nobody bats an eye. This is Spielberg in audience gigolo mode, pleasuring his fanboy base with one climax after another to  a jukebox of hits from Van Halen, New Order and Tears for Fears. That fluttering you can hear is the sound is a million nerd hearts making their way up to heaven. The book’s  page-long encomium to masturbation is gone,  although the suspicion remains that if the global population of OASIS users would have their collective goggles blown off it anyone asked someone on a date. At a nightclub, Parzival and Artemis boogie on down to ‘Staying Alive’ by the Bee Gees on a zero-gravity dance floor,  only for Wade to have his heartfelt declaration of love gatecrashed by an invading fleet of thugs sent by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), head of Innovative Online Industries, a company that wants to turn Oasis into a advertiser’s paddock. Everyone wants to rule the world. But a kiss? That knocks the world off its axis.' — from my Sunday Times review

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