HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
   
 
Newest Articles
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ready Player One Pure Imagination
Year: 2018
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch, Clare Higgins, Laurence Spellman, Perdita Weeks
Genre: Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: In the year 2045 orphaned teenager Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is among millions of impoverished slum-dwellers who escape their harsh lives by plugging into an immersive virtual universe called the OASIS. Created by the late eccentric genius James Halliday (Mark Rylance), the OASIS is a realm of limitless possibilities, inspired by his obsession with Eighties and Nineties pop culture. An imaginary world where gamers like Wade, as his retro-cool hero avatar Parzival, and his mysterious rival/crush Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) can be anyone, go anywhere, do anything in a reality-bending treasure hunt. Whoever finds the three keys unlocking Halliday's fabled treasure shall inherit a trillion dollars along with total control over the OASIS. When Parzival/Wade unearths a vital clue he unwittingly makes himself a target for Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), a ruthless, megalomaniacal tycoon with an army of gamers determined to snag Halliday's treasure and enslave the virtual world. Only Parzival and his friends can stop them. If they can survive.

Perhaps the geekiest story ever told, Ernest Cline's best-selling novel was tailor made for Steven Spielberg. Not least because Spielberg personally shaped a good two-thirds of the Eighties/Nineties pop cultural artifacts with which Ready Player One is so profoundly obsessed. Yet Cline's novel is more than simply a literary 'Where's Waldo?' for nostalgia addicts. Steven Spielberg's rip-roaring adaptation grasps that. For all its popcorn thrills, whiz-bang set-pieces and fan-boy (and girl) references galore, the story of Ready Player One is less about Eighties nostalgia than what geek culture means to the people that form friendships and communities around its light. As with almost every property these days that enters the cultural zeitgeist, Cline's novel has polarized readers. Fans cherish it as a love letter to geek culture's ability to build bridges. Naysayers slam it as a Trump era fable that uses Eighties nostalgia to reclaim white male privilege (c.f. the fan-boy bile directed at so-called SJW elements in contemporary SF and fantasy fare). Which is patently untrue. Spielberg and Cline's vision of the future is multiracial with a strong female presence including a black lesbian character (a stellar turn from Emmy award-winning Atlanta writer Lena Waithe).

Interestingly Ready Player One's concept of pop culture as a sociopolitical force for both good and ill is not dissimilar to that of Masculin Feminine (1966), a film ironically by avowed Spielberg-hater Jean-Luc Godard (wonder what he'd make of that?). In terms of cinematic technique one would argue it is similarly avant-garde. Two thirds of Ready Player One is an animated film. Yet Spielberg pulls off the trick of keeping viewers emotionally invested in the computer-generated avatars. He maintains a breakneck pace delivering action, comedy, pathos, a genuinely sweet love story (Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke continue to impress) and scares. The latter including a masterful sequence recreating a certain iconic horror movie. Spielberg shows off his effortless mastery of varying tones and cinematic styles, juggling dystopian satire, Goonies-style children's adventure, young adult romance, social critique, Godardian post-modernism, Japanese sci-fi pastiche (including a climax that thrilled this lifelong Spielberg fan and J-pop culture obsessive!), and fairy tale. Along the way Cline's script, co-adapted for the screen by Zak Penn, touches on the corporate exploitation of gaming and geek culture, the danger of abandoning reality wholeheartedly for illusion, how real life feeds the imagination and vice-versa, and how fantasy can inspire positive real world social change.

As with the screen adaptation of Jurassic Park (1993), Spielberg re-fashions Cline's dense, intricately detailed novel into a lean, mean thrill machine, sacrificing the odd in-depth back-story along the way. However, such is Spielberg's skill with brisk Howard Hawks' style cinematic storytelling every character emerges a vivid, faceted personality with solid motivations. As Halliday, Mark Rylance, seemingly channeling Dana Carvey as Garth from Wayne's World (1992), emerges a truly tragic figure. The emotional spine of the movie tracks Wade's gradual discovery that Halliday poured not just a lifetime of pop cultural obsession into the OASIS but also real world regret. A realization that impacts his own life choices. As always with Spielberg it comes down to family. Wade Watts is another of Spielberg's orphaned boy heroes who assembles a surrogate family chiefly through his unabashed capacity for love. Sure, Ready Player One has a dazzling set-pieces laden with pop culture cameos and Easter eggs aplenty well worth a second or third viewing. But surprisingly it is a film mostly about love. Love for pop culture yes, but also young romantic love, love of friendship and family. Love for the simple silly pleasures in life wrought by your favourite video game, movie or pop song. And you've got to love a movie that finds multi-layered profundity in a quote from Lex Luthor in Superman II (1980).


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1132 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Steven Spielberg  (1946 - )

Currently the most famous film director in the world, Spielberg got his start in TV, and directing Duel got him noticed. After The Sugarland Express, he memorably adapted Peter Benchley's novel Jaws and the blockbusters kept coming: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Indiana Jones sequels, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, 2005's mega-budget remake of War of the Worlds, his Tintin adaptation, World War One drama War Horse and pop culture blizzard Ready Player One.

His best films combine thrills with a childlike sense of wonder, but when he turns this to serious films like The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich and Bridge of Spies these efforts are, perhaps, less effective than the out-and-out popcorn movies which suit him best. Of his other films, 1941 was his biggest flop, The Terminal fell between two stools of drama and comedy and one-time Kubrick project A.I. divided audiences; Hook saw him at his most juvenile - the downside of the approach that has served him so well. Also a powerful producer.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: