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READY PLAYER ONE (2018) Post-Release Discussion
yooooooou bastard!

I promised a follow-up review once I'd finished digesting it. 

So this seems like simultaneously maybe the best iteration of this concept we could get--Spielberg didn't drop the ball on presenting the material, at least, as everything's well-cast and the performances are good and the special effects are fine--as well as pretty much polishing a turd. You can call Jurassic Park or Jaws scutty potboilers if you want, but there was material there for the Beard to elevate. Here, the material is almost toxic--at one point, the villain tempts the hero with visions of a school system designed entirely to homage Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and the movie doesn't seem to get how dystopian it is to postulate a world not only ruled by pop culture, but the pop culture of someone long dead (and kind of an asshole at that). It especially seems weird when Spielberg gave us Indiana Jones and Star Wars because he COULDN'T do James Bond or Flash Gordon. You'd think the man would have something more to say about decrepit IPs dominating not just pop culture, but ALL culture, besides "corporations bad." If the 90s gave us the world's best and brightest working on how to sell people Coke, the Tens have those who aren't selling Coke working on how to sell people the Lone Ranger--damnit, man, what're your thoughts on THAT?

It also offers the spectacle of Chucky being used as a tactical nuke, but like when I heard the "c'mon, the Hulk fights a giant wolf!" argument in regards to Thor: Ragnarok, I can't be too impressed that with an unlimited budget and an army of talent, someone created a decent trailer moment. Placing that moment inside a narrative good enough for it is what separates the men from the boys.

The review: RPO takes place in a dark, dystopian future in which single-player games have been completely abandoned so that everyone can play an MMO. (shudders) The bad guy wants to take this MMO and put ads in it. Those are the stakes of the movie. Yeah, that would be annoying, sure, but it's a problem that could be solved by people just going out and doing anything else, which the movie itself says is a good idea. So, low stakes. 

But wait, winning the Oasis pretty much gives the user control of the world, which is frankly too high stakes. It makes lovable old trillionaire Halliday look like a fucking sadist that he makes the starving, poverty-stricken world jump through hoops, obsessing over his life, hobby, interests, and (creepily enough) his stalker crush on his best friend's girl, rather than set up some way of using all that money for the good of mankind. 

Yeah, there's suggestions that the game is one big Willy Wonka test of character--which just makes it more frustrating that all the action sequences are basically pointless, because at the end of the day you're really playing a glorified trivia contest on Halliday, which is surely the most solipsistic act any cinema character has ever done--but while Willy Wonkaing the world for control of a chocolate factory is fine, if eccentric... doing the same thing for all of humanity is nutzo. Just give a billion dollars to schools or something, you fuck. Did you really not foresee that anyone would be unscrupulous enough to try and game the system? Isn't all the death and suffering in this movie on Mark Rylance for setting up this dumb contest with impossibly high stakes in the first place? If John Hammond in Jurassic Park was irresponsible for thinking he could get away with making an exotic zoo, how much more so is this clown for playing backgammon with the nuclear launch codes? He's essentially this character, only played entirely straight.

[Image: lmeZ6SD.jpg?2]
But okay, a lot of movies have unbelievable premises. What about the story?

Well, ehh. The heroic Wade Watts falls in love with a girl after two 'dates' and without ever knowing anything about her, or her him, except that he'll entirely forget about his adopted parent's death in the time it takes to find out that his crush is a hot redhead with a mild birth defect. They team up with H, Wade's sassy black best friend (who is a GIRL, so take that stereotypes), and two Japanese guys who really don't contribute anything to the plot or have any characterization, but I guess they're there because nothing's more eighties than Japanese people. Oh, and despite the obvious knowledge that people on the internet are scattered across the globe, all of these five people are within, like, walking distance of Cleveland. What're the odds?

Together--or sometimes not together--they obsessively rake through every detail of Halliday's personal life so he can teach them the posthumous lesson of not obsessing over things and neglecting the real world, because that will get you billions of dollars and... wait... 

Also, for a nerd king, Halliday doesn't seem to have any taste whatsoever. Think of any nerd you know. Isn't there something they absolutely hate, will go into obscenity-laced rants about, will profess endless disdain for? Halliday doesn't seem to have encountered a single piece of media he disliked. This is a man who seems to have liked Star Trek as much as Saturday Night Fever (you know, that famously nerdy eighties film) as much as The Shining. He doesn't even like anything obscure or widely unpopular. You'd think such a huge nerd would champion at least one left-field choice like Deep Rising or Star Trek V or The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The man is as selective as an AMC program listing. Oh, you like Star Wars? Tell us more about your eclectic tastes, you rebel you.

I'm just saying, if this movie wants to postulate a world where everyone is obsessed with one man personally, is it too much to ask that he have a personality?
mmmmm, goes down smooooooth!
I just saw RPO and while its a blast, it is a shallow movie.

I still have a smile on my face thanks to the epic battle at the end of the movie. However until that sequence the movie was just fine. I was enjoying it but it wasn't making that much of an impression on me. The main characters aren't memorable. They never come across as real people, just something to keep the story moving. I did roll my eyes at Wade telling Samantha he loves after they have hung out twice.

That said I can't help but like a movie that has Mechagodzilla in it. The Shining sequence was also fun.
I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is that I have lost my way. The good news is that I'm way ahead of schedule.




the mechagodzilla vs gundam part is actually the one fun part of the final battle!
I liked this a lot even if it's a decidedly cotton-candy weight film.

Thing of it is, Spielberg himself clearly knows this is a cotton-candy weight film and he just so happened to create the gold standard for that particular type of film.

It's him being a big kid and just gushing over all of the pop culture he loved, influenced and informed through a ridiculously competent lens.

As I said on the book of face (and stolen personal data), it's the cinematic equivalent of cake but I like cake and this is very well made cake.
(03-29-2018, 10:53 PM)Nooj Wrote: ANDRE!!!

If there is a chud/trouble city movie, I hope this is the throwaway reference to me.
A little detail that I appreciated was the score did sound like one from a Godzilla movie when Mechagodzilla appeared.

I also enjoyed TJ Miller's voice work in this. I did get a kick out of his avatar looking like someone trying way to hard to be edgy.
I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is that I have lost my way. The good news is that I'm way ahead of schedule.
It's annoying that this has MechaGodzilla in it. Now I have to see it.
Andre! Good to see you, bro.
I didn't hate this.

Favourite easter egg reference was Maggie Weston's E-Frame featuring prominently in two shots of the final battle. ExoSquad was an unexpectedly deep cut and I would really like a reboot/live action adaptation plz.
I saw Annihilation a third time instead. Still awesome!
the empire never ended
well done!
I'm someone who loved the book but can understand the hate it received. I was super excited for the movie more because it was a Spielberg film than an adaptation of the source material.

I will say that during the movie, there were a couple of moments of good old Spielberg magic that felt like the climax might be a fist pumping triumph, I enjoyed it while I watched it, but here I am less than 12 hours later and it's already shrunk in significance in my brain despite the wise changes made to the source material. So I would say it's fun and nothing more and as its Spielberg I guess that disappointing?

Oh and anyone wondering about box office, it was an 8pm show and there were maybe ten people in there....
PSN ID: Numbix2017
Saw in IMAX 2D to about a 1/3rd full theater last night.

I liked it. It's Spielberg with heart and those are the Spielberg movies I like.

I also have a deeply personal connection to the game Adventure, so my love for that moment is probably more than the typical viewer's.
I can't stand to see myself go through the motions, that bring me back into these same old sad emotions.
Seeing this tonight in 3D. Pumped as hell for it.
I'm likely going again tonight.
Just this guy, you know?
Me too. This time, sans kids.
Someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee.

PSN ID: anakinsdad

I went to a 3D showing last night

whoever told me the 3D wasn't anything particularly special? you were right! a very muted stereo conversion!

also, I dozed off after the shining sequence.

there was probably about 10-15 people in my theater? they seemed to enjoy it!
I'm hoping that this '10-15 people in the theater' sightings were mainly due to it being Thursday night.
I'm certain that's exactly what it is.

It's not a marvel or a star war that sells out those first Thursday nights

It'll do well over the weekend
It did $12 million yesterday. For comparison, Into Darkness did $13.5 million on its opening Friday on the way to an $83 million four-day (although that had the benefit of a very popular predecessor and the Star Trek name).
Just this guy, you know?
Almost a third of that $12 million was from its previews Wednesday night, though, which could point to this being fairly frontloaded. It’s hard to really know until Friday numbers come in, though, since few films have a first full day of Thursday.
A lot of people I know didn't even know this was opening on Thursday, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Thursday number reflects that on a larger scale.
Just this guy, you know?
It actually opened on Wednesday (I assume because of the holiday), which isn't typical, so that could play a factor.
No, official opening day was Thursday with Wednesday night previews.
Just this guy, you know?
That's what I meant, I just misunderstood you Smile
Oh, what a movie. My initial thought is that this is a fascinating late career picture for Spielberg, and the fact that he has this in him after making a bunch of movies like Lincoln and Bridge of Spies is remarkable. Also, this is going to prove an absolute bonanza for anyone who wants to examine his films as a larger narrative about Spielberg's personal life. The visionary looking back on what he hath wrot with some ambiguous feelings, in particular, is really interesting. Something farted towards in the book, expanded on quite a bit here.

And yeah, while Jaws and Jurassic Park are great examples of improving through adaptation, those books have much better infrastructure to work with. The do what they can with these characters, but even a really well chosen cast can't elevate these archetypes. It's a much crappier narrative frame to hang itself on.

But the visual world is just fun and appealing in exactly the way it's aiming for, and I have to think about this a little bit, but the very fact that the adventure is such a derivative, quoted version of all these 80s Amblin movies these characters are living in perpetually, paired with Rylance's strange performance as a sad Spielberg analogue kind of make me think there's some very interesting subversive ideas underneath this. Joined with a willingness to just have a blast playing in this sandbox, really indulge in it. It's an interesting movie, and if not quite Starship Troopers, maybe as close as someone like Spielberg comes to it.

And the grace notes are an enormous amount of fun. The Shining is such a delight. I just wish they'd managed to get Jack's likeness. Or the blowjob dog. That would have been quite the coup. If they had to dance their way through blowjob dog to get to the girl, oh man, next level.

My favorite throwaway reference was during the T-Rex attack, they pass by a Movie Theater marquee advertising a Jack Slater film, as in the Last Action Hero, the film soundly crushed by Jurassic Park in the summer of 93. Oh, this fucking movie, they found my wavelength.

Mendo was the most fun. Rylance was a hoot. I really liked TJ Miller too, that character totally worked for me.

I'm a bit surprised what happened with me on this property, as if you look back to the early pages of this thread, I fucking hated the book. Had a lot of contempt for it. Still do, in fact. If this had a better substructure to work from, it could have been absolutely spectacular, but as is, I'm kind of shocked with what they did end up with. Having just watched Pacific Rim 2 and Tomb Raider, this was quite ambitious and crafted in comparison.
Brigadier Cousins on PSN
oh god, I'm about to see this movie I didn't like very much for a third time because I decided it was worth it to hang out with some coworkers!
Nooj after his fifth viewing.
I had a blast with this.

Yes, it's a lot of surface without a ton going on underneath (though I would argue there certainly is some stuff going on underneath, and it's a slight bit more more ambivalent about nostalgia and the online world than I was expecting), however the effortless skill Spielberg displays in staging the various sequences is kind of staggering.  He's 100% still got it, visually, and if he carries this kind of breathless energy into INDY V, we might be in for something quite respectable to close out that franchise.

The performances are all solid-to-great (I find it hard to truly gauge the effectiveness of a mo-cap turn, but I liked the mo-cap characters looks when seen in the context of their scenes), but I think Rylance and Mendelsohn are the standouts.  Both get some nice little moments that provide them with a decent amount of shading.

And that second challenge... my God.  As somebody who utterly loves that particular movie, that sequence was stellar.  The look, the music, everything.  It will surely be one of my favorite scenes of the year.

Silvestri's score was fun, too.  I loved that he managed to incorporate Steiner's original King Kong theme, as well as Ifukube's classic Godzilla theme.  Could have used a touch more BACK TO THE FUTURE, though!

All in all, RPO won't achieve the resonance that Spielberg's best blockbusters have, but as I said on Facebook, I think it's probably the best "pure popcorn mode" movie he's made since JURASSIC PARK.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
When they crash during the first race in the Oasis, a movie theater marquee in the background says "Jack Slater" is playing.

I can't hate any movie that references Last Action Hero.
(03-30-2018, 07:16 PM)madmannixon Wrote: When they crash during the first race in the Oasis, a movie theater marquee in the background says "Jack Slater" is playing.

I can't hate any movie that references Last Action Hero.

There's a JACK SLATER III moment in the "Dreamer" trailer.  Same shot?  Or additional?


Seeing the film tomorrow, finally.  Super-psyched.
I dozed off again!

I wasn't even tired!

gonna put on my avian-avatar for a bit!!

for a movie that's 2 hours and 20 minutes or so (without credits), it feels like it's missing a lot of material that would enrich what the relatively 'deeper' things the movie is going for with Halliday with the ending.  And I'm not talking about plot machinations.  I'm talking about how the story connects Wade's wants and desires to Halliday... so that him tearfully saying "I'm not like Halliday!" actually means something.  

The script kinda tries to do it, but ironically never commits to it because it's too busy trying to not "lose its shit".  As a result, Wade never feels like an actual character.  And I'm not one who's going to buy the "he's like a video game avatar for the audience!" reading.  I didn't buy it when some used it to defend JAKESULLY in AVADAH either.

I mean, in the book Wade as at least an insufferable stand-in for Cline!  That's SOMETHING, I guess.

And since the adaptation took out a bunch of the threat that IOI presented (mostly by making MENDO such a fun goofy villain and not killing off one of Wade's new friends), all of the dramatic life-or-death stakes is completely placed upon Wade's sad aunt and awful boyfriend... who are barely given the kind of connecting moment that makes us at all feel the weight of them being offed.  That's something that the Spielberg of the past would've given some semblance of effort towards.  But nothing here.

And even with the smart choices in adaptation, the movie's handling of Samantha still grates (on top of the usual peeve about a beautiful actor being presented as not obviously appealing).  For as eye-rollingly bad she's handled in the book, the character at least was driven to win the contest herself throughout the story.  But in the movie, she's suddenly telling Wade that he's essentially the one who's going to win... and for no dramatically convincing reason, as his connection to Halliday as an aspirational figure ("you know him better than anyone else!") never really got explored.  And this is right after Samantha is the one who manages to figure out how to solve the Shining challenge.  

So even with the changes in adaptation, Samantha still becomes the GIRL who cheers the hero on to his pre-ordained destiny... and gets to sit on his lap for the final shot.

I don't think the final final test with his refusal to sign the contract works either, since there's nothing to set up that specific dramatic moment.  Because while I've read the book, I'm still not sure of the circumstances behind why Halliday shut Morrow out of the company in the movie to begin with.  Based on what little the movie gives, it almost seems like the unseen history of it is that Halliday tricked Morrow into signing the document that shut him out.  Correct me if I'm wrong there, because it seems like even Morrow is confused about it.

It's too bad too, because I liked what Rylance and Pegg were doing with what little screentime they had together.

And that leads to that ol' Spielberg manipulation machine with Halliday's scene with Wade.  The scene itself is nice because of Rylance.  I just don't "get" why Wade is so incredibly moved to tears over it.  It doesn't help that Wade is never a particularly interesting character.  There never seemed to be anything driving him beyond plot machinations... and even then, since the threat to the real world and its people never feel like anything beyond the generic takeover of EVIL CORPORATION WITH ADS, his call for all users to FIGHT comes across empty and more like he's using the rest of the world as cannon-fodder for his own advantage.

I'm more interested in MENDO's moment where he opens the door to find Wade holding the egg... and MENDO himself takes a moment to stare in awe and smile (before being arrested and punched by his ineffectual henchwoman).  MENDO is so cute in that recording of him as Halliday's intern!

It all kinda leads to me wanting to see a small drama about Halliday, Morrow, and MENDO instead.  


Had the movie stayed more true to its low-sodium-steaks and not tried to push the manipulations, I think that could've been a shorter and more satisfying contest/competition adventure movie that most of you are enjoying it as.  But with what it actually seems to be going for, it feels like it's missing all the stuff in between that warrants such an approach... and as a result, made the movie feel really empty for me.

All the talk about nostalgia and geek references everyone else is going on about?  I found myself not really caring about most of that (aside from the Giant's thumbs up hahaha) because I had much bigger issues.

by the way, was the Japanese kid's avatar supposed to be a projection of Toshiro Mifune's face?  I wasn't totally sure because we don't get many good looks at it.

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