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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cindy Prascik's Review of Ready Player One

Dearest Blog: Thanks to the long holiday weekend, yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for an early screening of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
The deceased creator of a virtual reality world called "The Oasis" leaves his followers a challenge: Find the hidden Easter egg, rule the Oasis, and win the fortune that goes with it.
From my first encounter with a Ready Player One trailer, I had a feeling something was off, a feeling that carried all the way through the finished product. The movie is not without its positives, but they're far too few to make it less than a torturous couple hours.
Ready Player One kicks off with the god-awfulest song in history, Van Halen's Jump, so it doesn't give a person much hope right...well...right from the jump. The main cast of youngsters ranges from a little wooden to pretty awful, so grownups Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, and even the extraordinary Ben Mendelsohn can't do much to help. The movie's production design is impressive, but scenes inside the Oasis are curiously less so than those in the real world. In fact, the Oasis--a place where people can be anyone or anything they choose--is actually a little creepy and dark, not at all fanciful, and the film's hundreds of pop-culture references wear thin in their ubiquitousness. I had hoped for a great 80s soundtrack, and there are some terrific songs, but they're so muted and cropped as to be nearly invisible. Sadly, Ready Player One did nothing to exceed my middling expectations.
Ready Player One clocks in at 140 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudity, and language."
A few years back, Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro did a movie called Grudge Match, about a pair of aging boxers coaxed out of retirement for one final match. It wasn't on anyone's awards shortlist, but, if you were of a certain age, plenty of it was pretty damn funny. When a teenage friend mentioned she didn't enjoy it, I told her it probably wasn't "for" her. I'm not a gamer, and there are no other versions of me running around in any VR worlds, so it's entirely possible that Ready Player One just isn't "for" me, BUT...a really great movie is somehow for everyone, regardless of their investment, and this isn't that, either. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Ready Player One gets three.
Until next time...

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