By : N.E.R.D. Girl MAX™
WHO : Me – dolo at the movies
WHAT : Movie review of science fiction adventure film : READY PLAYER ONE (directed by Steven Spielberg)
WHEN : Thursday, March 29
WHERE : Atlanta Metro
SYNOPSIS : In 2045 humanity needs an escape from the bleak devastation that is everyday life, so they gravitate to a software called OASIS. One player, Wade Watts, realizes there are clues leading to a secret game. The game : complete it and win full ownership of the OASIS (and half a trillion dollars – but to a hardcore gamer OASIS is the bigger prize of course) . This discovery creates a clan of allies focused on completing the game before it gets into the hands of (of course) an evil corporate nemesis.
WHY (would you want to see it) : (1) To see what all the hype is about (2) For its nostalgic elements (3) The effects
WHY (wouldn’t you want to see it) : (1) The music tended to be TOO nostalgic – lackluster soundtrack (2) The nostalgic elements often pre-date “millennials” (3) PG-13 Rating
Before you center your weekend movie plans around Steven Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE. Read this review.
This week I decided to treat myself to a matinee movie and since I was rolling out “dolo” it seemed befitting to go see READY PLAYER ONE. Although I had seen several movies with READY PLAYER ONE’s trailer in its list of “pre-game” promos… and even though I said every time “H.Y.F.R. I’m going to see that when it comes out.” – I was disenchanted after actually seeing the movie.
Who did they try to copy?
In its own way it attempted (in movie form) to do what FOX’s THE SIMPSONS or FAMILY GUY does with not-so-subtle references to pop culture that when timed right can be really hilarious or at least chuckle-worthy, but somehow this movie missed the mark. It was like an assumption of what thirtysomethings (and younger) would consider to be references to their culture (past and present).
Main suggestion :
Whoever was consulted for the trailer should have been hired as a consultant for the movie, because every person in my N.E.R.D. Girl MAX ™ crew was hype about it. I received several DMs and e-mails about doing a contest related to the movie and really was going to do so, but I’m glad that time got away from me. – That of course means there will be 2 giveaways to BLOG SUBSCRIBERS in April so look for it – that’s right shameless plug in the middle of the review!
With all the great effects and dramatic music of the trailer I really bought into the idea of how awesome this movie could be, but what I can tell you (without telling you too much about the movie) is many of those really cool strobe light and airborne dancing images seen in the trailer are all pieces of one section of the movie set to 2018 relatable retro tracks (you know.. since current music is dipping back into the recorded sound of the 80s 90s and 00s).
Being an EDM Festival fan you know I luv to visually soak up a good flare of light and ambience, so finding out that most of the trailer was one series of moments in the movie already put a dark shade of blah on the thrill for me.
DEFINING THE RATING SCALE :
- Plot : assessment of how the overall start, climax, finish of the movie felt.
- Cinematography / Effects : assessment of the visual cohesiveness and effectiveness throughout the movie.
- Music & Sounds : assessment of movie or subsequent sounds that catapult a viewer into the story plot of a movie.
- Tone : assessment of how the movie makes the audience (me and/or others with me) feel.
- Acting : assessment of quality of main actors (and in some cases secondary actors).
- Black Thought : assessment of how the presence of blacks (and sometimes people of color in general) are portrayed.
N.E.R.D. Girl MAX’s READY PLAYER ONE SCORES :
PLOT 5/10 Stars :
Predictable. Good guy discovers something that a bad guy wants also and gets his friends to help him fight to the finish before said thing can “get into the wrong hands.” On the journey “good guy” falls in love with one of the “friends” and they both proceed to do everything in their power to conquer the evils that threaten to hold them down. Female character has insecurities, and willing to sacrifice it all for the person she loves – predictable. The afore mentioned are all under 20 which is a plain reminder that kids and young adults are the future and it is their positive thinking and out of the box ideas that will defeat the old and hackneyed “ideals” of adults with less than genuine motives- again nothing new there.
What saved this rating :
The only thing that saves this plot and takes it from a 1 to 5 is there are some not-so-predictable elements to the clan of allies. The rounding out of the insecure elements of the main female character (Artemis) also saves the rating as it ensures that she’s less damsel in distress with a heart on for the good guy, and more a fierce, mission driven, leader who knows : what she wants + is going to get it + refuses to let anyone call her by any name she doesn’t pre-approve of while she does it. You can thank your care in strengthening Artemis’s character, Mr. Spielberg, for the improved plot rating.
CINEMATOGRAPHY / EFFECTS 8/10 :
Last year, I went to the Collision Conference and virtual reality was a REALLY BIG deal. I connected with a lot of people doing some excellent things with virtual reality with efforts geared toward really upping the reality feel of virtual reality. That experience showed me where virtual reality is headed. That being said it was nowhere near where READY PLAYER ONE already is (at least from a movie effects stand point) and so I have to really up my score as it respects the possibility of what can happen next in technology both by using an under 20 cast and presenting technology that seems right around the corner as advances continue year after year.
Another reason for a higher than plot score, is (as mentioned before) it was the futuristic imagery of the trailer that caught my attention in the first place. While the plot may have fallen flat, the part that kept me engaged was the visuals and the possibilities of devices that someone could be working out in his/her mind right now. As I type I imagine that some imaginative tech genius will create and reveal (a decade or more from now) advancements in virtual reality that mirror what are just hopeful possibilities in 2018 (as seen in the READY PLAYER ONE movie).
I opted for 3-D and I will say since so much about this movie was lackluster – just go ahead and pay the extra $3.25 to see it in all of its glory. Besides you’re probably going to need it to remain interested in the plot.
The overall look from the rich elements, to the poor elements, to the gaming elements, and the retro elements really did a great job of holding my attention. One of my FAVORITE BEING (possible spoiler alert) – the homage to the psychological thriller directed by Stanley Kubrick (based on Stephen King’s book) THE SHINING (insert false but real but false but real shiver here).
While Steven Spielberg took a little creative liberty like Halliday replacing Jack Nicholson on the framed picture on the wall, and some of the scenes that the movie are most noted for were quickly run through; he did an EXCELLENT job of bringing me right back to the feel of the original movie that I accidentally came across one random insomniac night as a child and that lowkey had me dreading sleep. I never saw Jack Nicholson the same way again (insert real shiver this time).
MUSIC & SOUNDS 6/10 :
I tend to be a luver of sooo many types of music.. old, new, pre-popularity, etc.. But this is NOT a soundtrack that I will be into purchasing. First of all, I could probably find the records to this for $0.15 each at an old music shop that still sells records. But outside of that the soundtrack really could only be full on appreciated by a 45+ crowd. Not an age jab by any means, but the music plus some of the nostalgia of this movie pre-dates even some of my interests and I consider myself pretty retro in thought and musical appreciation.
What saved this rating :
The score is saved because one of my favorite retro tracks is the song “Staying Alive” (1977) by the BeeGees (brought to life to me by The Fugees when they did it, but I respect both tracks in their own right) and the scene that unfolds as it plays. It actually grabbed my attention back into focus because they almost lost me to a theater lit nap up in that piece. Also did you realize that the BeeGees actually had a music video for that song? I was pretty amazed, I don’t know why I never really realized that videos didn’t start in the 80s.
TONE 8/10 :
This movie is a simultaneous flashback and flashforward with the 80s music references, homage, and nods in the background of a world so far beyond our current reality, but not so far out that it doesn’t seem like it COULD be our reality. It pays respect to the past; expressing to the viewer that there is no way that the future can be the best version of itself without understanding the intricate details of the past, and not just the overview.
Just because something is old, it does not at all mean that it is useless. The generation that gets this are the kings and queens of recycle, re-purpose, re-use, and of course remix.
ACTING 7/10 :
The acting wasn’t anything to write home about. The actors chosen to play each character was believable and played his/her part well. (Note : 8, 9, and 10 ratings are reserved for stellar performances)
WADE WATTS : Tye Sheridan
ARTEMIS : Olivia Cooke
NOLAN SORRENTO : Ben Mendelsohn
AECH : Lena Waithe
i-R0K : TJ Miller
OGDEN MORROW : Simon Pegg
JAMES HALLIDAY : Mark Rylance
AKIHIDE KARATSU : Phillip Zhao
TOSHIRO YOSHIAKI : Win Morisaki
F’NALE ZANDOR : Hannah John-Kamen
BLACK THOUGHT 7/10 :
It was refreshing to see men and women of color and not just as comic relief. One person had a very main role (that is revealed later in the movie) but even the 1st level extras (those in the background of scenes no speaking parts) and 2nd level extras were in a variety of positions and shown in the forefront.
My favorite (though for the evil team) was the think tank group. It’s rare that a movie that is not centered around Blacks shows Blacks in a realm of effortless intelligence (meaning not in a force fed- “Token” manner). That, Mr. Spielberg, was appreciated. You didn’t go above and beyond, but I was glad to see the variety. It paints a more accurate and fulfilling picture.
READY PLAYER ONE OVERALL RATING : 6.83 / 10
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