Steven Spielberg talks 'Ready Player One': 'People wants to escape'

Mar 30, 2018, 00:15
Steven Spielberg talks 'Ready Player One': 'People wants to escape'

And so it has.

The film, an adaptation of Ernest Cline's book of the same name, is vintage Spielberg and just like many of his films from the 80s and 90s, the director creates an infectious sense of fun and adventure that carries right through to the final shot. Wade is an orphan, living unhappily with his aunt and escaping whenever possible into the Oasis, where he appears as an animated avatar named Parzival. The recently deceased James Halliday, who crafted the virtual playground, has programmed in an Easter egg that has granted its finder control of his entire fortune and estates.

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Create your avatar and go: You can be a boy, or a girl, or a creature. and so can anyone else, so most of the time you are interacting with people who are something very different than their virtual reality version and that you will never meet in real life.

Although the main component to make "Ready Player One" the pop culture epic it's become was the OASIS itself, not as much of the real world was shown to portray real world problems. Wade, employing the cool elfin avatar "Parzival", becomes a star in the OASIS when he is the first to make headway in an ongoing challenge to find an "Easter egg" hidden in the game, placed by deceased game designer James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who has promised the victor will inherit the trillion-dollar OASIS empire. But because the '80s, there were so many contributors to the culture of the 1980s, so many global brands really left their mark not just in movies but also in music and wardrobe and costume and clothing and fashion. On the outside it looked like a weak dystopian film that plays on the set of a virtual reality game. The wearying prose of the book, attempting to turn a VH1 I Love the '80s episode into a science-fiction procedural, finds its real home on the big screen, thanks to a director who understands that the pop art we all fell in love with was based on creative spark, not just being old enough to nod at an Excalibur quote.

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Roseanne, Will & Grace and X-Files are back on TV. "I'm ready for it!" Of course, there's a the distinct possibility that all of this back-and-forth is really an attempt at viral marketing and that the fast food company did okay everything with Spielberg and Warner.

Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox. This includes fully customizable avatars that can be nearly anyone or anything (provided Warner Bros., the studio behind Ready Player One, secured the rights to include the character in the movie). It's a bit like those biblical spectacles that warned against sin while playing up the sinners. It is eventually able to shake off the former deficiency, especially once Spielberg nosedives into its increasingly impressive set-pieces, but, outside of its action, the film always goes for the obvious rather than the nuanced. The fever seems to have lifted from his brow.

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It's somewhat surprising that we didn't get a Goonies reference (or not an obvious one anyway) and inevitably, the absence of most Spielberg Easter Eggs is a shame, but you can understand his reluctance to date himself. When they finally come together in the real world, they have interesting awakenings. Though Spielberg has tweaked the formula to include more relevant and contemporary pop culture icons too.

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