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Ready Player One (2018)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sam Posten, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    I've never been a "gamer" so the premise of this picture really was totally beyond me but it did fill me with a bit of dread and terror. This was because I could envision the "world" in this film coming to pass. This gave me a real sense of discomfort as I watched this.

    I wanted to see The Shining sequence in the film which was why I put it on and that was sort of amusing. The fatal flaw I found with the film was that as they shifted back and forth between the "real world" and the "video game universe" the "real world" often seems not very different from the video game universe. The other flaw to me was that the premise made no sense. The characters wanted to save the "video game" but seemed not to care about the actual world at all. To me the thrust of the story should have been to shut the video game down forever so people would turn to solving their "real world
    " issues. This made the entire thing seem nonsensical and yet, still terrifying.

    It did seem that the story in the film really did not matter, it seemed more a vehicle to present pop culture references at a breakneck pace. I was more than mildly astonished as they rushed by and I'm sure I missed a lot of them because I was not a gamer. This was like Spielberg doing Tarantino except with a focus on the 1980s and 1990s and with a really lousy script.
     
  2. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Many of the references in the film are not game related at all. The Shining for instance. Most of the references are just ‘80’s pop culture related.

    Loved the book and loved the movie.
     
    holtge and benbess like this.
  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I think Zak Penn's screenplay for the film is horrendous, and misses some key points from the novel which explain why the world is the way it is. It's some of these changes which cause the film version to leave a bad taste in my mouth, where I didn't feel the same in reading the book.

    What's emphasized in the book but almost completely discarded in the film is just how bad things are in the real world on Earth. In the book, it's made clear that all natural resources have been depleted. Pollution, climate change and radiation have rendered large chunks of the planet uninhabitable. The places that are livable are plagued by severe overcrowding. Worldwide infrastructure is all but gone. It's nearly impossible for people to get from point A to point B, and even the movement of goods is prohibitively expensive. Only the extraordinarily wealthy can even hope to travel from point A to point B. What remains is the internet and the connectivity of the Oasis, which thrives because it's the only way that people can actually communicate or have some semblance of a life - which is terrible and tragic, and part of the point of the story in the book (which is a cautionary tale for how badly the planet could be messed up if we don't do a better job taking care of it). Kids go to school in the oasis because it's not possible to have local schools in a world where people can't get together in person. People compete for prizes in the Oasis because there aren't real world job opportunities for them. People get stuck in the fantasy elements of the Oasis because in their real world, all they have is a couple feet of space in ramshackle makeshift buildings and no promise of a future.

    But the film drops most of that characterization of the world, which makes it appear that the Oasis participants are merely video game junkies who need to get a life. I was seriously disturbed by a line of narration that screenwriter Penn added to the closing narration, where Wade explains that now that he's in charge, he's turning off the Oasis for two days every week so that people can pay more attention to real life. In the book, Wade makes no such change, because turning off the Oasis for two days would be horrible - in the book, taking away the Oasis would just leave people trapped in a world where there was nothing to do and no place to go.

    I think sometimes Spielberg gets so excited about the property he's working on that he fails to notice how the screenplay can miss vital context or ruin important plot points. In this case, Zak Penn's screenplay changes the world of Ready Player One from the last gasp of humanity trying to survive and find hope in a bleak and wasted future to a future of entitled digital addicts competing to win a stupid game.
     
    Sean Bryan, DaveF and Malcolm R like this.
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  5. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I love the look of the movie, but for the above stated reasons, everything I enjoy is balanced if not outweighed by stuff that really turns me off to it.
     
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  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The singular example for me of the movie not understanding the book is replacing War Games with The Shining.
     
  7. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I love technically how well done The Shining segment was and as a Kubrick fan I was enthralled with it, but outside of its value as an entertaining set piece, it adds little.
     
  8. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Made sense since The Shining is Warner Bros and War Games is MGM. Rights.
     
  9. Message #269 of 270 May 26, 2019
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
    DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Maybe. It's also a Spielberg thing, his love of Kubrick. But replacing a classic '80s movie with a computer-geek protagonist with The Shining showed the writer and/or Spielberg didn't understand or respect the source material.

    To stay with WB properties while keeping the book's themes, I'd go with Gremlins or maybe Lost Boys. To be more obscure, but even more true to the story, Ladyhawke is right there! Admittedly, on review, WB didn't really make any scifi in the '80s. So, that's a challenge.

    In any case, violating the core spirit of a story for the sake of licensing rights and/or a producer's hobbyhorse, is a part of why I was not taken with RPO the movie.
     
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  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I didn’t get this same impression reading the book, but the Halliday of the film strikes me as an entirely pathetic man. Which also works against the film.
     

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