Ready Player One

March 21, 2018

News, Review, Theatrical, This Week 56 Comments

This may be the worst film of Spielberg's career...
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Ready Player One

Travis Johnson
Year: 2018
Rating: PG
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast:

Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance

Distributor: Roadshow
Released: March 21, 2018
Running Time: 140 minutes
Worth: $4.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

This may be the worst film of Spielberg’s career…

It becomes impossible to ignore what a cynical exercise Ready Player One is when you realise the characters’ only investment in all the pop culture ephemera the film is steeped in is economic. They don’t actually like this stuff, and if they do, it’s for the shallowest and most mercenary of reasons: possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of ’80s (and ’90s, and even ’70s – the film spreads a wide net) nerd culture might help them solve the puzzle left behind by reclusive genius game designer James Halliday (Mark Rylance) after his death and win All the Money in the World.

Not that there’s much of a world left. In Ready Player One‘s dark near future of 2045, overpopulation and rolling energy crises have led to widespread poverty and everyone spends the overwhelmng bulk of their time plugged into the OASIS, the vast virtual reality universe that Halliday invented, where they can look however they want to look and do whatever they want to do. In practice, this results in countless folks wearing avatars that resemble pop culture icons (everyone from Batman to Robocop to Freddie Krueger to frickin’ Battletoads gets a cameo) and blowing the crap out of each other on endless first person shooter battle maps, because apparently that’s what you do when the world outside your window is all but on fire (it might sound satirical – it’s not. The film lacks the cojones to grapple with the implications of its base assumptions).

Onto this garish stage strides Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphan living with his aunt in the “stacks” (vertical trailer parks, a nice visual conceit) of Columbus, Ohio. Wade is a “Gunter” – Easter egg hunter – determined to solve the puzzles Halliday left behind and win All of the Stuff. To do so, he needs to find three magic keys hidden in OASIS, and to do that he needs to immerse himself in the pop culture of Halliday’s youth – and so does everybody else, because winning Basically Everything is a hell of a motivator when you’re living in a trailer stacked on top of half a dozen other trailers and eating drone-delivered Pizza Hut for every meal.

What this means in effect is that, from beyond the grave no less, Halliday has engineered a world where everyone is forced to obsess over stuff he likes – not because they like it, but because there’s a material prize to be earned. Think about it – if someone told you they’d give you a billion dollars if you learned to recite The Brothers Karamazov in Spanish by God you’d give it a red hot go, whether you cared for Dostoevsky, or Spanish, or even reading, or not.

There’s a scene in the film where Wade, who goes by the online handle Parzival, has a little ad hoc trivia contest with fellow Gunter and love interest Art3mis (Olivia Cooke, once again proving she’s better than the material she’s saddled with – see also The Limehouse Golem and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl) and they rattle off factoids about Halliday’s pop culture faves – he digs the video to A-Ha’s “Take on Me”, apparently. It’s the kind of posturing you’ll find in any online comment thread (and we’ve all done it at one time or another) and it’s the most basic, shallow level of cultural engagement possible. It’s trivia, the rote ability to rattle off factoids, and when you get down to it, no more impressive than being able to memorise your times tables.

Ready Player One almost uniformly operates at that level, only occasionally – and possibly accidentally – delving deeper. It’s a film packed with pop culture symbols: Art3mis at one time blazes away with an Aliens pulse rifle, Parzival/Wade dresses his avatar as Buckaroo Banzai and drives a Back to the Future DeLorean, at one point a Gundam fights MechaGodzilla, at another the frickin’ Glaive from Krull gets deployed. But the film refuses to interrogate why these things might be important to the characters, and by extension to us – what these symbols actually mean, apart from their role in Halliday’s own psyche and high stakes game. Why is a populace suffering under deprivation and oppression so wrapped up in the cultural minutiae of the past?

The obvious answer is because the world is screwed and living inside a Lotus-Eater Machine is a damn sight better than facing that particular grim reality, but the script, credited to Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, on whose novel the film is based, is careful to tiptoe around that conclusion, except with some lip service in the denouement. Tellingly, the quest in Ready Player One is not to save the world – by the time the credits roll, nothing has been done about the terrible shape the joint is in – but to seize the means by which the state of the world can be ignored. A more cynical take on the material might have spun satirical gold out of that; legendary director Steven Spielberg (The Terminal, 1941) refuses to take that route.

This may be the worst film of Spielberg’s career. At best it’s bottom five, and even though the quality occasionally jumps up a notch or two when the Old Master deploys a flourish here and there, it feels like he’s asleep at the wheel, completely unengaged by the material he’s working with. It is, by and large, terribly orchestrated noise and spectacle,  particularly the big action scenes, which consist of masses of digital creations charging across the screen at each other with no grace or visual poetry. The film is, when you get down to it, just plain ugly. It’s overwhelmed by its need to cram in as many pop culture cameos and visual puns as possible into every frame, sacrificing composition and flow to do so.

In an admirable display of modesty, the ‘Berg refuses to put too many pieces from his own back catalogue on the board, aside from a couple references to Back to the Future, which he produced – Indiana Jones never swings by on a digital whip, E.T. never waddles onto a battlefield to heal a downed HALO Spartan. He does, however, tip the hat to his old friend Stanley Kubrick in the film’s best sequence, when Wade and his fellow Gunters must navigate the Overlook Hotel from The Shining in their quest. It’s a bravura bit of business, playful and funny, and it’s also the one time when both the characters’ and the audience’s knowledge of pop culture has any stakes, with Spielberg using the viewers’ assumed knowledge of Stanley’s old horror movie to crank up the tension, while punishing the one character who hasn’t seen the movie with all the horrors the hotel contains.

It’s the one point where the film really soars, but in context it only serves to illustrate how badly the misshapen thing stumbles elsewhere. Ready Player One is appallingly written, beginning with a massive, voice-over-driven info-dump from Wade before settling into episodic, stakes-free action. For all that there are numerous pitched battles and frantic chases, they mostly happen in the digital realm and at the end of the day you’re just watching pixels collide with no sense of cost or sacrifice (even in the world of the film the cost of digital death is just losing all your loot – too bad, how sad).

Things do fare a little better in the real world, were it not for the fact that the film can’t decide whether the antagonist, ruthless corporate suit Noah Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn, and thank Christ for him), is a credible threat or a Scooby Doo villain. Mendo, to his credit, does his best to accommodate both demands, at one point sending drones to blow up Wade’s family (a cost Wade bears nobly because, well, he doesn’t actually like them), at others gloating cartoonishly or visibly lamenting that, yes, he probably would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids.

Mendo’s company Innovative Online Industries (IOI) wants to introduce tiered pricing, pay-to-play, targeted advertising and all that stuff to the OASIS, which the film notes is a Bad Thing – a bold claim for a movie that will presumably be available in both regular and Gold Class, and is straining at the seams with licensed IP and product placement. To that end, he employs an army of paid Gunters called Sixers to scour the OASIS for clues. This is also positioned as a Bad Thing, which essentially means the film is preferencing the gig economy over regular employment (to be fair, IOI are in fact proper evil at times, but hey – that’s life under late capitalism). At no point is a connection made between this and net neutrality.

This is indicative of the principal crime of which Ready Player One is guilty – it’s absolute refusal to question either itself or the pop culture landscape it freely pillages for imagery. It is, to steal a phrase, Memberberries the Movie, content merely to evince a Pavlovian response from the audience by firing familiar brands into their faces at a thousand logos a second in order to get the nostalgia glands producing saliva. It doesn’t care what these things mean, and it certainly doesn’t care what they mean to you – their presence in the film is just bait, and nothing more. The film thinks you’re dumb, even going so far as to verbally underline the occasional bit of iconography you may not have clicked with, as when one character tells Wade that Art3mis is riding Kaneda’s bike from Akira. The idea that this film, whose whole schtick is to drown the audience in pop references, is so smug as to think the audience might not be smart enough to get those same references is actually offensive. It’s insulting.

But that’s the state of play. That three-decade-wide net, filled with thousands of recognisable icons and symbols, is spread for one reason, and one reason alone: to catch as many fish as possible.

You’re the fish in this analogy, by the way. Swim the fuck away from Ready Player One.

 

Comments

      1. Chris Mankey

        Your worthless review of this worthless movie is boring as fuck.

  1. Dave

    finally a review that i agree with
    the whole movie is a like a miss mash of cgi action and commercials styled freedom direction
    who are these critics loving this movie
    are they that shy to tell it as it is
    this movie is so loud and over reaching

  2. Unhappy reader

    There should of been a spoiler warning. Now i know the shinning hotel is in it. Geez thanks filmink

    1. Travis Johnson

      I think we have wildly different working definitions of what constitutes a spoiler. Personally, I’m not going to restrict my discussion of a film to only that material that’s been present in the marketing material, because that means I’m letting the studio dictate the terms of criticism, and screw that. Conversely, I wouldn’t give away anything crucial to the climax or any significant plot twists, at least not without a serious heads up and when talking about those elements is crucial (see my review of Passengers as an example). The Shining sequence here is fair game as far as I’m concerned – it’s nor Rosebud or Rollo Tomasi, just another sequence in the film – an easily the best.

  3. Quinny

    I love your writing Trav mate, you make a whole raft of excellent points about the film, the book and the conceits of both. It is a shotgun blast of nostalgia candies to the face. It certainly doesn’t ever have the guts to really question the realities of that future scenario and it also has some pretty questionable sexual politics and relationship fast-tracking for the sake of getting the mary-sue good guy a manic pixy dream girl in record time. I also agree that perhaps there should have been a question asked about the meaning of the symbols that were being used.

    If the winner had been victorious because they genuinely loved and understood the whole collection of 80’s references they were learning, that may have felt a little less cynical. If the contest had been about something more than just money and power… then maybe that too might have felt more meaningful…

    But the fact of the matter is: I watched the whole film and enjoyed the pastichey melangey hodge-podge thing that it was. Some sequences were completely ridiculous, but others were just great. And somewhere in the middle of it all is actually a glowing heart that actually loves all the things its referencing… I don’t think that Spielberg was as dazed and confused by the film as you say. I think he was making deliberate choices all the way through, which came from his own love of the pop culture that he’s partially responsible for creating.

    Basically, yes, your review is completely fair, but to say that others should avoid the film is potentially robbing them of an experience they may get different mileage from. But then again, You have enjoyed the Transformers films too… and they ARE the soulless corporate brand parades strip mining our nostalgia, that you accuse this of being. So… each to their own.

    1. Travis Johnson

      Oh. of course – if anyone digs it, that’s their wicket. I like plenty of stuff I couldn’t defend critically, but this is my honest reaction to the film.

      1. JLK

        Travis, you try too hard to sound smart. Isn’t it ironic that you criticize the film because it “thinks you’re dumb, even going so far as to verbally underline the occasional bit of iconography you may not have clicked with…” then at the end of your review you commit the same crime writing … “You’re the fish in this analogy, by the way.”

        You come across as the same type of smug asshole you denounce.

        1. Travis Johnson

          Given I’m now getting hatemail for disliking a movie nobody apart from citics and the SXSW crowd has actually seen, I’m starting to think the movie is right in that assumption.

          1. Mujan

            because naming by something doesnt fix it. or define it..good for you if your feelings dotn let you like it(but it telsl us alot about you)..same as your futile attempt of THIS-i have loved movies i cant critically defend(works both ways)…to me..its evident..crystal clear..you just need to know that you might be interesting to some, but to me-you have been weighed, measured and found wanting..ps. i have yet to see the movie but if 1 person finds it nostalgic- it is nostalgic…period(why? because nostalgia is as it is, its is not malleable)… disparity between those that liked it and the reasons of those that havent are what makes me realize what your gripe with the movie is..it becomes transparent TTVOMJ

          2. Joachim Staats

            Travis you review is on the right track but you were being way to kind …its a rubbish film

    2. JD

      “potentially robbing them of an experience they may get different mileage from” So is an enema!! If it looks like shit, smells like shit, takes like shit, guess what…..! What is happening to our species IQ? Stephen Hawking was right!

  4. Alistair Cheyne

    Well done, Travis ! Yet another superbly written, exhaustively researched , intricately detailed and carefully considered review. Where do you find the time or the brain – power to write so many immense reviews on a weekly basis ? Are you the elected writer (like Woody Allen’s screenwriter in his McCarthy – era film , The Front) for a team of reviewers who are voluntarily or compelled by necessity to remain anonymous ? If not, your existing body of work is already a staggering achievement, irrespective of whether or not I agree with your opinion. I don’t know how you do it but keep at it . Amazing dedication ! Perhaps Erin Free should write an article about you for Filmink , I’m sure many other readers are as intrigued and fascinated as myself.

  5. Temmy

    Let me start off by saying I’m a fan of the book and the movie. I also grew up in th 80’s and 90’s. I’m familiar with what the most popular movies of those decades were: sloppy, big budget, action- romantic fares where the guy always gets the girl. If you’re walking into this movie expecting the color purple or Schindler’s list than of course it’s going to suck. You mention Doestoyevsky in a review of Ready Player One. That alone says a lot. You aren’t the target audience. It’s like comparing Fast 7 to On The Waterfront.

    The book has slightly a bit more unveiled depth than what the movie looks to be like with the IOI improsonment and hiding the true identities behind the avatars. Again, not for you and I get that. Maybe your readers are on a higher plane than the average reader and already know to stay away from this eye candy. So no warning is needed if that’s the case, correct?

    Giving the movie a negative review by someone, who I imagine, is well read and prides himself on knowing about classic literature. This is akin to kicking a smaller kid in the shins on the playground. Review something at your level. You’re punching down here and it doesn’t service the average viewer (or reviewer)

    1. Travis Johnson

      As someone who is such a nerd I have a Banzai Institute patch on my jacket, I’d argue I’m very much in this film’s target audience.

      Banzai Institute Patch

  6. Rebecca

    The dumper kind has a point. Don’t go shitting on him now, which would be kind of ironically funny cause of the name. But let’s not get too sidetracked. Who cares about Travis Johnson, His long and fruitless explanation on how bad the movie was is never going to get him anywhere, especially not an article. I skipped half of it because it was not worth my time. The positive reviews on the site outweighs the negative ones, so it doesn’t truly matter anyway. He doesn’t deserve recognition. I just wanted to get this over and done with. I agree with all the other people who didn’t share the same feelings he did. He is just like any other person that comes along on an ever-changing site that can instantly downgrade a great masterpiece movie just by saying stuff that is out of the box. The scenery was meant to be like this so it emphasises why people escape to the OASIS in the first place.

    So what if the state of reality does not change at all and the people just continue their normal lives. This is a depiction of what a dystopian future would look like. You really think they can actually do ANYTHING to change the living state of Chicago which is a bunch of cars stacked onto each other. I barely clean up my entire room properly let alone want to redecorate the place. You wanna know why? Cause I like it that way. Mad Max never had this issue and literally the people have half their blood poisoned and everyone is killing each other either for survival or out of pure insanity. Mad max has an entire WORLD full of environmental issues. It SCREAMS it. Isn’t that kind of thing more deserving of attention than poor living conditions in a small city where humans can still take proper care of themselves?

    Some people just like to remain anonymous. They do not need to have normal names to have worthy comment or opinions, even if it is weak insults it still says something about how Travis perceives the movie and what he thinks is right. Isn’t one of the reasons humanity is great right now is because humanity has the freedom of speech? Here is a star wars reference for you (Since Ready Player one is so full of nostalgia blast to the face, which I’d rather have since it still has more better storytelling than the retarded “Emoji movie.”) “I find your lack of faith disturbing” you will never hear from me again so say whatever you feel like saying.

    I believe in what other good people say and what I say. This movie is one of Spielberg’s greatest movies of all time. So what if it is different and half reliant on CGI and references? Christopher Nolan did realistic films and then did the Inception and Interstellar movies which both had mind bending sci-fi elements that most other directors wouldn’t even bother to try. But turns those movies into masterpieces. Steven Spielberg does the exact same. It has those deeply relatable themes about wanting to escape our problems and our world so we can stand to live in another. A world where we can do anything we want and feel like something, even if we know it is fake. In a time and setting like the one in this movie, the OASIS is the only thing that people have left. But didn’t you realise that wade made that great speech in the trailer about how he found more than just himself and what he wanted to be. He found friends, and love. Great things can happen with virtual reality. You never know the possibilities. There truly is nothing like it. A movie about everything that is relevant to pop culture, world problems and how we choose to forget about them, things kids have grown up watching that was their inspiration for their lives and so, so much more. It brings together all the movies that Spielberg made in the 80’s and from today into one epic, out of this world experience. It is a love letter and a celebration to the past and the future. The influence that made everything in our lives so great and awesome. Our childhoods flashing back towards our minds. No other movie does something where it brings in everything into a united, symbol of what fiction and reality has truly impacted on people’s lives. Everything I love about superheroes and games with fictional characters into a video game styled movie. It deserves 100%. Period. This is something people will never forget for years to come.

    If I am going to be honest, They should have kept the rotten tomatoes at 80%, but then again, this site is kind of crappy anyway. I mean, If I was a real film critic on this site and the next great movie that is praised came along and I said it was the worst movie of all time, the percentage would drop. It keeps on changing which pisses me off sometime. People are too dependant and reliable on this site. It’s like having watchmojo.com deciding on how everything is good or not by listening to other people saying on how good it was without actually giving any personal opinion themselves. Their videos are unoriginal but somehow still “interesting.” They are saying what everyone else is saying. Stop wasting your time on this useless site and choose other review sites instead like Metacritic ratings. It doesn’t have big numbers like you want them to have on great movies but it is still good enough. Rotten Tomatoes is not everything. Don’t forget that.

    1. John Boyega

      TL;DR. But nice try lifting on the success of a rotten-tomatoes-linked critic.

    2. Kip W

      tl;dr: “I couldn’t be bothered to read the whole review but I know it sucks.”

    3. Tim

      You just wrote a comment almost as long as the article about how the article isn’t worth your time. You are now one with the Internet.

  7. David Lightman

    Typical millennial cunt with no insight beyond their own lame world view. “Spielberg’s worst…” Right. Because BFG, TinTin, Crystal Skull and 1941 were such cinematic masterpieces. Lost any interest in your take when you jumped on the “nostalgia bad!” bandwagon and totally missed the point of Halliday’s test—he framed it (egg hunt) in the only way he knew how to find the most righteous of potential successors ala Wonka. Whatever, your generation is will never be memorialized and you’ll die knowing you were never significant.

    1. Can't let you do that, Dave

      Wow. Are you really gonna die on this very hill speaking like a cartoon villain to someone who disagrees with you about a corporate cashgrab movie? Are you mad it won’t get the 100% Fresh Rating it very obviously doesn’t deserve, just because way worse toy commercials (see: MCU) or way dumber action romps (see: the Fast and Furious franchise) get more positive critical consensus?

      The movie you like has flaws. I suggest coming to terms with it.

      1. Mujan

        well..cant let you do that whoever you are… have you noticed how truly amazing movies dont come out so often anymore..example..i have watched each and every oscar nominee this year…where is the greatness? in the 90’s-these movies would be invisible..now we HAVE to choose MCU and star wars…we feel the pretentiousness so we became accustomed to the feels(nerdgasms) and above average(3 billboards)..this is coming from a film school grad whose mentor is a double doctorate from yale and USC…give us better movies(documentaries are AWESOME in 21ct. tho)

  8. Will Zander

    #criticism #readyplayerone

    Having only read the book, I have a few criticisms of this review.

    1. It was clear to me in the book that Halliday loves the 80’s and that he wants to spread his love for the time period with others. Through the Hunt for the Easter Egg many people are exposed to the things he loved about that time period. True, many become “dilettantes,” but some truly learn to appreciate and in fact love the time period. It is coming to love this time period that enables one to win the game.

    2. Your issues with the appearance of popular cultural references from this time period might be relevant if this had not been a book first. How did you expect this book to be made into a movie without including the actual pop culture references?!?

    3. No, the world isn’t miraculously transformed with poverty and hunger being eradicated, at the end of the book. If it had been then THAT would be a valid criticism. However, because IOI is prevented from winning, and thereby cementing the inequities in the world, there is hope for the future.

    Ultimately the book is about coming together and working through shared ideals to make a better tomorrow. The message of the book is well written, and definitely needed given the current circumstances of our world.

  9. Joe Sullivan

    Seems the negatives are coming from foreign reviewers who probably can’t connect well with the US 80s nostalgia. I go by the “top critics” and they all love it. to say it’s his worst film ever is a total joke, especially when the majority of critics give it strong reviews. Reviewer should be aware how successful 80s nostalgia is working for Stranger Things.
    Reviewer is delirious if he thinks gamers and geeks don’t flock in droves to see RPO. Gamers and geeks are millions strong, you’ll never defeat them or detract them. Set opening weekends over under at 110 million revenue.
    This won’t help your reputation Travis.

    1. Tim Bradshaw

      I’m a gamer. I’m a geek. I grew up with almost all the things RPO touches on.
      I also thought the film was garbage and treats its audience like they are idiots. It’s an absolute mess, it’s internally inconsistent and shows no genuine love for the 80s.
      Travis isn’t trying to defeat the gamers and the geeks, he is trying to defend them against shallowness, triviality and a refusal to stop living in the past. All of which are things RPO both embraces and monetises.

      1. Mujan

        i have yet to see the film but what you are suggesting is a TV series, not a 2 h long movie…are you JELOUS they managed to use so many references so you cant? where would they even get a “true” representation? i knew younglings like you in my film school…the coffeegobblers who like thai tea and indiewire festivals…who is more boring than someone who has a gripe about balance and universality? the one who knows s**t, does the same and STILL feels cheated out of happiness

    2. Travis Johnson

      Well, let’s break this down.

      Seems the negatives are coming from foreign reviewers who probably can’t connect well with the US 80s nostalgia.

      Nah, I grew up in the ’80s. 99% of the things the film is referencing, I experienced first hand on release.

      …especially when the majority of critics give it strong reviews.

      Who cares what the majority thinks? I should tailor my thoughts to reflect the consensus?

      Reviewer should be aware how successful 80s nostalgia is working for Stranger Things.

      Reviewer is aware. Reviewer does not think success in other texts equals success here.

      Reviewer is delirious if he thinks gamers and geeks don’t flock in droves to see RPO.

      Reviewer is quite sure they will, and it’s a pretty damning indictment.

      Gamers and geeks are millions strong, you’ll never defeat them or detract them.

      Mate, I am a gamer and a geek. I’m not trying to defeat anyone except cynical media bodies trying to exploit gamers and geeks.

      This won’t help your reputation Travis.

      I’d rather have a rep as someone who speaks their mind than as someone who kowtows to consensus, groupthink, and outside pressure. My reputation will be fine.

      Now, I am curious: have you seen the film? Or are you just pinning a lot on the hopes that it’ll live up to your expectations?

      1. Mujan

        how is that exploitation if we LIKE it? i saw reviewers ecstatic…there should be no criticism regarding happiness to see something ? now, if everyone noticed that it doesnt work, and that is obviously a “cashgrab” like christian propaganda movies, i would understand you, but this way, you are dissing the WHOLE movie industry just because we pay for the tickets…are you angry they haventdone it better or that you ddint think of the idea yourself? the idea of more than 1 superhero was absurd to me when i heard a movie avengers was being made…i laughed in dismay when i first saw a “captain america” movie…WHAT IS A CAPTAIN AMERICA!? i wondered..now i know..i gave it a chance…and i am NOT jealous..i am happy i care for a guy whose name sounds so ridiculous..last time i was hating on movies i havent seen was for chicago and harry potter…and that was the last time i was an idiot before hand… now, if rp1 doesnt have a backstory, and the only thing on the screen are references in a straight line..like transformers action( mind you first 3/4 of first transformers were AWESOME..phuck you bay!)..i would HATE it..and i hope it doesnt happen, but reading from other reviewers, the story is there..so either you dont like the story they presented..which is fine… or you suck

        1. Plutoburns

          The rats in a cage getting their pleasure centers jolted by electricity probably like being there, doesnt change the fact that they are lab rats. A soft cage the viewer builds for themselves is WAY more effective than a hard cage of hate.

  10. JD

    Great review Travis. I love your honesty and insight. It looks like you are being targeted by studio PR trolls after making their product sound rotten. This film sounds like vacuous corporate diarrhoea made for the consuming masses, made by another geriatric filmmaker who has no idea about emerging VR! Stick to the shark in the pond Steven!

  11. Speed

    Speilberg made b getting on JD but he is a master of film making and one of the greats, Jaws wasn’t his only other film lol!

  12. Tommy

    Wow ! I would contest everything this review said, but to save time I’ll just ask this question. Where you paid off by AMC short sellers to write a bad review ?

      1. Dave

        Wow, excellent comeback.
        Yes, you tell them.
        People must know when a movie is bullshit.

  13. Tommy

    Haha, good come back.. just a very surprising review, you’ll have to forgive the sarcasm. I still can’t wait to see it., loved the book.

  14. Big (_)_):::::::::::::::::D rick

    Worst film film of Spielburg’s carrer more like fuck you and come over here. What ever you think it was wrong because you’re a critic and everyone knows critics are always wrong if you don’t agree with them and I don’t. If Obama

  15. Average rocketship Jones

    If Obama what? Don’t leave us hanging , big rocketship rick.

  16. Javier

    I think you are so much a hater of 80s pop culture and nerd stuff that you hate it when it’s portrayed as perfection and I know that deep inside you know this too

    1. Travis Johnson

      Negative, Ghost Rider. I grew up in the 80s. I’m steeped in geek culture. I got a leather jacket covered in Blade Runner and Buckaroo Banzai patches. My first console was an Atari 2600. I saw ET in the cinema on first release. Played D&D from 12 onwards. Your every assumption is incorrect.

  17. Mike Chandler

    Wow settle down everyone. Don’t bash the person for having an opinion. Critique it if you must. I’m going to. It seems like the bulk of of the writer’s issue with this movie is that it didn’t tackle the larger problems the world was facing at the time. Well that just isn’t what it was about. If you would like to see a movie about repairing a dystopian world then go watch a different movie. That’s akin to hating Indiana Jones because there were no vampires in it. Your critique of the action scenes I will reserve judgement on until I have gone through them a few times. And as far as you distaste for the info dump in the beginning. . . I’m going to guess you were not of movie watching age in the 80’s because that was a fairly common way to start movies. Watch Dune. Hell, watch the director’s cut of Dune! You want to talk about an info dump. People didn’t have cell phones and google to research things back then. Either you had read the books or you hadn’t. If the director was worried about people understanding the setting it was either scrolling text or a narrator.

  18. Wes

    40 yo incorrigible nerd here giving this review a thumbs up not for its verdict but for how it reaches it. I really did enjoy the book when I read it but I don’t remember much of what happened other than it very belatedly introducing me to Rush. I will probably enjoy this movie but I cannot deny that Travis has nailed the truth of the gunters as superficial parrots rather than genuine consumers of the culture. It reminds me a lot of Azuma’s theory of database animals, which observes otaku consume their culture less for the quality and depth of content and more just to be part of the relevant conversation. And what more relevant conversation than potentially winning the keys to the world? Sure, parz and art probably fell in love with Hallidays obsessions along the way but it is all just inherited and coerced.

    I find it amusing someone accused the reviewer of being a millennial when it was very clearly a Gen X review with its wariness of retro obsession cheapening the genuine history. A lot of shit from the 80s sucked in ways Stranger Things will never portray, although any fan of 80s retro who didnt get to experience that can easily go and watch oh, I dunno, say Voltron. We tried recently. Ohboy. Or any number of 80s flicks without which ST wouldnt exist but do not benefit from the sophistication that makes ST so much more than just an 80s show. RPO is the same way. It brings to life so many things we remember through rosy lenses, helping us forget how much updating these things need to remain beloved by our adult selves in 2018. Krull was not a good movie even if the glaive is unforgettable. So lets keep the glaive, lose the rest. Bam, nostalgia hit sans unfortunate reminder how crappy the rest was. There is just a little bitterness in the Gen Xers regarding this cherrypicking of retro obsession and I suspect RPO the film makes it hard to ignore. Unlike Travis, however, I don’t mind when a show or movie “talks down at the audience” when it points out a reference because I don’t assume every viewer is a database animal or primary target. And Kaneda’s bike is probably poised well between pop and esoteric to warrant the nod. If a nod is necessary at all.

    So good on you for calling a shiny, gaudy egg an egg, Travis. But you should have edited out the clickbaity worst Spielberg flick ever thing. Thats just ridiculous at this point, as others have pointed out.

    1. Travis Johnson

      I would edit it out if I didn’t believe it. Honestly, I’d rather watch The Terminal again. Or Hook. Possibly even The BFG (I gave that a much kinder review on release but time and rumination have soured me on it). But thank you for the kind and thoughtful comments.

  19. Bill

    Enjoy your place on the wrong side of history.. but hey, at least you got to sound like a pretentious twat for a few minutes. You must be one of those contrarians who feels the need to make people feel bad for what they love. Admittedly, I have not yet seen the film, but it sounded to me like you hated the overall premise as much as the movie. I think the book was brilliant on many levels, you are just a miserable hipster.

  20. airwolf

    I was born in 1982, and I have no idea to most of the 1980s references in this Spielberg’s movie “Ready, Player One ?” such as Akira, The Shining, Gundam, Bakuroo Banzai, Atari etc. I grew up thru my teenage years with some from the 80s, most from the 90s such as Nintendo, Mario Bros, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones Playstation, Airwolf, MacGyver, Knight Rider,, Final Fantasy, etc. So i went to the cinema today, and hoped for great excitement, not only because it’s Spielberg, but also since the trailer is so damned good, although I have never read the book. I tell you what : Spielberg missed a lot in this movie ! First, the clues are so damned easy to find, then the story is so weak : who needs ten years to find such clues like driving backwards, dance with the ex girlfriend in The Shining, and playing Atari game to find the Easter Egg which is any black dot ? It’s just so dumb idea ! If everyone in the world in 2045 (let’s say 1 billion people) really plays the virtual game as the movie says, probably in months or less a nerd from China or a country we’ve never heard before might find all the three keys and get the rewards. Then unlike the Matrix, when you are killed in the game, you just lose the coins, wtf, there ‘s no real threat here. Then, the CGI is average, compared to Marvel CGI, the universe looks so fake and cheap. Then the chemistry between Artemis and Parzival can’t be found here, i think i expected the girl to be pretty (well actually the actress is indeed pretty in real life outside READY PLAYER oNE, but here she looks so terrible). I was seeing this movie with lots of school kids and most of them are even 15 years younger than me, i’m not sure if they even enjoyed it, some of them left the theatre before the movie ended. Honestly, let’s just skip the 80s, I’m glad to be the 90s 🙂

  21. Dave

    Hey Travis,
    Your review is slickly written.
    I read tons of movie reviews.
    And yours rock. When are you reviewing movies from Asia? You should.
    now to the read issue
    Steven S should make a movie like the Matrix, then I will give him a medal.
    Right now, Steve is just catching up with the great films of the world. That did not get nominated for an Oscar.
    Steve is always chasing his missed opportunities. He was not the first.
    And wants to outdo classics or be the daddy of all cool movies.
    Why can’t he write an original script and us give something we havn’t seen?
    Why can’t Steven S give us something original like the matrix?
    Steven S will never be able to make a classic like the matrix
    Steven S made Ready Player One. I saw and realized RPO isn’t slick or poetic or cool. He made it for USA geeks . If my Dad saw RPO, he would freak out and ask for a refund.

    i realized…
    Steven is trying to get even .
    1. he made the post to get even with trump
    2. he made Ready Player One because he does not have a classic like THE MATRIX in his collection
    3. now he is making west side story because he is against Trump building the wall and wants to tell the world that trump is wrong about mexico
    4. he makes the new Cotes Spanish explorer movie , because again , he wants to educate us (just like Lincoln). i got news for Steven, we don’t like teachers or to be lectured or serious directors.
    5. Steven is still upset he did not make Harry Poter
    6. What’s next , Steven wants to make a comic book movie better than Spiderman, Steven wants to start drawing a new comic book super hero and out-do Spiderman
    7. Waht’s next, Steven wants to to create a company better than Mavel or DC comics?
    9. What’s next Steven, do you want to write a song that is more popular than the Beatles songs
    10. Give it up Steven , you should retire and stop chasing dreams that others have created and focus on movies like Jaws .

  22. Joachim Staats

    Ready Player Onesie is a mashup of CGI and Video Game that pretends to be a movie. I can’t even call it a movie, this is the biggest load of crap I have ever seen. A waste of time watching, a waste of the the hard earned and a waste of the millions of dollars it cost to make. Why is it still on cinema screens…it should be pulled immediately. A ZERO rating!

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