Saturday, 7 April 2018

Ready Player One - The scoop and digest

Ernest Cline's debut novel is adapted for the big screen by a guy named Steven Spielberg, who over the years, has apparently been responsible for some decent films.

Could another be added to glittering CV?

Tye Sheridan - Wade Watts/Parzival
Olivia Cooke - Samantha Cook/Art3mis
Ben Mendelsohn - Nolan Sorrento
T.J. Miller - I-R0k
Mark Rylance - James Halliday/Anorak
Simon Pegg - Ogden Morrow

The year is 2045.

To escape their slum-like reality, peeps hook up to the OASIS, a virtual landscape where imagination has no limits.

Heck.  You can even climb Mount Everest with Batman.

It's never confirmed, but those who have read the book will know world stands for Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation.

Prior to his death in 2040, OASIS creator James Halliday programmed hidden game Anorak's Quest, and the reward for finding the first video game Easter Egg will assume full ownership of the OASIS.

This becomes an obsession for Egg hunters (dubbed 'Gunters').

Innovative Online Industries bigwig Nolan Sorrento has recruited an army of Sixers (named so because of six digit identification number) to achieve the same goal.

Going by the avatar of Parzival, Stacks teenager Wade Watts befriends player Art3mis (Samantha Cook) and after researching the ramblings of Halliday, wins the impossible race by going underground (crucially avoiding pseudo end boss King Kong) and receives copper key.

Overhearing Wade telling Art3mis his real name, bounty hunter and freelance arms dealer I-R0k goes running to Sorrento.

After Wade refuses to join forces, baddie retaliates by launching an attack on Stacks.

Winning a bet with OASIS curator gives licence to enter The Shining.

With jade key secured, final challenge awaits inside Castle Anorak on Planet Doom.

Wade delivers a speech which rallies OASIS players to help kick IOI ass.

A battle royale ensues, with Iron Giant and Gundam taking on Sorrento's MechaGodzilla.

Oh, and 'fucking' Chucky.

Yes, it's as good as it sounds.

Meanwhile, the Sixers chew Atari fat and deduce game that literally holds the key is 1979 classic Adventure.

Wade does what he has to and acquires crystal key.

'Created by Warren Robinett'.

Ahem.

Using all three keys, Wade opens castle's gate and is congratulated by Anorak.

Presented with, but rejecting the same contract that Morrow had to sign on his termination, avatar transforms into a projection of Halliday.

Wade chooses to not wipe out the OASIS by pushing the Big Red Button and awarded with the fabled Golden Egg.

Sorrento is arrested for aggressive mischief in the real world and in the aftermath, Morrow reveals himself to be the Curator.

Under new rules, the OASIS is shut down for two days a week to allow greater interaction between people.

During which, Wade and Samantha pucker up.

Absolute BLAST

Not that it was ever in doubt, but he's done it again.

Even though characters are wafer thin and running time nearly outstays its welcome, this is the best geekgasm I've ever had.

To avoid being accused of narcissism, Spielberg only includes Mr. Rex of Jurassic Park fame during incredible race sequence.

Admirable.  But I wanted some kind of Jaws ref.

Boooooo!!!!

Scheduling conflicts meant this is one of the few occasions that long-term collaborator John Williams doesn't compose soundtrack.

Instead, Alan Silvestri injects subtle variations of BTTF excerpts and jingles.

Yes lots of things have changed, but the most inspired alteration is replacing WarGames with the essential meat of Stanley Kubrick's classic.

Grady twins, typewriter pages (key-shaped), Room 237, blood elevator, axe through door (without Heere's Johnny), ballroom dance, naked zombie bath lady, hedge maze and b/w photo (Halliday instead of Jack).

Original footage is combined with CG, and I was grinning from ear to ear.

Boasting the likes of Stayin' Alive (The Bee Gees), One Way or Another (Blondie) and World In My Eyes (Depeche Mode), retro soundtrack complements proceedings perfectly.

Samantha wears tee of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures and a poster of Rush album 2112 can be seen in Halliday's bedroom.

Less obvious is Billy Idol EP Don't Stop in the OASIS archives.

This won't go down in cinematic history as a classic, but it's definitely one of the most entertaining pieces of celluloid ever made.

I've only briefly touched upon pop culture, so a separate guide will follow.

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