BEIRUT: Little more than 30 years ago, it seemed almost unimaginable that you could log onto a computer, create your own profile, fake or not, and connect with people anywhere on the globe in real time.
But consider what if, 30 years from now, you could log in, become your own personal avatar and interact with people in an infinite virtual world? Consider the possibilities...and the perils.
In Earnest Cline’s post-geopolitical disasters 2045, a large number of Earth’s residents now trade in the time they spend in reality for time in the OASIS, a virtual reality software a la Second Life, that allows you to be who you want to be, do what your heart desires, and live the life you want.
Stakes are raised, however, when the owner and creator of said game challenges his players to find three keys that will lead them to a Golden Easter Egg and grant the winner the ownership of the OASIS and a huge sum of money.
The film focuses on Wade Watts and his group of friends, dubbed the High Five, as they go on a quest to find the keys and win the game, while of course learning lessons along the way.
The narrative, though highly energetic, does suffer a bit from characters that don’t have complex arcs and are rather flat – but the adventure and quest of the film don’t require that much complexity anyway.
It’s a pretty clear goal-oriented trajectory from the first act to last.
Directed by the masterful Steven Speilberg, “Ready Player One” is a non-stop adventure ride filled with a supposed 300 Easter Eggs of pop culture figures and iconographical elements that would take multiple viewings to find.
The film’s kinetics are unforgiving and relentless.
From the opening tracking shot to the high-octane car chase, zombie-chase, dance club shoot-out, and final battle, Spielberg puts all his efforts forward and shows off his mastery of cinema.
The brilliance and power of the CGI in this film is out of this world, due to the level of realism not only in the character sculptures but also the vividness of the environment and light.
It’s clear that none of the film took this matter lightly, ensuring that every corner, every character, and every element had a purpose, rules and a mythos.
“Ready Player One” doesn’t use technology for the sake of using technology but does so to tell a better story, and the highlight is that when the film ends, the fact that it was mostly all CGI and motion capture became almost invisible.
The cast, composed of mostly the youngsters, was spot on.
Through the magic of motion capture and computer animation, the actors not only portrayed their real-life roles, but also were able to bring their avatar counterparts to life.
Ideologically speaking, Spielberg and co. try their best to put forth a message that is worthy of our time, however, it is not clear whether the message does reach its audience.
In the film’s final moments, a line of dialogue states, “…and that was when I realized that... as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also... the only place that... you can get a decent meal. Because, reality... is real.”
The dialogue sums up the depths the film’s ideology attempted to push, unfortunately, there should have been more evidence that life in VR is more dangerous and could risk missing out on “reality.”
Alan Silvestri’s score is as dynamic and animated as the film it accompanies yet doesn’t offer any memorable themes or motifs, unlike some of Silvestri’s heroic work.
Overall, this film is entertaining, delivers a worthy message for any who are willing to seek it, yet at the end of the day does it offer a meal that fully satisfies?
The answer to that depends on whether you are there to play or to win…
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