'Ready Player One' Scores $3.75 Million In Wednesday Night Previews

30 March, 2018, 00:14 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Filmmaker Steven Spielberg | AP

"Ready Player One" is in theaters now. The book had seven movies in it, maybe twelve. People are either rich beyond the dreams of Croesus, or existing in a polluted miasma of chronic underemployment and spiritual redundancy.

The year is 2045, and our hero is 18-year-old Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), aka Parzival. Since the OASIS was primarily conceived by James Halliday (Mark Rylance), an eccentric inventor with a vast nostalgia for the pop culture of the 1980s, Halliday's most ardent adherents, most of whom weren't even born then, are awash in the movie and video game artifacts of that era.

Will his return to the action fantasy adventure genre help boost the numbers or are fans still sour over his last movie in this arena, the widely despised Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Players from around the world meet, form clans and make friends or enemies of each other.

Our main character Parzival sees plenty of options, including almost every Gundam in the books, and plenty of other anime characters too, but he also sees, the Iron Giant.

I loved all the Easter eggs or hidden, unexpected bonuses that weren't featured as a main characteristic of a medium. Each successful "challenge" nets a contestant a key; land three and you're ready for OASIS. Olivia Cooke (Samantha) is especially wonderful as Wade's friend and co-Gunter (easter egg hunter).

Chasing this elusive Egg, is the video game conglomerate called IOI Corporation (Innovative Online Industries) headed by Nolan Sorrneto (Ben Mendelsohn). More than that, Ready Player One is a throwback to the popcorn-peddling, fun, thrill-ride of movies from the 80s.

It's a fabulous set-up, with one eye firmly on a satire of present day social media platforms and their embrace of VR and AR technology, and the other on a retro-riot of pop-culture fun and games.

Surprisingly for Spielberg, who is usually always so adept at captivating and pulling in his audience from the very first scene, "Ready Player One" actually begins in a clunky and heavy-handed manner. Ernest Cline's original novel - which is a darker and more nuanced beast than this self-adapted screenplay allows - includes references to a galaxy of movie, game and musical sources. In the course of the drearily familiar computer-generated action, we will encounter a T-Rex, a Mechagodzilla, an Iron Giant, a King Kong and action reminiscent of everything from "Tron" to "Lord of the Rings".

With a cost between $155 million to $175 million, the outlet estimates that a $50 million opening weekend would be a good start for Ready Player One and predicts a $140 million to $170 million worldwide debut for Steven Spielberg's latest blockbuster film. One breath-taking sequence, set inside The Shining's Overlook Hotel, is the closest we get to the classic Spielberg slow build, but it's not long before things revert to ludicrous type.

"I finished Star Trek Beyond, and that had been a huge experience because we wrote it and it was very intense, and it was wonderful, but afterwards I felt so exhausted, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life", he explained on breakfast show Today. (It is unclear whether he is still voiced by Vin Diesel or not in the 2018 film).

Chances are, you know one of these quotes.

When a sense of direction and goal is lost, especially in a Spielberg movie, then it doesn't make you, as an audience, feel very positive about its outcome.

For everyone else, "Ready Player One" may seem a little daunting, a little confusing and a little unusual.


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