Ready Player One
Sci-fi stories that are set in “the not too distant future” tend to have a half-baked vision of Tomorrowland, in that they emphasize enough identifiable familiarity to relate to current audiences, and then dowse it with any number of flashy, miraculous tech advances to conveniently shazam the characters out of otherwise dire situations when need be, rarely making any logical sense. Spielberg’s film, based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 book, is set in 2045, where we’re supposed to accept that massive trailer parks in Columbus, Ohio are stacked a dozen or more high, yet virtual reality technology has advanced to the point that everybody from lowlife ragamuffins to conglomerate CEOs is compelled to stop existing in order to indulge in a dazzlingly spastic upchuck of useless (mostly ’80s) pop culture junk? Oh yeah – Rush’s 2112 is apparently the biggest album ever among geeky, cassette-collecting gamer fanboys; Doritos hasn’t changed its package design; print’s not dead (magazine and newspaper clippings about OASIS creator James Halliday are tacked all over a wall); and self-driving cars – becoming a reality before our eyes – appear to have never caught on?? I’ve never cared about “gaming” or “role playing” anyway, be it Ms. Pac-Man, Xbox or Warcraft, so the whole premise was silly to me, but what’s worse is the endless “product placement” of random, recognizable TV/movie characters, logos and whatever else they had the rights to use, hurled at us nonstop as if it’s supposed to set our nostalgic hearts aglow that Dorky McDoofus is driving the DeLorean from Back to the Future or Birthmark Betty wears a Joy Division tank top but couldn’t name a song off Unknown Pleasures if it meant obtaining Halliday’s three magical keys on a silver platter. Naturally, corporate assholes are the villains, but at least they have jobs! A mind-numbing, soul-sucking clusterfuck and one of the most retarded, uninspiring movies I’ve ever suffered through.