Revenger Review Submission: ‘Why READY PLAYER ONE is More Than Just a Feel-Good Nostalgia Trip’
Here at Revenge of The Fans, our goal is to give fans of all creeds a platform. Whether it’s a vlog, a column, a review, etc. we want you to feel like your voice matters.
Last week, our Editor-in-Chief put up his *Spoiler-Free* review of Ready Player One. Today, we’re sharing a review sent in by Revenger Lawrence Coffman. He’s a longtime listener, reader, and- very importantly- a Patreon Patron!
Lawrence wanted to delve a little deeper with his own review, which ventures into spoilers and highlights the scene that stuck out the most for him in Steven Spielberg’s latest.
Revenger Review Submission: “Why Ready Player One is More Than Just a Feel-Good Nostalgia Trip“
By Lawrence Coffman (@SwanSong632)
[Warning: the following contains spoilers, so proceed at your own peril!]
I loved Ready Player One. And it’s one of those rare movies that I love even more the more I think about it. I went in with some familiarity about the property, although I hadn’t read the book, which probably put me in a distinct minority at my opening night screening. But I think that almost worked to my advantage, because I didn’t have a ‘checklist’ of things I was expecting to see.
Visually, as was hinted at by the trailers, the film is on a whole other level. Spielberg is the definitive filmmaker of the past half century, IMO…but as much as I have admired his work over that period, I didn’t expect that even he could turn out something as technologically advanced as this, especially at age 71. But with Ready Player One, he shows that he is still at the top of his blockbuster game. And yet, if it was just the stunning visuals, the amazing action beats, and the layers upon
layers of fun cultural throwbacks, RPO wouldn’t have had the effect upon me that it did.
As it turns out, it was a scene I at first hated, that made me realize there was more going on here than I initially thought. It’s the climactic scene near the end where Sorrento, the evil head of IOI, is closing in on Wade’s trailer with the intent of killing him. Having been alerted to what was about to happen, the residents of The Stacks amass in front of the van that Wade is in to protect him. But then Sorrento pulls out a gun, and all of a sudden, they part like the Red Sea. When I
was watching it in the theater, my immediate thought was, “They out number him 500-1… why
the heck are they backing down?”
But then I realized that that was the whole point.
They had spent so much of their lives being brave and powerful in the opiate-like haze of The Oasis, that they had forgotten how to be so in real life. They had become sheep. And all it took was a business man with a gun to cower them into submission. In Brave New World, Soma was the drug of choice used to keep the masses anesthetized to their plight; is it now entertainment and our never ending obsession with technology and pop culture that serves the same purpose? It’s
an interesting proposition.
I wouldn’t claim that Ready Player One is a perfect film. There were several narrative dead ends. For example, when Sam says to Wade, “Welcome to the rebellion,” it feels like something ‘big’ has just happened. But that idea never goes anywhere, because 10 minutes later the IOI forces invade Sam’s hideout, the “rebellion” is seemingly quelled, and the film basically reverts back to Sam and Wade’s personal journey, at least until the final battle. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the film’s sound design. Rather than going full-bore Baby Driver like I had expected, some of the music was mixed so far down as to be almost unrecognizable. (I’m curious to see if a second viewing at a different theater yields the same response. The theater I went to last night was having noticeable audio problems before the show started.)
Finally, can we please stop getting trailers that promise things not in the final cut? (Hello, JL.) Where for the love of MTV was “Take On Me,” or the Williams’ Superman theme after Wade puts on the Clark Kent glasses?? But in the grand scheme of things, these are minor complaints. Ready Player One stands tall, not just as great entertainment, but as a film with something important to say about our relationship with pop culture/technology, as well as the potential pitfalls of nostalgia. I can’t wait to see it again.