'Ready Player One' Is Heavy On Thrills, Nostalgia + Progressive Pablum (Spoilers)
Packed with dizzying visuals, Steven Spielberg’s big screen adaptation of the popular Ernest Cline novel Ready Player One felt more like a poor man’s version of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash accented by whiffs of The Matrix, The Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Ready Player One is heavy on video game nostalgia hailing mostly from the 80s and mixes in some decent messaging with some not so decent messaging.
(NOTE: I haven't read Ready Player One. Forgive anything I may be getting wrong here that has been faithfully extracted from the book. Don't ding me, bros.)
The very act of mixing messages makes it especially subversive. In doing so, the good ol' fashioned common sense we can all get behind (e.g. spending more time in the real world with loved ones, keeping the Internet free from monopolistic control) and the bad (e.g. Cultural Marxism), makes for more effective indoctrination of young kids who will absolutely find a lot to like about this flick.
Hey, the movie even made me want to fire up my many old Nintendo consoles and reinforced my intention to get a VR headset, such as the forthcoming Oculus Go. I grew up playing endless amounts of video games, first on an IBM PC running DOS, then Atari, followed by Nintendo. After the Nintendo 64, I lost interest until my Apple TV 4th Generation offered casual gaming. I told myself once VR became a thing, I'd check back in to see what's what. Seems we're nearly there.
The first hour establishing the world and the plot occupied my perception of time swiftly enough, then the back half felt very long and there were points where I either got lost or I wasn’t lost at all. Maybe there just wasn’t much point to what I was watching unfold.
The plot is simple enough: Obtain Easter eggs giving winners three keys left by the deceased creator of the Oasis, Halliday, in order to gain control over his huge fortune and the Oasis itself. Naturally, this triggers a violent gold rush pitting regular users against I0I Corporation. America 2045 is a mess. People choose to escape a slum-like life by living mostly in the Oasis. One only takes breaks for sleeping, eating and personal hygiene.
I0I wants control to make money by cluttering people's visuals with ads. The users want to win so they can secure a relatively free and open Oasis status quo.
There were some entertaining pop culture cameos featured. They weren’t overdone, as I expected they would be. The Shining bit was fun. I expected to see more of these classic film vignettes superimposed onto Ready Player One as the ad campaign teased. Instead, Robocop, Batman and the like were pushed to the periphery.
Gender role reversals were here, of course. Art3mis/Samantha asks Parzival/Wade out to a dance club. Art3mis, written like a guy, is much more dominant than low T Parzival until the end, when his real life persona Wade rightly makes the first move for the first kiss. This first kiss problem evaded Halliday his whole life and helped Wade find his courage.
Then we have H. Your friendly, everyday, woke LGBTXYZABC token in the form of a black non-gender conforming trans lesbian thing. Lena Waithe, who plays H, recently graced the cover of Vanity Fair as an ideal of "new beauty." Why?
Cultural Marxists want to destroy the longstanding pillars, foundations, ideals and institutions of Natural Law that make Western Civilization work. Lena Waithe, and by extension H, are weapons against this. I’ll never understand why biological women want to dress themselves as half-effeminate dudes. Men’s clothing isn’t flattering on women. It’s not original; it’s clownish and attention seeking.
Anyway, bad guy and CEO of I0I, Sorrento, is — you guessed it — a white male corporate archetype who lusts for power, money and control of the Oasis. Ironic considering these character attributes describe Spielberg and his elite Media/Big Tech coterie perfectly. Ready Player One settles on the idea that some amalgamation of control resembling an owned-by-all yet ruled by an elite High 5 group brand of Communism is what’s best for the Oasis.
“Why hello there fellow kids, I’m fighting for freedom and decentralization just like you. Pay no attention to my authoritarian, progressive political activities and deep integration with Big Tech and Big Hollywood," as a parody avatar of Steven Spielberg's might say.
It's amusing to me that these Hollywood Cultural Marxists sell Communism paired with free speech. I'm not familiar with Ernest Cline's politics, but I can guess they're not MAGA. He's sometimes known as a slam poet, so he probably didn't attend the 2016 RNC. To be sure, there's free speech and free expression in a Cultural Marxist's world. Express THEIR views and agree with THEIR ideas or face total ruination. This is “choice” in the current year. You can choose to live or be unpersoned.
Spielberg's Amblin/DreamWorks campus has a small, full-time staff dedicated to enacting his far left political activism. Many people don't know this.
What's more, the rise of debt slavery is addressed in the movie. This is among the movie's few strengths. It's topical from what we see with student loans ballooning into the trillions, and are not dischargeable via bankruptcy. Similarly, the I0I Loyalty Centers mirror this America 2018 problem in the film. Whereas users have their debts, racked up playing in the Oasis, purchased by I0I. This leads to a miserable, prison-like existence of inescapable, indentured servitude as something called a Sixer. It's not hard to imagine a Google/Facebook/Apple/Microsoft campus resembling this in the decades to come.
The ending wrapped up too easily. Sorrento, faced with the opportunity to kill Parzival, doesn't take the point blank shot and is arrested by the police, who appear at the very end to mop things up Scooby Doo style. In fact, the ending felt ripped from a Scooby Doo episode.
The Oasis is saved and will now be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays to allow for more quality time spent in reality. Two whole days in reality will surely eliminate all those unsightly 2045 junkyards people call cities.
Snow Crash had better characters, a better plot, featured a more interesting world and wasn’t as corny. I dig nostalgia and sentimentalism as much as the next guy, but Ready Player One laid it on pretty thick.
In any event, the future shown in Ready Player One is not a future we should be building. Yet, I see fiber being laid for it everyday. In the years ahead, the only place to experience what we used to know as freedom may require a Big Tech-branded set of goggles.