Eye Candy, Ear Worm filled “Ready Player One”


Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” was made for the holiday season.

It’s about an Easter egg by a director known for gilding the lily.

MV5BY2JiYTNmZTctYTQ1OC00YjU4LWEwMjYtZjkwY2Y5MDI0OTU3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTI4MzE4MDU@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Its classic Spielberg overkill. But it also in his sci-fi wheelhouse.

The teenage hero played Ty Sheridan lives in a post apocalyptic housing project called The Stacks whose residents escape into The Oasis a video game universe inspired by 1980s pop culture.

The introverted nerd who created it is played by Mark Rylance who people forget is a former Milwaukee resident.

The game world  is a tsunami of imagery too hard describe, much less remember. There are references to cartridge video games, Michael Jackson, Buckaroo Bonzai, King Kong, “Tron,” the Iron Giant and Mechagodzilla.

A weapon is named after Robert Zemeckis. A Scooby Doo type misadventure is set inside the Overlook Lodge, a tribute to “The Shining” that mentions Stephen King’s dislike of the film.

And the soundtrack is a collection of earworms, ala “Guardians of the Galaxy.” You’ll be singing Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” at the film’s end.

When he died the game’s creator hid an easter egg in its code; whoever finds it inherits this universe. The hero and friends he knows in the game but not in the real world join forces to find  it before it is found by a greedy corporate villain vividly over played by Ben Mendelsohn.

Spielberg’s too-much-is-not-enough style of flooding the zone with visual information is perfect for this pop culture strobe light and explains the films 140 minute running time.

I saw it in 3D which really amped up the effects. Weirdly it is devoid of Spielberg’s landmark pop culture contributions,  And although – spoiler alert – the good guys’ triumph, the victory seems Pyrrhic since the people living in the stacks do not appear to share the win.

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