Ready Player One review - Poster

Vic’s Ready Player One Review (Non-Spoilers)

What would be the easiest way for me to express my feelings for a Ready Player One review? Go see the movie and remember that Steven Spielberg is a Director of some renown? Sure. I feel you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t make it out to an actual movie theater and see it? Maybe. Nostalgia is not the be all and end all for the film? Definitely a truth, and in addition a valid point. No, the easiest way for me to sum up a Ready Player One review is that Spielberg has delivered a very fun film.

Obviously as I have already stated in previous posts, I admit I am one of the target audience. Of course I would be woefully inept if I didn’t mention the Retroist summed up the problems facing the film better than myself. But the truth is this. Ready Player One while not a perfect film is the closest we’ve come to seeing the Spielberg that brought us some genre-forging films. Similar to the likes of Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Furthermore, I truly feel that not only Spielberg but Zak Penn have taken the core of Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel. I don’t want to stay improved it, but perhaps brought other elements of the story to the forefront. Case in point, Art3mis, wonderfully played by Olivia Cooke. Many critics have lashed out at Cline…and with reason…that her role in the book is something akin to a prize to be won. I am happy to say that in the film version that couldn’t be further than the truth, yes, it’s still a love story but no one is being ‘won’.
Ready Player One review - Olivia Cooke

Tye Sheridan does a very good job of portraying the main protagonist of the film, Wade Watts aka Parzival. To be fair the film’s beginning might be considered a little heavy on the exposition. On the other hand this is a case where the audience needs to get caught up on the fly. So I think it’s honest to say that the filmmakers didn’t make a mistake in this regard. Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, as well as Simon Pegg do great jobs with their roles too. Although I felt that Mark Rylance stole the show, in his scenes as the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday.
Ready Player One review - James Halliday

Of course as has been seen in the trailers, in fact too much so, is the pop culture celebrated by the film. In that superior post by the Retroist, he wisely mentions that the marketing for the film. Had indeed slightly missed the point of the film itself. The nostalgia that those of us of a certain age will feel while watching the film…isn’t the film. It would however be fair to say that it is used as something akin to window dressing. In fact Cline’s 2015 follow up novel Armada goes way, way too far with the nostalgia. I want my main takeaway from this Ready Player One review to be this. In no way is the pop culture nods or nostalgia ever rammed down your throat or the like. It is most CERTAINLY celebrated but Spielberg yet again knows this isn’t what the movie is about.
Ready Player One - Bigfoot

Naturally since this is my Ready Player One review, I reckon I better tell you the synopsis. It is 2045 and Wade is like practially everyone on the planet. Just trying to find some relief from the oppressing life he was born into. It does appear that every Man, Woman, and Child find escape by way of a staggering virtual reality universe known as the OASIS. Which had been created earlier by Halliday and his best friend Ogden Morrow (Pegg), before a falling out saw Halliday becoming sole owner of the technology. The creator of the OASIS was literally loved by the World…and why not?
Ready Player One review - Parzival and Art3mis

This virtual reality paradise, assuming you can afford it, lets you do anything. With the right equipment you can even have physical contact, for good or ill. Many aspects of pop culture have been given literally their own planets. For example, Planet Doom, which appears to be a free-for-all. Especially when artifacts are up for grabs. Think of these as incredibly rare and powerful power-ups, to be used and hoarded by those throughout the OASIS.
Ready Player One review - Planet Doom

James Halliday has died several years before the start of Ready Player One. While the World mourns the loss of such a genius, the eccentric has a little game to play still. That is the fact that he has created the greatest Easter egg hunt. Somewhere in the overwhelming vastness of the OASIS are hidden three keys, the player that finds them will inherit Halliday’s fortune. As well as the OASIS itself I should add – which would make them the most powerful person on the planet. Which is of course why the IOI, an telecommunications empire wants to make sure they are the ones who find Halliday’s Easter Egg.

Obviously, Wade and his fellow Gunters, those who hunt for the keys and aren’t employed by IOI – find themselves in the crosshair of that powerful corporation. It becomes a race to see who will gain control of the OASIS…and Halliday’s dream of a better world.

Ready Player One, friends…it is an incredibly entertaining film. A joyride that sums up why I so dearly love movies. Many of those films that I hold so dear, were of course directed and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is an absolute blast to see him rekindle the ‘spirit’ of some of his earlier work. A film which understands the delights of all pop culture and most importantly, has a lot of heart.

That 80’s feeling is helped by a score composed by the legendary Alan Silvestri. So the last thing in this Ready Player One review is the opportunity to hear the main theme from the film. Enjoy!

[via] WaterTower Music

Jaws Will Drop When You Pick Up This Fright-Rags Box Set!

There is a very real possibility that you do not spend quite as much time thinking on the Halloween season as we do here at the Retroist. But the upside of us stressing over it almost daily is we can find the perfect item that will almost guarantee you are the hit of the party, like when you pick up the JAWS box set from Fright-Rags!

Just look at all of the awesome loot that $40 will net you!

All images courtesy of Fright-Rags.

All images courtesy of Fright-Rags.

Here is a closer look at that T-Shirt of Bruce by Christopher Lovell…
Jaws - Fright Rags - Christopher Lovell
…a prismatic sticker and most importantly the replica of the “Collegeville” Jaws mask and box! The only way you are going to get shown up at your Halloween party when wearing these is if someone comes dressed as a land shark!

Our 1975 Chevy K5 Blazer

When I was a kid, my Dad drove an orange 1975 Chevy Blazer just like this one:

The first generation of full-size Chevy K5 Blazers (1969-1972) were introduced to compete with Jeeps, Scouts, and the (then new) Ford Bronco. In 1973 the K5’s body style was updated to what you see above, and up until 1976, the entire top (including the part over the cab) came off in one single piece, making the whole thing a convertible.

After 1975, only the rear part of the roof (think “camper shell”) was removable and the part over the cab no longer came off. That makes the 1973-75 K5 Blazers pretty unique. There are slight grill differences between the three years, but unless you know what you’re looking for they all look essentially identical.

Because of their heavy duty build and 4WD capabilities, these K5 Blazers were often converted into police and military-style trucks, both in real life and in the movies. Chief Brody (played by Roy Scheider) drove one in Jaws:

And, survivalist Burt Gummer (played by Michael Gross) drove a jacked-up K5 in Tremors:

Since the entire top came off of our Blazer, that made it the perfect vehicle for two things: drive-in movies, and watching fireworks. The rear of our Blazer had a bench seat that could be rearranged to face forward, sideways, or backwards. It could also be removed completely. I remember going to the drive-in movies many times and lying on the carpet in the back with a couple of pillows and a can of Shasta Dr. Diablo in hand, watching movies with my family.

And, like I said, every 4th of July my Mom and my sister and I and a few of our friends would pile into the back of the Blazer, drive down to the local Community Center, and watch the fireworks explode overhead from the comfort of our own vehicle.

Every year on the 4th of July I think about that car. I’ve thought about buying one myself, but they’re at that weird age (30 years) where the ones I can afford are falling apart, and the ones that have been restored are out of my price range.

Chevy cancelled the K5 Blazer line in 1995 and replaced it with the Tahoe. The Blazer’s GMC twin, the Jimmy, was replaced in 1992 by the Yukon. Neither model is available as a hard top convertible.

Happy 4th of July, K5 Blazer!

Universal Studios Orlando Presents: Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years Of Movie Memories!

Universal Studios. For me that name conjurors up some incredibly powerful images from their legendary run as a motion picture film studio, as dream merchants presenting their wares in the time of the Silver Screen up to the multiplexes of today. All Quiet on the Western Front. Dracula. Frankenstein. The Killers. Harvey. Man of a Thousand Faces. Spartacus. The Sting. Jaws. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestial. Back to the Future. Jurassic Park. Just a few of the films that have found a way into the hearts of movie lovers over the past 100 years.

Now to celebrate those 100 years, Universal Studios Orlando have unveiled the Cinematic Spectacular! Universal Entertainment and its Creative Director, Michael Aiello, have scoured the studio archives so they could craft an 18 minute show that will be held in the park’s lagoon. Not only will visitors be awed by the show with it’s ingenious use of water, film footage, pyrotechnics, and sweeping music by using a symphonic score blended with the well loved themes from the movies, but as narrator to the short film they brought in Morgan Freeman.

[Via] Inside the Magic.Net’s YouTube Channel

The press release from Universal Studios Orlando:

“Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories

The new show is a tribute to Universal’s 100 years of film-making history, highlighting some of the most fun, dramatic, awe-inspiring moments from Universal Pictures’ most iconic films. These moments are shown in crystal-clear clarity on huge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios Lagoon, surrounded by colorful fountains and pyrotechnics, all against an incredible musical score and a powerful narration by Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. The show will take guests on a journey of epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good versus evil and triumph – all against a backdrop of light, sound and special effects.

Everyone can remember powerful film moments such as Elliott and E.T. riding across the moon in E.T: The Extra Terrestrial, the heroic struggle of the crew from Apollo 13 or the terror of watching the famed shower scene in Psycho. Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular captures these moments – and so many more. Other iconic films featured in the show include American Pie, The Bourne Ultimatum, Jurassic Park, Scent of a Woman, The Mummy, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Fast and the Furious.

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories and Universal’s Superstar Parade will run year-round except during annual and special events. For more information about both experiences, visit www.universalorlando.com.”