Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One heads to Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday (available on streaming/digital services now), based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, and this is going to be a must-have for anyone who has grown up in the video game culture that started in the 70s with the original Atari Video Computer System (a.k.a. Atari 2600) – which, by the way, figures prominently in the movie…
Despite the era of nostalgia, the movie itself is set in the near future, after events have resulted in many locations becoming slums. To escape, almost everyone takes part in a massively multiplayer virtual reality environment called OASIS, co-created by James Halliday (Mark Rylance) and Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg). Many take the game VERY seriously – losing in the game results in losing their in-game characters, called being “zeroed out” and leads to suicides in some cases. People spend a lot of real money to enhance their in-game experience, such as full-body feedback outfits, 360-degree treadmills, etc.
When Halliday passes away (Morrow left the company), he wills control of OASIS to be given to the one who finds an in-game Easter Egg, which can only be obtained by completing three different game quests to obtain one of three different keys. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan, X-Men: Apocalypse), a 17-year-old orphan living with his aunt in the “Stacks”, shoddily-built vertical trailer parks, known in OASIS as Parzival, teams up with his on-line friend Aech (Lena Waithe, Master of None) to take on the first quest, a race through a city with many obstacles, to find the key before other “gunters” – easter egg hunters – find it first, including an army of players from the Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a corporation who wants to take over the OASIS and use it to sell marketing to the players, and will stop at nothing to do so. He also befriends Art3mis (Olivia Cooke, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), a famous gunter, along with Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki), to form the “High Five” and team up in the quests.
Also appearing (at least in voice) are T.J. Miller (Deadpool), who’s voice provides a nice counter to the apparent rugged bounty hunter person of i-R0k; Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) as Nolan Sorrento, the CEO of IOI; and Hannah John-Kamen (Killjoys, Ant-Man and the Wasp) as F’Nale Zandor, a real-world IOI operative hunting down the High Five.
While the plot is somewhat basic and predictable, it’s the visuals and references that are really interesting. I at first thought that this was going to be too CGI-centric and a distraction, but after a bit it felt natural in a weird way. And there are some stunning recreations, like the parts from The Shining). But what really hooked me was all the little things, both overt and background, that referenced the things we grew up with. From the many characters that can be seen in the background to the appearance of the Iron Giant (although, as some point out, misused), to the various Atari games and more. There are so many it will take multiple viewings to spot many of them – finding easter eggs in a movie about finding easter eggs!!! I saw a Colecovision towards the end…and I want Halliday’s t-shirts!
If you are particularly interested in motion-capture acting as well, check out the special features to see how a lot of it was done – there is just as much live acting, if not more!
Overall, it was a very enjoyable movie with some laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of “did-you-see-that”s as well!
Director Steven Spielberg will return to film a movie for Warner Bros after a 14 year absence…he is taking the reins of Ready Player One, based on the popular novel by Ernest Cline. Spielberg’s last movie for the studio was A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
The story takes place in 2044, and Wade Watts, a young gamer, seeks to unravel the clues left within the massive game universe of Oasis, which the late creator left as a challenge to find someone worthy of of taking over his estate – including the corporation and the game itself. When Watts closes in on the first clue, he discovers that others are willing to kill for it…
Zac Penn is writing the script, after it was started by Cline and Eric Eason (A Better Life).
CBS has announced that actors Natalie Martinez (CSI: NY) and newcomer Alex Koch have been signed to star in the 13-episode straight-to-series Under The Dome, which is being produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and is based on a novel by Stephen King.
The series, set to air this summer, is about a small New England town that suddenly finds itself cut off from the rest of the world by a dome, and must learn to survive in post-apocalyptic conditions while trying to discover where they dome came from, and why.
CBS has given a 13 episode order – straight to series – for drama Under The Dome, to be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and based on a novel by Stephen King, in which a small New England town suddenly finds itself cut off from the rest of the world by a dome, and must learn to survive in post-apocalyptic conditions while trying to discover where they dome came from, and why.
Neal Baer (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) will act as showrunner, with Niels Arden Oplev (Unforgettable) directing the lead episode.
If this sounds familiar, we reported on this over a year ago, when the project was set up at Showtime. Apparently the project was stalled there, so Amblin asked for it to be released and CBS picked it up in turnaround.
Twentieth Century Fox is looking to it’s science fiction past for it’s future, with a re-release and sequels.
Today the studio announced that after the success of the re-release of Titanic in 3D (which made $344 million worldwide), they would give the same 3D treatment to Independence Day, looking to release that July 3rd, 2013. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters will be released on August 16th, and for the holidays a movie based on the TV series/live show Walking With Dinosaurs will be released December 20th.
Then, in 2014, Fox plans to take the Spring to Summer season starting with the Steven Spielberg directed Robopocalypse on April 25th; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, on May 23rd (Memorial Day); and the next currently-untitled X-Men movie, on July 18th.
In an interesting move that involves three separate studios, both Dreamworks and Fox have agreed to co-finance Steven Spielberg’s next directorial effort, Robopocalyse, based on the novel by Daniel H. Wilson, about the day when our robot servants turn against us. The third studio involved is Disney, who will distribute the film domestically, likely under its Touchstone Pictures banner.
This sounds interesting…Showtime has signed on for a project with Stephen Spielberg (who seems to be involved in a lot of TV projects lately) and Steven King for a TV series based on King’s 2009 novel, Under The Dome, produced by DreamWorks Television.
The premise of the book is that the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine suddenly finds itself inside a domed force field, cut off from the outside world. The inhabitants are then forced to find a way to survive.
Wasn’t there an Outer Limits episode with a similar story?
/Film has the first trailer for Falling Skies, the alien invasion TV series from Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, which will air on TNT beginning in June 2011. Here is the press release:
FALLING SKIES is an exciting new series from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg. Noah Wyle (ER, TNT’s The Librarian movies) stars as a former college professor who becomes the leader of a group of soldiers and civilians struggling against an occupying alien force. Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) co-stars as Anne Glass, a therapist who works with the surviving children to help them cope with the traumatic situation. The series also stars Drew Roy (Lincoln Heights) as Hal and Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom’s two sons; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps run the group’s commissary. Will Patton (Armageddon, TNT’s Into the West) will play a recurring role as a fierce resistance fighter.
Nothing new here in terms of plot, but at least from the trailer the production quality looks interesting. I wonder if TNT gives Steven notes on how he should change things… 🙂
Could Steven Spielberg’s Terra Nova series be in trouble? Insiders say no, but 20th Century Fox Television has apparently laid off the entire writing staff, although show runner Brannon Braga still remains. Fox has reportedly changed its mind about when to debut the series – originally planned as a mid-season January start, they have decided to postpone it until Fall 2011 and instead do a two-hour pilot movie to air in May. Letting the writers go is seen as a cost-cutting measure in the meantime, and the writers will be rehired if available when production picks up again – if it picks up. Welcome to Fox, Steven…have you met Joss?
Steven Spielberg has confirmed he will direct Robopocalypse as his next film. Robopocalypse is a novel by Daniel H. Wilson that will be published next year about humans attempting to survive a robot uprising. Drew Goddard (Lost, Cloverfield) adapted the screenplay.