With Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg signs a phenomenal self-portrait [critique]

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Warner bros

The filmmaker’s return to SF is a success.

In March 2018, two months later Pentagon Papers, Steven spielberg changed dimension to sign a stunning sci-fi film, coupled with a phenomenal self-portrait. Watch out for spoilers, however: his film is full of surprises. We are reposting our review of Ready Player One on the occasion of its rebroadcast on TMC, this evening, and pending the new production of the filmmaker, West Side Story, which will be released this Wednesday, December 8.

Ready Player One’s 10 Coolest Winks

We were a little skeptical about the project Ready Player One, especially because of the novel by Ernest Cline (Player One) and his deceptively cool way of touting geek culture. His little bestseller was a too smooth and empty celebration of 80s nostalgia, a sacralization of brands and icons that turned to hyperconsumerism. Cline had thought of his entire novel as an old pot in which to boil all the pop myths (from Star wars à la DeLoreane through video games Street fighter and Pac-Man) with good old Spielberg as the main ingredient. A Proust madeleine without a creative horizon, a servile ode, weighed down by the absence of a point of view, which contradicted the very spirit of this counter-culture, which only has meaning transgressive, radical and irreverent. So, when we learned that it was Steven Spielberg himself who was taking over the film adaptation, we remained skeptical, fearing self-celebration. We were wrong.

Ready Player One: “If Steven hadn’t been here, the film wouldn’t have seen the light of day”

FANTASIES. The film takes place in 2044. The earth looks like a gigantic shanty town where men pile up in dirty mobile homes. Like most of his contemporaries, the hero, Wade Watts, deceives his boredom by donning VR glasses and “sliding” into a virtual world called OASIS. There, his avatar travels through worlds populated by monsters, engages in racing cars or epic battles. As the tale begins, OASIS creator James Halliday has just died. To ensure that his inheritance does not fall into the wrong hands, the inventor has decided to bequeath OASIS to whoever finds three virtual keys after three trials. Wade is not alone on the starting line … From the first scene, we understand that Ready Player One will not be a taxidermist film. Spielberg uses this story as a springboard to completely rethink cinema. His cinema. As soon as we catch our breath (roughly after the first twenty delirious minutes), we understand that it is, on the contrary, his freest film, the craziest. Entering the virtual allows the wonderboy to realize all his fantasies (rewrite films, enter a game, go from the real to the virtual in the same movement), to reinvent a grammar of cinema and to dare impossible transitions to impress on the story. a hectic pace (the first car race buries the phantom chase of Speed ​​racer). Each scene seems to be thought of from the single point of view of the bravery piece, as if Spielberg wanted to experiment with all possibilities.

Zero nod to Star Wars in Ready Player One?

AVATARS. Corn Ready Player One is above all a true auteur film which, starting from Cline’s homage, adjusts an overwhelming self-portrait. In this, RPO traces the furrow of Bridge of spies (who wondered about the confused identity of the hero) and even more of his Good Fat Giant, which painted a portrait of a dreamy Cyclops. Here, Spielberg multiplies himself and hides behind three avatars: first there is Halliday (played by the filmmaker’s double, Mark Rylance), a naive, well-intentioned and somewhat autistic mogul, who hunts the dreams of his human brothers and captures them not to put them under glass, but in a virtual reality, and inoculate them in the minds of the players as one projects an image. Halliday is the Spielberg of today confronted with his heritage and his responsibilities, a demiurge who has shaped the imagination of the planet and who must be held to account. In front of him, we find the young Wade (Tye Sheridan, who looks, with glasses close, to the Spielberg of forty years ago), kid animated by the direction of the marvelous, who wants to surpass his predecessor and push his inventions further. . And, between them, we find Nolan Sorrento, the cynical industrialist and desperate to crush the competition. Three avatars of Spielberg, the man who defined the rules of the game (of entertainment) and who faces his (é) months, confronts his gods (the ” meet “ with Kubrick is one of the craziest scenes of recent years) to better position himself in front of himself. There is no question of nostalgia, nor of mummification here. What tells Ready Player Oneis the ambiguity of Spielberg’s status in the history of American cinema over the past forty years, this industrial giant, this insatiable dreamer driven by the incredible lavishness of his inspiration and his deference to his elders, and a businessman who could have gone wrong, but has always refrained from listening to his (too) commercial aspirations. By facing his own statue, he signs a daring, radical film. And one of the most personal too, as if, as he grew older, he felt the need to retrace his steps in his own footsteps to take stock. Futuristic and memorial. Balèze. Then : Ready? Go!

Gaël Golhen

Ready Player One could become a franchise

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