Ready Player One is a visually intensive “blast.” Stephen Spielberg pulled off many amazing stunts and scenes, utilizing the latest special effects technology. The look of the film, which seems to have an unlimited budget, is designed to capture gamers and video game lovers attention. Lots of virtual reality weapons, car and truck racing, explosions, and many movies playing a part like a Disney theme park come to life. (The Shining was particularly effective and fun.) My favorite scene was when Chucky and a emoji attack players. The real world is broken, and depressing. Slum trailer parks and mansions, little in between. Based on the novel by Ernest Cline (narrated on audio by Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame), it features a USPS van driven at the climax by the heroes, who are being attacked by corporate killers. The message of the film is that “VR is not reality, only reality is real.” So in a way it takes the path of Avatar, drama and romance and war, ending with food for thought. The switch from first person shooters to adventure games with puzzles may get some fans to switch from thinking “Reality is Broken” as an escape to thinking “Reality can be fixed. Let’s do it.”
He pushed through the swinging back doors into the carrier station. People he’d seen every day for years were there, busy as usual. He walked past them. When he got to the big fan set up near the stairwell, he paused and stared into it. Taking off his sunglasses for a moment, he gazed into the polished and spinning surface of the fan’s convex center hub.
—It was like a circus mirror.
—His face appeared fat, and drenched with sweat. His bloodshot eyes stared back at him like a clown’s whose makeup had run. He turned to look back at the others, wondering if they saw too, but no one cared for sideshows.
—The stairwell’s doorknob beckoned. Gleaming. Seeing a tiny but headless reflection of his body mirrored in it, he reached out his hand in fascination. Then he gripped it. Suddenly, resolutely. Like a handshake. Finally, he opened the door and stepped inside.
—Once on the staircase, he began to climb methodically, one step at a time. Having come to return his postal carrier pack as he’d been instructed, he now opened the pack and withdrew the .45 automatic inside. When he arrived at the top of the stairs, he opened the door into the office hallway, and could hear the secretaries chatting together. —Laughing.
—It was cooler up here. Much cooler.
—He ran his hand across his matted hair, feeling for a moment the cold air streaming down from the vent nearest him. Then he lifted his gun, and started down the hallway. Walking past the offices, he fired as he went. When he got to the corner office, he found station manager Ollie Westover behind his mahogany desk, on the phone. A cup of black coffee was spilled across several papers.
—Ollie looked up and said, “No–don’t do it . . . Thompson, right?”
—“Right,” Thompson said. And fired.
—Afterward, he went to the window, and gazed down at the street fronting the postal station. As he waited, he felt the air conditioning coming from the vent above Ollie’s slowly cooling body. Then, in the distance, he heard the expected sirens approach. At last, several police cars and an unmarked white Cavalier arrived, screeching into the front lot, narrowly missing several patrons.
—He smiled sadly as he put the .45 to his own head.
—“Vaya con Dios,” he whispered.