Over the recent holiday break I found myself in the movie theater to watch The Last Jedi. Given how profoundly disappointing and unimaginative the movie was (something I may explore in another post), I left the theater thinking about an entirely different movie.
In fact, I began to think of this other movie before The Last Jedi even started. One of the movie trailers at the beginning was from Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming Ready Player One. And it looked genuinely innovative and culturally fascinating.
During the many moments of boredom during the main attraction, I began to reflect upon what this new movie says about the world we live in (or, for some, the world we pretend to not live in).
Based upon the 2011 book of the same name by Ernest Cline, the film is a futuristic dystopian drama set in 2045. An energy crisis has destroyed the world, creating a miserable existence for millions.
In order to escape the world they live in, people have turned to a virtual reality world fittingly named OASIS. In this world they can take on new identities (AVATARS) and live a life of fulfillment, excitement, and pleasure.
The protagonist, Wade Watts, lives almost his entire life in the virtual world–even going to school in simulation. His relationships and his identity are all bound up with his online existence. In the film, he is drawn into a life or death competition to find an “easter egg” hidden in the OASIS worth billions. [Read more…]