Ready Player One ★★★★

A completely decent celebration of kitsch and geekery in a very unthreatening Joseph Campbell structure.

While fun visually, it's a slog story wise, as there is too much plot-content, and too little mileau and character time to really effectively engage an audience emotionally. Spielberg makes it as good as possible with impeccable pacing and superb visuals and blocking of the action, but the filmmaking just isn't enough to elevate the material.

In some ways, the central problem is that there is not enough time in a film for the story. Many would groan at the thought of a longer film, but fundamentally, a five or six episode limited series would have served the material really well. That makes the keys themselves seem less perfunctory and macguffin-ish, and would give time to enjoy the richly imagined future, allow the back story to percolate, and the characters the time for the audience to give a damn about any of them.

And what the film adaptation probably seriously needs more than anything is using the characters to contrast the stereotypical, so rather than being bland white dude hero number bazillion, make Wade Woggs, Wren Woggs, and shoot, make generic bad corporate guy number bazillion a woman as well (hehe cast Meryl Streep!). So rather than one (and then two, surprise (not a surprise) women existing in this entire story, flip it so that it's only one or two men in the story. The harder you push this direction the more interesting it becomes thematically on a lot of levels.

But just another dude on a hero's journey is the same sort of anonymously entertaining stuff we always get, which is appropriate for remixed kitsch, but misses the opportunities inherent in a remix approach.