Ready Player One ★★★

I expected to hate this, and didn't. When the talents of the man who directed Minority Report encounter the prose of the man who wrote Armada (a book that makes a strong play for the title of my least-favourite work of commercial prose fiction), the struggle is mighty, but the former prevails. Despite retaining Ernest Cline's noxious conflation of obsessive pop-culture idolatry with virtue, Spielberg is enough of a craftsman that he's able to make Ready Player One feel fun while it lasts. Made of reconstituted parts though it may be, his Oasis is rendered so vividly, the camera untethered from any kind of physical reality as it zooms around the candy-coloured fantasia, that it's easy to get as drunk as the protagonists on its unlimited possibilities. It turns out Cline's fable of a scrappy, passionate young rebel triumphing over the infinitely superior resources of the faceless, corporate Man, could only be made palatable when a septuagenarian billionaire threw an army of technicians at it. The irony is delectable.

Full disclosure: I did feel a slight buzz at the triumphant entrance into the final battle of a Mobile Suit Gundam, because Mobile Suit Gundam is a property I already know I like, so it's possible I'm part of the problem.

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