What if all the experts are wrong about the future? Ready Player One gives us clues they may be.
I have thought for a long time that films and innovative TV shows give us clues about youth like nothing else; they show us the direction of travel so to speak, the mood and a collective consciousnesses of sorts that authors, writers and film makers seemed to be plugged into. The Hunger Games gave us a glimpse at youth turning their back on reality TV, which they have, so when interesting new films come out I pay attention, particularly for the ones that seem to match a vibe I am picking up from young people.
Ready Player One is a 2011 science fiction novel, and the debut novel of American author Ernest Cline. The story, set in a dystopian 2044, follows protagonist Wade Watts on his search for an Easter egg in a worldwide virtual reality game, the discovery of which will lead him to inherit the game creator’s fortune. It is geeky and a gamer’s dream with half of it set in a virtual reality world. I have never sat in a cinema with so many geeky males at one time. In theory I shouldn’t have liked this film – I still have dreadful memories of Tron – but I loved it. The cast, other than Simon Pegg and Olivia Cooke, were pretty unknown and the group of misfits did a brilliant job of gripping you from the start.
But for me what was so interesting about this film was its nod at an all-too-familiar sight; young people’s shunning of technology for the real world. While other people are arguing about what AI and Virtual Reality and Instagram will do to our children, I’m slightly sniggering in the corner because I know what most don’t, and that is that young people are putting their technology down and favouring real experiences. the sale of hard books, vinyls and vintage record players are all on the rise, not to mention the obsession they have with the 80’s, a very real time. This film is littered with the 80’s references in a spectacular and funny way.
A very Stranger Things Vibe
This film yet again shows a group of young misfits banding together to save the world from adults, and with a very Stranger Things vibe it is bound to be a hit with young people.
And it touches on some important messages.
1. The danger of immersion in an entirely virtual world.
2., The real world versus reality.
3. Avatars versus real people and how you never really know.
So if you really want to know where our world might end up and how amazing young people really are, I suggest you give this film a watch.