Before we start: This is Movie Man No. 1,300; if you have been along for the ride, congratulations – you must have vast movie knowledge by now.
Let’s continue: When the greatest American director makes another movie, you kinda have to go see it.
About the film
Steven Spielberg is the U.S.’ best movie director. (The Movie Man would place Martin Scorsese second.)
To look at Spielberg’s history as a director is mind boggling. (Plus, he’s produced a ton more stuff.)
He has made some of the greatest movies of all-time – sometimes consecutively:
1975 – Jaws
1977 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982 – E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
1993 – Jurassic Park (Movie Man No. 5 [!], 9, Best of Year)
1993 – Schlindler’s List (MM #22, 9)
1998 – Saving Private Ryan (MM #244, 8)
2001 – A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (MM #411, 7)
2002 – Minority Report (MM #462, 7
2012 – Lincoln (MM #1010, 8)
And these are just the biggies. The Indiana Jones sequels are fun and so is a slew of other “lesser” outings.
Aside from a bevy of classics, Spielberg is not shy about taking on challenging genres.
He’s done animation recently (but with surprising little success with The Adventures of Tin Tin  and The BFG [2016, MM #1209, 6]).
Next up for Spielberg is a foray into a musical, a remake of West Side Story.
It’ll be a challenge to best that 1961 classic. Its soundtrack remained on the Billboard album charts at No. 1 for 54 weeks.
The movie itself was a juggernaut, winning 10 Oscars.
So, Spielberg has a chore before him; but, if anyone can do it, it’s him.
In 2045, Wade (Tye Sheridan) lives in a crowded, dreary world – but one that can be escaped from by entering the Oasis via virtual reality.
The Oasis’ creator, Halliday (Mark Rylance), is revered as a god, one who worshipped everything about 1980s culture.
After his death, Rylance left behind a chance for someone to take control of the Oasis, by finding three hidden keys.
Sheridan teams up with four others and they try to solve the mystery before an evil corporation led by Ben Mendelsohn (Sorrento) does.
Spielberg, whose movies always improve with multiple viewings, has done the same thing again. The screen is packed with homages to the ‘80s; fans will have a field day trying to dig them all out.
The movie is a marvel of eye candy; in several scenes, the 3-D is worth it – objects are zooming and dipping everywhere.
The movie is stolen by Rylance as Halliday; his backstory is memorable.
There’s a scene where Sheridan and a young woman he’s smitten with Samantha – Parzival and Art3mis, respectively, as avatars in the Oasis – disco dance to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.” That’s always cool.
The opening action sequence is a car racing scene that is so quick and twisty that it’s dizzying. It’s almost too much; some viewers will turn away from the relentless action.
What doesn’t work
There are stretches where the plot gets in the way – things slow down too much.
The trio of puzzles are not detailed much, so their solving isn’t that satisfying.
The final good-evil confrontation is dull.
There’s a lot of cussing here; it’s a PG-13 but a hard one.
Ready Player One R eked into 7 territory. It’s good, not great, but its visuals edged it to a 7.
A Quiet Place.