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saw: ready player one

In the span of one year in the early 2000s, Steven Spielberg gave us two completely different, painstakingly conceived depictions of the near future in A.I. and Minority Report. The future foretold in Ready Player One is not nearly in the same league of invention, serving primarily to justify the machinations of a children’s movie. In 1988, Spielberg used his producing clout to unite animated characters from multiple studios in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, to alchemic effect. The crossover bonanza in Ready Player One almost achieves a similar moonshot at one point but mostly feels like someone rifled through the intellectual property bin at Warner Bros. and called in a couple of favors from the director’s illustrious colleagues. (Robert Zemeckis gives his blessing; George Lucas sold his blessing to Disney.) The result is more of a Super Smash Bros. mêlée than history-making cinema. Two closing thoughts: gratuitous fan-service is not filmmaking; nostalgia is a psychiatric disorder. Grade: B

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