Saturday, 24 March 2018

Players get ready to enter The Oasis – watcha need to know about READY PLAYER ONE

The ultimate video game inspired movie of the year is about to be uploaded into cinemas worldwide this week. From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the action adventure READY PLAYER ONE based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Movie Synopsis:
In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place.  The only time Wade Watts truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days.  In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination.  The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday, who left his immense fortune and total control of the Oasis to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir.  When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—aka the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.

Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Wade Watts. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (Schindler’s List [director & picture], and Saving Private Ryan [director]) directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on the novel by Cline, which has spent more than 100 weeks on the The New York Times Best Sellers list and recently shot to #1.  READY PLAYER ONE stars Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) as lead protagonist Wade Watts with Olivia Cooke as Art3mis, Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One – A Star Wars Story) as main antagonist Sorrento, T.J. Miller (Deadpool) as I-R0k, Simon Pegg (Star Trek,  Mission: Impossible) as Ogden Morrow and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) as James Halliday.

Wade Watts alter-ego Parzival in The OASIS. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Hear from Steven Spielberg himself and the cast of READY PLAYER ONE in this behind-the-scenes IMAX featurette:

It is certainly no secret that geek pop culture references are aplenty in this movie, drawn from classic video games over the last 30 years like Streetfighter and Overwatch as well as cult movies of like Back to the Future and The Shining. In the movie this is explained as OASIS creator's James Halliday's fascination with the 1980's when video games were born and conception of the internet. Find out more about Halliday and the dystopian future of READY PLAYER ONE at as well as play some retro video games via the web.

Yes, that's the DeLorean time-machine from Back To The Future serving as Parzival's ride in The OASIS. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Outpost Productions managed to catch an early screening of READY PLAYER ONE in Malaysia. Here are reactions immediately after the movie:

READY PLAYER ONE opens nationwide at Malaysian cinemas on 29 March with advance screenings starting the night before. Follow the official Facebook Page Ready Player One Movie for latest updates as well as locally on Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia.

Also thanks to the nice folks at Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia, we are giving away Preview Tickets for Ready Player One screening at GSC Mid Valley on Tuesday 27 March, 8.45pm. Check at the bottom of this post for instructions on how to win a pair of tickets.

For the first time ever, Outpost Productions is posting here trilingual movie reviews thanks to contributing writers Carolyn Hai (English), Ezli Qamari (Malay) and Micho Teh (Chinese):

MOVIE REVIEW by Carolyn Hai ( StarFyr3z )

Are you a fan of hunting for easter eggs in movies? Not literally the chocolate ones, the Easter egg in this context can be an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a movie or video game. Whether or not you are a fan of easter egg hunting, READY PLAYER ONE is the movie for you!

Anorak's Quest for all players to find the ultimate prize: an Easter Egg that would bequeath the winner control of the OASIS and immense wealth.

Wade Watts (Gamer Tag, Parzival) is one of many Gunters, gamer slang for egg hunters, caught in an extremely dangerous adventure, one that might even cost him his life in the real world when competing against the “evil” mega-corporation Innovative Online Industries, or IOI of short (not to be confused with Malaysia's IOI Corporation).

That's NOT a Xenomorph egg in the background! it's the ultimate Easter Egg.
I went in without expectations much from the movie. I wasn’t attracted the trailer, the poster (above) gave me the impression that I wouldn’t like the movie and the name wasn’t even catchy. So when I got the opportunity to watch READY PLAYER ONE, I was treated to an endless stream of adventure through the various virtual realms and enjoyed nearly every moment of it (except for the slightly horror part lah, since I am terrified of anything to do with horror in general). The poster (especially) didn’t do much justice for the movie at all!

The moment they introduced us to the OASIS, I was quickly enchanted by the beauty and the endless possibilities of that virtual reality universe, something I wish that we will definitely be getting by the time we reach 2045. The Possibilities. Are. Endless. From fully customized avatars to traveling through different worlds of various themes, I really felt like I belonged there. The contrast between reality and virtual was very clearly distinguished, and it made a lot of sense why the people in the movie would treat the OASIS as a sanctuary from reality.

Ben Mendelsohn swaps his Imperial uniform for a corporate suit as Nolan Sorrento, CEO of Innovation Online Industries. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
The cast were also fantastic, especially the main antagonist Nolan Sorrento, CEO of IOI. To simply put it without spoiling anything, every action and every decision made by the characters felt like they have been carefully analyzed, all the way up to the flaws of being human.

If you have not watched the movies or played the games featured in this movie, like me, fear not! You will still be able to follow the main story line as they made sure to include helpful scenes, conversations and characters to help you stay on track.

The movie also subtly highlighted the dos and don’ts of dealing with people in virtual reality, sending a very strong message across to create awareness to the audience about the dangers of virtual reality. As a casual gamer, I could relate to some of the things mentioned, having experienced it first hand before (and guilty for some).

The Iron Giant stomps into action in The OASIS battlegrounds. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
For a movie focusing on a global scale easter egg hunt, they included many characters and references from games and movies for your hunting pleasure, especially if you are a hardcore gamer or movie enthusiast.  According to an interview, the production team spent three years getting all the legal rights for all the characters featured so I am pretty sure you will at least find some that you know in here. Amongst some that were spotted were Tracer from Overwatch, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (ED: catch her prequel movie still in showing in cinemas), Chun Li & Ryu from Street Fighter, King Kong and the T-rex of Jurassic Park. I swear that there was a laugh that came from Plant vs Zombies in the last leg of the film. Maybe you could help me confirm that easter egg when you check it out in cinemas ;)

Happy Easter egg hunting and may the force be with you *wink*

== / ==

ULASAN FILEM oleh Ezli Qamari

Pada tahun 2045, akibat kesempitan hidup ramai yang memilih hidup dalam dunia virtual dari dunia sebenar. OASIS adalah tempat untuk melarikan diri dari realiti yang dicipta oleh James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Setelah kematiannya, Halliday meninggalkan seluruh harta melalui pertandingan dunia virtual untuk mencari 'Easter Egg'. Apabila Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) menjadi juara pada pertandingan pertama, dia diburu Nolan Sorrento yang tamak mahu menjadi juara dan merampas harta Halliday.

Berapa kali kita keluar pawagam selepas menonton filem berdasarkan game/komik/novel/sejarah dan mendengar hujah “Kau kena baca/main dulu baru faham cerita ni”. Persoalan timbul, kenapa perlu reference tambahan untuk menguatkan cerita sedia ada? Kenapa filem itu tidak boleh berdiri dengan sendiri?

Persoalan itu dijawab dengan baik oleh Steven Spielberg dalam satu babak dalam filem, watak Aech (Lena Waithe) memasuki dunia filem yang dia langsung tak tahu sebelum ini tetapi apa yang  dihadapi, walaupun pengalamannya menakutkan, dia menempuhinya dan membantu rakannya mencari klu penting. Anda tak perlu jadi ulat buku, kaki game atau pakar sejarah untuk menghargai READY PLAYER ONE.

Spielberg kembali kepada root asal dalam pengarahan seperti filem-filemnya awalnya seperti Jaws, Indiana Jones dan Back To The Future. Bukan mengarah untuk memenangi Oscar, bukan untuk pecah kutipan Box-office, tetapi mengarah sekadar menjadi penglipulara menghiburkan penonton sambil berseronok dalam proses pembikinannya. Secara bijaknya dalam filem ini Spielberg berjaya membahagi masa secara seimbang dunia virtual dan dunia realiti supaya penonton tidak rasa bosan.

Penulis novel asal Ernest Cline bertugas sebagai Penulis Layar untuk filem.
Satu lagi aspek penting kejayaan filem ini ialah penglibatan penulis novel asalnya, Ernest Cline bersama Zak Penn sebagai Penulis Layar. Jika mahu dibandingkan dengan novel, banyak elemen berat yang susah difahami oleh penonton 30 tahun ke bawah seperti lagu Discovery (1976) oleh kumpulan Rush atau pun reference filem Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). Ia telah diganti dengan reference baru dan lebih dikenali ramai sebagai contoh karakter dari game Overwatch.

Pemilihan pelakon terbahagi kepada 2 kategori: pelakon baru Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao dan Win Morisaki dan pelakon veteran Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg dan Ben Mendelsohn. Kemudian mereka perlu dibahagikan kepada 2 lagi kategori, sebagai watak dunia realiti dan watak dunia maya. Identiti seimbang dalam 2 dunia dibawa dengan baik oleh setiap karakter walaupun menggunakan motion capture sehinggakan watak yang mempunyai screentime sedikit seperti Shoto, Daito dan Aech sangat memorable. Hanya watak F'Nale lakonan Hannah John-Kamen saja yang agak mengecewakan.

Watak Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) dalam dunia virtual OASIS. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Akhir kata, READY PLAYER ONE adalah salah satu karya terbaik Spielberg setelah sekian lama yang bukan sahaja bersandar pada easter egg, reference dan nostalgia semata-mata tetapi mempunyai elemen perjuangan, kesaksaman, cinta, kekeluargaan dan persahabatan diselang-seli dengan visual dan muzik yang memukau.


== / ==

《头号玩家》影评 (by Micho Teh 咪啾)

作为大导演史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格(Steven Spielberg)的粉丝,本来就会期待他的任何新作。更何况数月前《头号玩家》(READY PLAYER ONE)发表的预告片里我们看见男女主角穿梭在众多叫人怀念的电影及游戏名作的角色人海里,立刻让大家对这个充满彩蛋文化的虚拟世界设定眼前一亮。虽然我没看过小说原著,却不受控制地幻想其电影里无限的好玩和可能性:究竟还有什么不一样却叫人熟悉的经典角色会出现?电影原创和异空间的角色们又要如何在这个虚拟环境里共处并交流甚至比赛打斗?就这样抱着各种期待踏入了电影院想要理个清楚,观后果真没失望,整个人好想立刻抓着谁来讨论刚才看到的画面与其后的背景,内涵,情绪。

《头号玩家》讲述着未来世界里面临着温室效应,人口爆发等居多问题都没得到解决,导致现实社会世界都令人失望,而天才游戏创作人詹姆斯·哈利迪(James Halliday)所创造的“绿洲”(OASIS – Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation 全沉浸式虚拟现实感官模拟游戏)允许众人以廉价的方式在虚幻的世界里以自己渴望的身份过上梦寐以求的好生活。男主角韦德·沃兹(Wade Watts)双亲在他年幼时就去世,他只好寄住姑姑和她暴力男友的屋檐下过着不堪的日子,和许多贫民区的住户一样,他每天的娱乐也就仅存于绿洲里所给予的“做美梦的自由”。当然“绿洲”里不全是玩乐的设定,当中也包含着会让任何玩家失去一切的危险游戏关卡,可不少勇士还是会想尽办法踏上战场想要赚些虚拟金币来升级,买装备等。
在“绿洲”创始人哈利迪临终前,他给全世界人宣布视频信息说明他在游戏里隐藏了三道彩蛋关卡,谁人能闯关成功获得隐藏钥匙就可以获取高额遗产和整个“绿洲”的掌控权。这样诱人的奖励不止让所有玩家踊跃挑战,更是造就了设法掌控“绿洲”及社会未来的大反派科技巨头 – IOI组织,当中的组织管理者诺兰更是阴险狡猾,不惜拿出各种卑鄙手段追求获胜。
在哈利迪去世五年后,一直无人破解第一关卡。然而机缘下,有着超强游戏天赋的韦德·沃兹利用自身游戏角色帕西瓦尔(Parzival)挑战第一关卡时靠着对哈利迪的深度了解和日复一日的研究,成功破解了了第一关卡的彩蛋谜题获得了第一把铜钥匙,这样的成就让他瞬间在虚拟世界里爆红成了个大名人荣登第一名排行榜。这样的轰动变化也给帕西瓦尔迎来了两世界里的杀身之祸,所幸他身边有着四位彩蛋猎人同志 – 让帕西瓦尔一见钟情的实力玩家和网络主播阿尔忒密斯(Art3mis),“绿洲”最好的机械师好友艾奇(Aech),“绿洲五强”(High Five)里的日本兄弟武士大东(Daito)和忍者修(Sho)及时出手相助。在彼此的扶持下,他们决定要破解哈利迪剩余的彩蛋关卡,并且阻止IOI组织终极垄断自由互联网权的阴谋。

《头号玩家》导演史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格一直以来就特别喜欢和擅长导演狗熊到英雄的演变故事,这次的电影也是打造在同样的情节概念上 – 电影里我们可以看见男主角韦德·沃兹在现社会里不过无存在感的宅男极客一名,有着悲惨过去,活在贫困的现在,放眼未来也只见不变的普通。但看似再平凡没用的人也会有能动摇世界的力量,极客韦德这个不合群特尴尬之弱点也意外成了他的优势,因为他比任何人更能理解“绿洲”创始人詹姆斯·哈利迪脑海里的思绪,毕竟两人都是在现实里找不到属于自己地位的大孩子。游戏玩家总会说:知己知彼百战百胜,摸清了也是游戏极客哈利迪的脑子后,韦德推断得出哈利迪会设下的彩蛋概念,和想要表达的心声,再透过同伴的帮忙,大家突破重重难关拿下了最后的胜利。

观赏《头号玩家》后心里只有满满的感动 – 许多人的电影游戏回忆以彩蛋方式重现荧幕,极客爱好被认真对待。《头号玩家》提供另一个角度去正面看待本来只属于小众人群的“极客文化”。在急速发展的科技社会里,它慢慢地演变成大众语言。曾经被看低的,现在可能不止被接纳了,甚至被崇拜着。毕竟电影里和现实里都让我们目睹不少羞涩古怪的宅宅极客可能就是改善和打造未来的人才,或许了解他们也能帮助大家更精准判断未来社会和主流文化的走向。
而我作为一个几乎沉迷游戏的极客宅女,在看见哈利迪对韦德说“谢谢你玩我的游戏”时,潸然泪下。在当下,我们理解的彩蛋是一个游戏制作者将自己灵魂,爱和谢意埋藏于作品里的一种形式,所以当玩家们特地研究破解出这些被隐藏起来的彩蛋和享受游戏全程,这就是给予游戏制作者最深刻的回应和致敬。原著作者恩斯特‧克萊恩(Ernest Cline)和导演史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格完美地记录了两方都是那么的需要和崇拜彼此的情景。或许这就是为什么我会特别有感触,毕竟我万万没想到会在虚构情节里,反映出我能理解的真实。

长话短说,对于《头号玩家》这电影,单刷是不够的。 至少对我们这批极客粉丝而言,起码要刷到能看清楚电影里头所有堆叠的彩蛋吧?哈哈,开玩笑的...吧?

== / ==
Here are a few more opinions about READY PLAYER ONE from gamers and geeks from the local ACG community and movie fans during a Special Screening with Outpost Productions thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia:

Now for a chance to win a pair of tickets to our READY PLAYER ONE movie preview screening, just follow these steps:
1. SHARE our post for this blog article on our Facebook Page here.
2. COMMENT in the Facebook post why you want to watch READY PLAYER ONE.
3. TAG a Facebook friend in your comment and include the hashtags #ReadyPlayerOneMY and #OutpostGiveaway.
4. Fill-up the Google Form below with your contact details so we can quickly notify you upon selection of winners.

Contest closes on Monday 26 March 2018 at 3.00pm and subject to the Terms and Conditions below.

Terms and Conditions for Movie Preview Screening contest:
  • Participation only for residents in Malaysia able to attend the Movie Preview Screening on Tuesday 27 March 2018, 8.45pm at GSC Mid Valley Megamall.
  • Only 1 entry per person. Multiple entries after the first entry will be automatically rejected.
  • Qualified entries must fulfill the participation requirements as indicated above.
  • Selection of winners from qualified submissions will be solely at our discretion.
  • Winners will be contacted by Monday 26 March, 11.59pm to RSVP attendance. It is the winners' own responsibility to respond accordingly to redemption instructions given.
  • We reserve the right to revise these terms and conditions at any time without prior notice.

SO many Geek-Gasm moments!

is in our 
Top Ten MUST-WATCH Geek Pop Culture movies 
for this year.
Enter the OASIS from 29 March 2018.


Disclaimer: READY PLAYER ONE and associated trademarks are copyright to Ernest Cline and/or Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., referenced here for fan service announcements only without intent to infringe.

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