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Ready Player One

Today I was doing quite a lot in the kitchen – baking bread, green tomato chutney and goose stock as well as putting dinner together. I needed to be in the kitchen area to keep an eye on things but I wasn’t always actively working so I decided to watch Ready Player One (2018) on Netflix. It was a film I’d vaguely heard of but didn’t know much about but it was worth a punt.

I understand it is based on a book but, as I’ve not read it, I was watching the film for itself. It posits a future where most people spend most of their time hooked up to a virtual reality gaming host system called OASIS. Although an odd mixture of dystopian and optimistic tropes, I did enjoy it.

What struck me though was how much of the movie was in ‘game worlds’ and rendered in the style of contemporary computer games. It is the kind of film that probably could be made entirely on computers and I’m sure there was a lot of CGI enhancement of ‘real world’ scenes. In fact, I think they emphasised details like odd skin textures in ‘game world’ sections in order to make the uncanny valley less obvious in bits where they didn’t want the CGI noticed. It isn’t that entirely computer rendered films are new but I think we’re getting to the point of the technology where real and virtual are hard to distinguish, at least within the confines of ‘filmed reality’, which raises all sorts of wonderful possibilities and not a few potential dystopian scenarios of its own!

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