Popcorn Perspectives – Week of April 2, 2018

Popcorn Perspectives by Danny Minton

Week of April 2, 2018

Ready Player One
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudity and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
In Theaters
Based on the best-selling novel by Ernest Cline (and one of my favorite books in recent memory) Ready Player One explores a futuristic world where life in the real world is quite terrible, but people can escape into a virtual reality program called the OASIS, where they can be anyone and do anything. Before its creator died, he left a series of puzzles and easter eggs with the prize of the entire company to the lucky first solver. After five years of no one finding the first clue, a poor young gamer figures it out, sparking the race to see who will soon rule the virtual world.

The world of the OASIS in the book focused solely on 80s pop culture, but here director Steven Spielberg, along with the novelist Ernest Cline, recreate the world to serve modern nerd culture instead. And while the structure of the story stayed mostly the same, the adventures and puzzles are all brand new. This has made some purists angry, but personally, I loved the changes. These differences create a more vibrant and exciting story, well within the spirit of the original text. Also, there are some moments in the book, that while great on the page, had no way of translating to the big screen. Spielberg and team were able to get past these potential pratfalls and the storytelling on display is magnificent.

While 140 minutes long, the movie zips along at a fast pace, literally keeping you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out where they are going next. The journey is invigorating and incredibly fun, while all the while giving you a sense that the heroes are still in a world of danger.

Personally I found this film to be even better than I had hoped – and I was expecting a lot. Once again Spielberg proves his worth as one of my heroes. His vision and ability to pull off a project such as this is truly impressive. This film is pure joy and the epitome of what we hope for when we go to the movies. A

Insidious: The Last Key
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content, violence and terror, and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 32%
Available on Disc and Streaming
In this fourth Insidious flick, Lin Shaye and her sidekicks return to her childhood home in New Mexico in order to take on a demon which won’t leave her old house alone. The story is again ridiculous but there are a few decent chill-inducing scares here and there. The low box office proves that there aren’t that many fans willing to stick around, but the film still ran a profit, if only a minor one. As long as horror franchise flicks like Insidious are cheap to make and can be assembled in a PG-13 fashion, they’ll keep making them. I just wish they could put some thought and talent into the story so that it wasn’t just a formulaic mess such as this. C-