I just finished watching Blade Runner 2049 and honestly did not enjoy watching it (or at least not as much as I thought I would). I know it’s been out for a minute but I was adamant that nobody (from my inner circles) should go watch it in theaters, since it’d most likely be chopped up beyond recognition (in the name of “censorship”, but really, it’s just so they could fit in even more showings and therefore get even more money from movie-goers) because… Kuwait. Instead, I insisted that we all watch it together at my home, in the Cinema Room (which might not be state of the art, but a lot of time, effort and money was spent to make it as comfy as possible). The reason I insisted we watch it uncensored (in the Cinema Room) was because I’ve heard a great deal about how visually striking Blade Runner 2049 was supposed to be, and in that aspect, it did not disappoint. Blade Runner 2049 was absolutely beautiful! I got seriously strong Anime vibes (namely Akira) while watching Blade Runner 2049, not unlike a recently released Netflix Series called Altered Carbon (which I binge-watched as soon as it came out). They all had that “CyberPunk City” (low life, high tech) aesthetic going for them, which I tend to enjoy.
With that being said, Blade Runner 2049 was also quite slow. Too slow for my taste. Everything was very drawn out (the long pauses were extra long and the meaningful glances took a beat too long as well). Heck, even the movie itself was almost 3 hours long! Stretching everything out in order for people to drink in every detail was unnecessary. People would either get it or they wouldn’t. Finally, the biggest disappointment was the plot, which I thought was quite simple (offensively simple). It seemed like they threw all their money on the visuals and completely disregarded the story (all style, no substance). Honestly, it felt like they just wanted the movie to appeal to a wider audience (be more mainstream) so they played it safe, story-wise. The fact that Blade Runner 2049 had a star-studded cast further cemented that notion (at least, to me). All in all, Blade runner 2049 was very pretty, but way too long, and quite frankly, boring (definitely not worth the wait). In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never actually watched the original Blade Runner (it came out before I was even born).
The story takes place on a future Earth. There’s an ongoing energy crises. Catastrophic climate change. Widespread famine, poverty and disease. Half a dozen wars. Basically, the “real world” sucks! Ironically, the only time our teenage protagonist, Wade Watts, feels alive is when he enters the “game world” also known as Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation (rolls of the tongue don’t it?) or OASIS (a virtual reality simulator accessible by players using visors and haptic technology such as gloves) which was created by James Halliday. Almost everyone spends a significant amount of their lives logged on to The Oasis (which is free) to escape the harsh reality of their everyday lives. I mean it’s pretty much an MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) except credits in the “game world” are the most stable form of currency in the “real world”. Kids can log on (from their homes) and actually go to school in the “game world” because the public school system has been coded online. People can socialize and hang out with other people in the “game world”. People can also go out on quests together, earning credit and experience points (XP). Anyone can do whatever they wanted (provided they had enough credits to do so and were sufficiently leveled up). James Halliday (eccentric 80’s fanboy) as the creator of The Oasis, obviously amassed a vast fortune. Prior to his death, Halliday inserted an easter egg in The Oasis promising his entire fortune to whomever found it, ensuring a world-wide egg-hunt or The Hunt as the contest came to be known. Just like winning the lottery, finding Halliday’s Easter egg became a popular fantasy among adults and children alike. The Hunt quickly wove its way into global culture, even creating its own subculture (egg hunters or gunters for short) comprised of people who devoted every free moment of their lives searching for the Easter egg. Halliday did leave a few clues behind that seemed to indicated that a familiarity with his various obsessions would be essential to finding the egg which in turn, led to a global fascination with 1980’s pop culture.
Ready Player One is every geek’s wet dream! The entire book is basically nostalgia porn with reference after reference to the 80’s (music, movies, videogames, tv shows, fashion, literally everything)! There are several references to the 70’s and 90’s as well (pop culture in general really) but mostly the 80’s. Even the way the story plays out is like an 80’s movie (at least in my mind). I won’t go into it too much but if you grew up in the 80’s, (or listened to 80’s music or watched a handful of 80’s movies) you’ll know what I mean. There’s a morale (or message) to the story and everything, but most importantly, just like all things 80’s, it’s got heart! I even found myself tearing up a few times (for real). Don’t get me wrong, the story itself isn’t that mind-blowing as the premise is pretty much the same as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Also, I kinda’ got annoyed at times because I just wanted to know what happened next in the story, but I had to sift through pages and pages of descriptions, which took me out of the story. I’d appreciate all that attention to detail if it was a movie but as a novel I feel like the author kinda’ overdid it. For me, what drew me in and made it enjoyable was that Ready Player One was saturated with references! As a geek myself (or nerd, whichever you prefer), so much of it just spoke to me and I could totally relate! However, geek or not, gamer or not, 80’s fan or not, pop culture fan or not, you will find Ready Player One enjoyable regardless!
Another chilling novel from Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, The Running Man takes place in a dystopian future (the year 2025) in the United States where people are hooked on reality tv shows! The government controls everything including entertainment. As such, the government-sanctioned “Games Network” showcasing ultra-violent game shows (where contestants end up being maimed if not dead, all for a chance at the prize money) broadcasted on Free-Vee (Television) which are pretty much located everywhere – from the streets to the Development apartments – and going off the name, we can surmise that Free-Vee is free (they want you to watch). The differences between the rich and poor are vastly disproportionate; the rich being ridiculously rich whereas the poor are desperately poor. Life is very bleak for the poor. Even air is poisonous on ground level and isn’t breathable but the rich live in a high Tower and are therefore unaffected. The sadistic game shows are the only chance the poor have at changing their lives for the better.
I’m going to be reviewing the Stephen King novel titled The Long Walk. I know I said I was going to review The Razorland Trilogy first (in the post Book Club) but I literally just finished reading The Long Walk so it’s still fresh in my mind. Plus, I felt a Stephen King novel (written as Richard Bachman) was deliciously apropos what with Halloween coming up and all. I did not purchase a physical copy of the book, which is 384 pages long and relatively short for a Stephen King novel, however I will be including several different illustrations of the cover art. I purchased The Long Walk on my Kindle Paperwhite and according to my Kindle (I forgot to mention earlier that it does that. Pretty cool, huh?) it takes about 5 hours and some change to read the whole thing. I started reading The Long Walk exactly 3 days ago (a little everyday obviously) but I passed out with 30 minutes still left in the e-book. I just finished the last 30 minutes today and decided to get to it while everything is still fresh on my mind. The cover art for the Kindle version I had purchased is shown above.