Quick Reviews: “Ready Player One” vs. “Rampage”

By | April 29, 2018

I watched these movies a while ago now, but thought about them so little that I forgot to review them. Not a great sign, but one is clearly better if you’re looking for dumb-assed blockbuster entertainment and can’t get tickets for “Infinity War,” “A Quiet Place,” “Deadpool 2,” “Pacific Rim 2,” damn there’s been a glut of sci-fi recently hasn’t there?…

Ready Player One…Ernest Cline’s novel is both a celebration of the 80’s geek culture he came of age in, and also a (mild) rebuke of the “all sci-fi/fantasy, all the time” mentality that has made us so desperate to live in that mindset, we can’t see the real world is collapsing around us. That’s a fantastic theme for movies to pick up in an age when almost every major studio release is horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, but the film version of “Ready Player One” is even less interested in fully exploring that paradox than Cline’s novel was (truly, it only paid lip-service to the idea Comic-Con culture has reached saturation-level dangerous after indulging in its “coolness” completely). Still, it’s well-made, and is at least exciting while you’re watching it–especially an early car chase that wows completely. Grade: B which is more than I can say for…

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Rampage…As I’ve pointed out twice now, there’s no shortage of sci-fi blockbusters you can gorge yourself on, and this is probably one of the worst you could pick. Only a handful of scenes (like one where The Rock reveals why he enjoys animals more than humans) have any soul or depth to them at all, and the movie is over-populated with “Watchmen” actors (Malin Akerman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan who practically oozes off the screen) hamming it up with paper-thin characters. There’s a somewhat exciting sequence where a team of private contractors tries to hunt a huge wolf in the Western wilderness, but the final battle between giant monsters ripping through Chicago left me feeling more numb than astounded. Grade: C-

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