Movie Review: “Ready Player One” [Spoiler-Free]


I’ve been intending to write this review since we saw the movie a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been having a hard time thinking about how to go about it. This is the kind of movie that it’s going to be difficult to review without spoilers, you see, but I’ll try my very best because I want to share a few thoughts.

Ready Player One” takes place in a future that is rapidly declining into serious dystopian territory. The world has become a depressing place for a number of reasons, but most people get through their day by being obsessed with the OASIS which, for all intents and purposes, is much like a virtual reality version of the internet. It is a massive online world where the entire planet can be connected at once, play games, learn, explore, go on adventures, and basically do anything and everything in the form of an avatar they create to look however they want. Our story begins when the creator of this OASIS world, James Halliday, passes on and leaves behind a challenge: find the Easter Egg that he’s hidden in the OASIS, which requires passing three hidden challenges, and you’ll inherit the OASIS itself, as well as his fortune. The film follows teenage boy Wade Watts, as well as some friends he meets along the way, as he fights to be the first to complete Halliday’s challenge.

The first thing I will say is that I did read the book by Ernest Cline before seeing the film, and while that may have prepared me for some of the film’s more iconic scenes, I do not believe that it detracted from my enjoyment, nor would reading the book have been a necessity in order to properly enjoy the film. In fact, I saw the movie with my husband and daughter, neither of whom had read the book, and they both enjoyed it just as much as I did.

Secondly, having read the book, I will bring up the fact that a lot of liberties were taken in the making of the film, specifically with the manner of the three challenges, which were changed dramatically. Now, many avid book readers scoff at this kind of thing, often considering the book to be “perfection” and thus changing it constitutes a terrible sin, but I’m going to break tradition here and say that these changes were actually for the better. Without going into too much detail, the fact of the matter is that while Halliday’s challenges sound wonderful and mysterious within the context of the book, on screen they would, frankly, be pretty boring. By drastically changing the first challenge in the film, for instance, we were able to be introduced to all the important characters, including the antagonists, as well as the intricately beautiful world of the OASIS in one fell swoop, whereas the book’s version of the challenge has only two characters discovering it secretly and completing it without anyone else in the OASIS knowing what is happening. I loved the book challenge, don’t get me wrong, but for a visual medium, the changes that were made for the film make much more sense and are able to get the important information to us much quicker while also giving our eyes a feast of nostalgia.

And therein lies my third point: the nostalgia is strong in this film. The secondary plot point of the story, as the book-readers will know, is that James Halliday was obsessed with the 80’s, and pop culture in general, and as a result the entire world becomes obsessed with those obsessions as they struggle to unlock the keys to his Easter Egg hunt. That means that the movie is filled with so much nostalgia that it is impossible to see it all upon first viewing. From players’ avatars to background scenes, games that are being played, items that are being won, and everything in between, there are nods to pop culture from the 80’s and 90’s absolutely everywhere, with a large portion from the 2000’s as well, just to keep things modern. My family and I had a blast pointing out characters from some of our favorite shows and games, chuckling at special items the characters used that came from movies or shows from our childhoods, and gaping at CG versions of pop culture icons that we never would have expected to show up in this film. There were nods to anything and everything, with something for everyone to recognize, and if you, in particular, grew up in the 80’s and/or 90’s, you’re going to be grinning like a lunatic while trying to catch everything.

In keeping with the fact that there is both retro nostalgia and current-day pop culture within the film, I thought I’d also mention that, yes, this is a movie for the whole family. There is a bit of mild swearing, slight romantic suggestiveness, and violence of the virtual kind, none of which would phase the majority of younger children. The final decision lies with the parents, of course, but I will tell you quite honestly that there was nothing in the length of the film that I was concerned about my 7-year-old seeing or hearing.

Back to the quality of the film, I felt, overwhelmingly, that the acting was well-done on all fronts. Tye Sheriden was virtually exactly what I’d pictured for Wade Watts while reading the book, and though a few of the characters were a wee bit stereotypical in nature, the “High Five” group all did a great job of bringing their respective characters to the big screen in a way that made you fall in love with them. Ben Mendelsohn as the lead antagonist and bigwig in the evil IOI company, Sorrento, was great in that he was a wonderfully weaselly S.O.B. whom you just wanted to see smashed down. I-R0k – a character who lost some of his backstory in the film but was still fairly front-and-center as an antagonist – was played very humorously by T.J. Miller in a way that made you really imagine him as a pathetically over-confident little creep of a kid playing the game in his parents’ basement. Simon Pegg, though his role was not a particularly large one, was a great addition as Halliday’s previous business partner and friend, Ogden Morrow. The one cast member who took me a bit off guard was Mark Rylance as the all-important Halliday, simply because his performance was very unlike how I’d pictured Halliday while reading the book. That said, I have to concede that his take on the character was much more interesting than the one in my imagination, performed as a wonderfully awkward nerd who was sweet enough, yet seemed to struggle horribly every time he had to speak to a real flesh-and-blood person. It brought a depth to the character that ultimately ended up being quite important to the Egg hunt itself.

Finally, though I mentioned it somewhat while speaking about the nostalgic qualities of the movie, I have to mention again that the visuals throughout were absolutely stunning, and I’m not speaking about just within the OASIS. In the “real world” scenes we were shown important locations from the book, such as the “Stacks” – literal stacks of trailer homes built dozens of layers high in order to cram as many occupants into as little space as possible – the junkyard where Wade has his hideaway, and the IOI “loyalty center” where Sorrento and his team keep base, and all of them were actualized beautifully. In particular, the Stacks looked like they were pulled right out of Ernest Cline’s brain, and the scene did an amazing job of pulling you into the rough reality of the world Watts – and most of the planet – were so keen to escape. Of course, in addition to the “real world”, the OASIS is absolutely stunning in every sense of the word, showcasing a huge variety of different worlds crawling with every form of pop culture you can imagine, all in a “it looks kinda real, but also very video game-ish” style that perfectly suits the reality they’re trying to capture. It was all very lovingly done in order to make the OASIS and the world outside it seem equal parts real in their own rights, and it’s all so genuinely beautiful that I didn’t want to blink for fear of missing something amazing.

What it all boils down to in the end is that I have next to no complaints about the film, and honestly none worth really bothering to dive into. It was an exceptionally fun movie for my entire family, with tons of both in-your-face and more in-jokish content from the past four decades of pop culture to keep all three of us giggling like fools. The changes made from the book made absolute sense and only served to create a better visual experience for the movie-goer, and the entire experience was stunning to the eye, including an absolutely epic end battle scene that you’ll have to play frame-by-frame once it comes out for DVD and Bluray just to catch half of what’s happening. A genuinely epic tale, true to the original story while understanding what does and doesn’t work for film form, and absolutely a must-watch, in my opinion. Go see Ready Player One if you haven’t already!

Have you seen Ready Player One? Let me know what you thought of it in the comment section below!

SHORYUKEN! Street Fighter Haul – Cammy & Chun-Li Action Figures, Funko Pop & T.N.C.-02 Light-Up Ken!

SHORYUKEN! Okay, okay, so I can’t say it properly…but in trying to I got to playfully punch Jason in the face over and over again, so I’m calling that a full-on success. XD

Today on the channel we have another haul of Street Fighter toys, including the ridiculously awesome Ken Masters statue I got from Big Boys Toys….it TALKS AND LIGHTS UP!! Check out the vid, and if you’re interested in any of the stuff we showed, you can check them out in the links in the description box below the video!

Plans and Goals 2018: Week 15 Review


I am not going to tell you guys how horrible week 15 was. *cough cough*

Okay, okay, it seriously wasn’t that bad. Mostly it’s just been such a gloomy few days as far as weather and our hockey team getting their ass handed to them that I feel like I need to be in an awful mood. But seriously though, it really wasn’t that bad.

It was another one of those quick weeks, which I’m growing to hate. I seem to be spending too much time asleep lately for some reason, which doesn’t help at all either. It feels like it takes me halfway through the day to even get started, and by then it’s starting to feel like the day is practically over, which screws with my mind. Has anyone else ever felt like that? Like the day is over before you can even get it properly started?

Anyway, I suppose that’s enough of that nonsense. Let’s just go ahead and see what week 15 entailed.

Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
Is it possible to do both better and worse in the same swoop?

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. As the sentence above implies, I feel like I’ve somehow done both better and worse on this goal in the past week. Technically I did do better, with a total of 3825 words distributed across blogging, fiction, and non-fiction, which brings my year-to-date total up to 69,268. However, since I’m already so far behind and the days are only moving forward, my daily average actually went further down, landing at (dun duh DUHHHHN!) 666 words per day. That is definitely discouraging. Since I originally calculated that I would have to write 1370 words per day to hit this goal by the end of the year, I’m not only ridiculously far behind, but I’m also growing farther behind for every day that I fail to reach that goal. I’m trying not to take this to heart, since it’s not exactly an end-of-the-world situation, but since my original goal was actually going to be to write a FULL million words throughout 2018, I’m really starting to realize how badly I overestimate myself sometimes.
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. April is both being a successful, and yet an extremely frustrating month for book sales. On the positive side of things, I’ve been promoting my birthday sale, and as a result I’ve sold 7 e-books and 3 paper backs in the past week, which brings me up to 19 e-books, 3 paperbacks, and 107 pages read on Kindle Unlimited in April so far. As small as those numbers are, they’re some of the best I’ve had ever (excluding the month I did a free e-book giveaway weekend), so that’s definitely cause for celebration. On the other hand, aside from 2 of the e-book sales, all of those book pick-ups can be attributed to two particular days: the day I launched the sale and shared it all over my social media, and the day I launched my birthday haul video on the channel, in which I mention the sale and encourage people to go check it out. In other words, even though the books have been massively discounted every day for a couple of weeks now, people only come across the sale on days that I make a rather large effort to shout about it at them. On the one hand I understand that effort has to be put into self-promotion if you want people to buy your self-published book. But on the other hand I can’t help but feel, like, do I seriously have to put aside time daily to shout at people about my book in hopes that they’ll buy it? Because, a) I do not have that kind of time in my day, and b) I don’t know if I can mentally handle the idea of acting like a town crier for myself on a daily basis.
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. I was determined to do something toward this goal in week 15, and in a way I did, although it’s not any kind of traditional progress. I’ve been having difficulty focusing on The Other World lately, whether because I’ve been away from it for so long, or because the world itself has lost a bit of it’s luster for me, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that I had an idea for a little side project – something that won’t ever be published, but may help my wind my brain back around the story. Basically, I’m “rewriting” the story up to this point from Jacob’s point of view. I think it might help me get a better grip on the character, while looking at the whole story through different eyes, and since I don’t intend to let anyone ever read it I don’t have to worry my little head about it being any good. Hopefully this little idea should help me not only in getting my head back in the game-plan, but also with bolstering my word count as well.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
I’ll go ahead and say right now that my focus was not on YouTube in week 15. Where that focus was, I couldn’t begin to tell you; I just know that it wasn’t on YouTube.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. It was another one of those “meh” weeks for videos. We managed to do 3, one of them my birthday video, which isn’t exactly bad, but could have and should have been better. We got sidetracked by another snow day for the little one (yes, I said a snow day….in April. Please kill me), and distracted by the NHL playoffs (which likely aren’t going to last much longer for us Leafs fans…my lord boys, what is happening to you?), but the fact of the matter is that we just…didn’t. We could have, but we didn’t.
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect. I had a small lapse in the second half of the week, but for the most part this one remains unscathed. There’s been Tweeting, Instagraming, Facebooking, and even Snapchatting abound; I simply fell asleep one day and failed to do any of it. 😛 In general though, all is still quite well here. No issues to speak of.

#3: Focus more on myself.
Spurred on, perhaps, by my birthday, I did manage to snatch some time for myself in week 15.

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. Video games! Real video games! Okay, I still played a bit of Sailor Drops, and the little one weaseled me into a couple of the “Papa’s Pizzeria” line of mobile games, but I also played some real games, specifically Breath of the Wild on the Switch, and Friday the 13th The Game on the PS4. I didn’t really get anywhere, because both of these are the kids of games that require hours and hours of play in order to actually accomplish anything, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope to squeeze more of both games into week 16 if I can.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. I had a hard time with the “don’t obsess” part of this goal in week 15, specifically because I’ve been a bit tired and lazy, but also because I managed to turn around and gain back some of the weight I had lost, which is like a huge kick in the teeth. I know not to focus too much on the number, because it can be affected by so many things, but I’ve just been in that kind of mood, you know? Sometimes you just get into that mood and start praying for the miracle drug that makes you lose weight while you sleep. I’m in that mood right now.

So that’s that for another week. I don’t feel particularly accomplished, but it wasn’t a bad week, and I did come up with an idea or two to help me progress into the coming weeks (hopefully), so I’ll call that a win for now.

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!

My Birthday Haul! Artwork, SH Figuarts Chibi Moon, SideShow Buffy, & an EBook Sale for YOU GUYS!!

It’s my birthday! And I don’t act look a day over 20, right? XD

I’m sharing my awesome little birthday haul from Jason and Adrianna today, which included some cute artwork, an awesome SH Figuarts Sailor Chibi Moon, and a gorgeous Buffy Summers figure from Sideshow Collectibles. So happy with everything! 

OH HO HO HO… AWESOME Dragon Ball Z/Super Frieza Figures for the Collection – DXF/WFC/MSP

What does pure evil in anime form look like? We’ll show you, with a haul of Frieza figures from Dragon Ball Z/Super! No seriously though, this guy is monstrous, and he also happens to be Jason’s all-time favorite. Take that as you will! XD

We’ve got a number of collectibles from Banpresto and Tamashii Nations, and they’re all awesome representations of this totally unrelenting character from one of our favorite anime of all time. Check it out!