So presented with the opening scene. We are introduced to a funky, partly dystopian world as the main protagonist ventures down from his caravan held by scaffolding, let’s say 20 storeys high. The song “Jump” Van Halen plays, reinforcing the 80s vibe the film targets. It’s quirky, and gives off a lighter vibe than what I was expecting. (Although my judgement going in was purely off the poster art alone) I like that it shows off the setting quite quickly and without narration. Familiarizing the audience in the world this is taking place in. The most important point repeatedly displayed is that Virtual Reality headsets are being used by the majority of the people in passing, even in inappropriate places. However, it doesn’t take long before we get narration. It works pretty well though, as there is a lot to fill us in for the fundamentals to the main plot and it’s going to be moving fast.
I’m not here to analyse cinematography and other film quality aspects but will point out anything that effects the film severely. I’d say the filming quality was of a high standard. This isn’t surprising considering the budget and experienced, well regarded people involved. I would say that towards the end I did feel the scenes were transitioning quickly and parts felt a bit forced. Like these quick scenes during intense sequences, where the characters were meeting for first time in real life. This movie naturally has heavy use of CGI. It obviously works and is a realistic description of virtual reality. It’s still plastered in the real world parts too unfortunately.
The development of the ‘Oasis’, the virtual reality world is built majoritively by one individual. This is a common phenomena I’ve noticed, even in life. Man likes to idolize a selection of individuals who are paramount to some discovery or movement. Including when looking back on things in history. Examples of this can be seen everywhere in politics, where say a prime minister is credited with everything, good and bad when actually the parties are voting on these decisions still. In industry, you can look at Steve Jobs. He was really just a business man and investor. I’m sure he worked hard and made a lot of great decisions which supported the development of technology that came out of Apple. But at the end of the day, it is teams of hardworking engineers which make these things happen. And largely, gone are the days were one or two hot shots can come up with groundbreaking programs or technology. In the case of virtual reality, I don’t see it coming about in this way at all. It will slowly form over many years as many teams and key people make great advancements, but not one giant leap to the ‘Oasis’ of VR.
The film is populated with ‘throwbacks’ to 80s game culture. My favorite being a Mecha-Godzilla mech suit used by the villain in the concluding fight. However it is not exclusive to that era. There are many references to recent things like minecraft and starcraft. This must have appealed to older generations who have been dreaming of a true virtual reality experience fantasied about for decades. But also to the recent generations, who are coming closer to see this technology becoming reality.
I would have preferred if this film remained in virtual reality as much as possible. Venturing out of it to the extent as it did wasn’t something I would have done and it effects the movie a lot for me. It’s really unrealistic and outrageous what happens and that was just becoming more so as the movie progressed. As soon as they were involving the story taking place in real life though, they had to commit to it. So I can see why it got to that point. The instance this becomes apparent is when the protagonist mentions his real name to the girl in the game world. And the guy discovers his identity. I like this happening. It highlights the importance of keeping your relationship to your online identity anonymous. Although in this film its not handled how I’d like it to be, it still results in huge consequences which the viewer should notice the cause of.
“He’s my best friend, period. Even though I’ve actually never met him in the real world.” I’ve actually come across a couple of people who have mentioned something similar to me. How the perception of the in-game characters to their real life users is interesting to explore. The birth mark on the girl is a nice touch. It’s a good idea. However even though it is right there, it still just feels like an idea. Because the mark isn’t that much of a disability or flaw. It could even be considered quite stylish! Additionally, the girl is still looking fine even with it. This does fit the light heartedness of the film. I would just have loved to see this taken to a whole new level though. Something powerful could be expressed by having two people fall in love with one another through their interactions within the game world. Though in reality one of them, or even both have something out of their control which would otherwise have made it extremely hard/impossible to end up with who they did. Honestly, I’m not sure how much I even would like this to happened. But realistically I can see this happening in the future and it could be beautiful. Even though somebody can be severely hindered in their appearance or socially. Within the game, they can be perceived as someone completely different…
I’m not a fan of films which spell out everything for the viewer. The funny thing is, I don’t think they were doing this because they had to. They are doing a fine job of showing and implying things quite clearly. However they still go and have the characters say it out loud anyway. Like when the boy has to say he is taking the leap when he kisses the girl!
The film ends on a light note. The villain is arrested and escorted away by police. Although, he is given the opportunity to try and shoot any of the kids he has cornered in the back of a van. It’s great that he is presented with a moment of realisation at the marvellous sight of the egg thing being found. It’s not completely fitting for his character, because up to this point he’s only displayed petty greed and violence. So to make this a little bit more convincing, it would have been good to slip in some humanity into his character at points in the story.
The film ends with the new ‘clan’ controlling the VR world. Funnily they mention that from that point they are going to be closing the VR world on two days a week. Tuesdays and Sundays or something. This is a nice idea and all that but not sure how effective this kind of thing is. It’s a very authoritative act to make. In my opinion with this kind of thing it’s inevitable people will find a way around or out of this. I would argue this needs to be left down to the choice of the individual. However, some people with addictive personalities or less self control do really need something more forceful to help them.
The film is consistent with the story it tells. I like the basic, but innocent morals it constantly spells out to us. The movie is great and I think meets the aims it set out for. It might already be apparent what I’d like to see. I would really like to see the same original concept of a VR absorbed world, but more grim, realistic, harsh, dystopian. Something that really foretells a possible darker future technology can bring about and what it takes to change this. This is an innocent and enjoyable film which I hope gives traction to the concept re-use in the future.