So here's my movie review. I give it 4.5 stars. I read the book first about two years ago and the film does a good job of making an epic story just epic enough, like cartoon pirates on a worldwide heist. Epic is scope but not in the detailed telling. It hits all the high notes and doesn't get bogged down. In the end, the film is much more believable than the book. The book is an encyclopedic tribute to the 80s with an overload of trivia that no teenager could possibly absorb, much less make world-class sense of. There is nothing about RPO's world that suggests Idiocracy in play, so when it comes down to it, a global corporation of researchers will win against a teenaged kid, who might hack their way out of a few situations, but not as many times as the protagonist. In that regard the compressed element of time in the film makes for a much more entertainingly believable romp, which is just right.
The film got the romantic dynamic just right. It was slightly more well done in the book because the book made a much stronger case for, in the end, living in reality. Speilberg's visual awe moment with the protagonist winning the final prize didn't quite work well. That's because the creator of the great game, Halliday was cooked too long in the geek stereotype sous-vide and came out like a skinless soggy chicken. It's as if Spielberg forgot his own young energetic genius and just painted Halliday with too much store bought geek sauce. The psychology was all wrong for pretty much every adult in the entire film, which had to be purposeful but went a little too overboard. I'm going to have to watch Ferris Bueller again just to see. But I was talking about teenage romance, and yes that seemed quite nailed. Maybe just a bit too facile, but there are only so many awkwardly tender moments that can be done in an action adventure film.
There hasn't been this much dynamic CGI in massive scenes since the Lego Movie. And I have to say that there has never been a King Kong as brilliantly rendered as the one in this movie. It is simply magnificent to see this creature ripping through New York City. It's rather jolting like with "I Am Legend" the first time you see really fast zombies, and suddenly you're like, why aren't all zombies this fast and scary? That's how awesome RPO's Kong is.
The number of videogame references in the film, well we're just going to have to buy it and play it back in slow motion. I get the feeling that the film itself will have an uncanny number of easter eggs itself aside from the obvious ones in this video, very few of which I didn't see. Spielberg must certainly get that. But I'm also thinking that the Iron Giant was sandbagging a bit in his battle, a full ballistic Iron Giant would have wiped MechaGodzilla off the map. Still, I think all respect had to be paid to Gundam all things considered.
I expected a lot more 80s music, but I get the feeling that licensing issues would have broken the bank. But I gotta tell you there is one scene where the music is so perfect for what's going on that you just have to laugh out loud. Speaking of which, the movie does a great job turning one character completely on his head and making him pretty much all of the comic relief in the story. That's the character of I-Rok. Best lines of the movie, perfect comic timing and delivery.
So anyway. Go see it. I'm sure the extras and deleted scenes and all that will be worth it. I'm putting some of those numbers into my code.