“Only 70’s/80’s/90’s Kids would understand.”
What a ridiculous phrase, when you really think about it. Structured around nothing but the allowance for the “in the know” to feel superior to the “out of touch”. A sentence, that at its core that smacks of generationalism, egotism, and school yard cliques. This sentiment is pervasive in media and culture. Our obsession with generations and archetypes is rooted in the sensible need to understand our surroundings as quickly as possible. Swiping love off the side of their screens and their lives boiled down to bullet points by algorithms. The world of movie goers cries out for substance, love, and a call beyond the pale of this dreary world.
Amidst the backdrop of a bleak future of oil-crises, rampant poverty, and corporate greed, director Steven Spielberg is able to bring life and excitement into the world set before us in Ernest Cline’s titular novel. Via our movie screens, we are given access to an exciting reality beyond the lives in which our characters struggle. The Oasis, where much of the film takes place, is a virtual reality that is in the midst of a love affair with all things “Retro”.
While Cline’s pen & paper adventure focuses mainly on 80s culture, Spielberg’s big screen version includes a myriad of references and “easter eggs” from the trio of decades preceding the new millennium. With a cast consisting of “scrappy upstart protagonist”, “intense but lovable best friend”, “mean but not terribly bright antagonist”, and even “Asian kid who says funny things”, this cinema experience is rife with classic movie tropes that you can find in any John Hughes movie. This may sound like a critique on the originality of Ernest Cline’s writing. Truthfully, these easily recognizable and relatable characters are love notes to the experience of all movie-goers.
Conclusion and Movie Rating
This movie is a love song to the “good old days”. One that manages not to sound like an old man recounting his glory days in a retirement home. A combination of breathtaking visuals, fast-paced action, earnest performances, and source material that is an intoxicating mixture of nostalgia and new. Spielberg has brought forth a new classic that will surely stand the test of time.
Rating: (4.7 / 5)
To get the latest insights from Robert, check out his appearance on Episode 18: Drinking on the Edge of a Bridge to Nowhere