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更新时间:2018-4-3 21:51:42 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Review: Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ Plays the Nostalgia Game

It isn’t going too far out on a limb to predict that “Ready Player One” will turn out to be one of Steven Spielberg’s more controversial projects. Even before its release, this adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 best seller — what one writer called a “nerdgasm” of a novel — was subjected to an unusual degree of internet pre-hate. That was only to be expected. Mr. Spielberg has tackled contentious topics before — terrorism, slavery, the Pentagon Papers, sharks — but nothing as likely to stir up a hornet’s nest of defensiveness, disdain and indignant “actually”-ing as the subject of this movie, which is video games.

如果预测《头号玩家》(Ready Player One)会是史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格(Steven Spielberg)比较有争议的作品之一,不会有很多人反对。这部电影改编自欧内斯特·克莱恩(Ernest Cline)2011年出版的畅销小说(一位作家称之为“死宅高潮”),早在发行前就在网上遭到极大厌恶。这完全正常。斯皮尔伯格以前处理过有争议的话题——恐怖主义、奴隶制、五角大楼文件、鲨鱼——但没有哪个像这部电影的主题——电子游戏——一样,可能会惹来防范心态、蔑视和愤愤不平的“事实上根本不是这样”的麻烦。

And not only video games. “Ready Player One,” written by Mr. Cline and Zak Penn, dives into the magma of fan zeal, male self-pity and techno-mythology in which those once-innocent pastimes are now embedded. Mr. Spielberg, a digital enthusiast and an old-school cineaste, goes further than most filmmakers in exploring the aesthetic possibilities of a form that is frequently dismissed and misunderstood.

不仅仅是电子游戏。克莱恩和扎克·佩恩(Zak Penn)联合编剧的《头号玩家》探究了粉丝的热情、男性的自怜,以及曾是无足轻重的消遣、现在却已根深蒂固的科技神话。斯皮尔伯格是数字爱好者,也是老派电影人。对于一种经常遭到无视与误解的形式,他却探讨它的审美可能性,在这方面,他比大部分电影人都走得更远。

Aided by his usual cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, and by the production designer Adam Stockhausen, he turns a vast virtual landscape of battling avatars into a bustling pop-cultural theme park, an interactive museum of late-20th- and early-21st-century entertainment, a maze of niche tastes, cultish preoccupations and blockbuster callbacks. Mr. Spielberg navigates this warehouse with his usual dexterity, loading every frame with information without losing the clarity and momentum of the story.

在御用摄影师雅努什·卡明斯基(Janusz Kaminski)和美术总监亚当·斯托克豪森(Adam Stockhausen)的协助下,他把宏大的虚拟化身打斗场景变成了一个熙熙攘攘的流行文化主题公园;一座展示20世纪末与21世纪初的娱乐的互动博物馆;乃至一个由小众化品味、粉丝的狂热迷恋和对大片的回忆组成的迷宫。斯皮尔伯格用他惯用的娴熟技巧驾驭着这座仓库,赋予每一帧画面以信息,又不破坏故事清晰的条理和势头。

Nonetheless, the toy guns of social media and pop-up kulturkritik are locked and loaded. Mr. Spielberg will be accused of taking games and their players too seriously and not seriously enough, of pandering and mocking, of just not getting it and not being able to see beyond it — “it” being the voracious protoplasm that has, over the past three or four decades, swallowed up most of our cultural discourse. Whatever you call it — the revenge of the nerds, the franchising of the universe, the collapse of civilization — it’s a force that is at once emancipatory and authoritarian, innocent and pathological, delightful and corrosive.


Mr. Spielberg and some of his friends helped to create this monster, which grants him a measure of credibility and also opens him up to a degree of suspicion. He is the only person who could have made this movie and the last person who should have been allowed near the material.


That material has issues of its own. Mr. Cline’s book — readable and amusing without being exactly good — is a hodgepodge of cleverness and cliché. Less than a decade after publication, it already feels a bit dated, partly because its dystopian vision seems unduly optimistic and partly because its vision of male geek rebellion has turned stale and sour.


In the film, set in 2045, Wade Watts (a young man played by the agreeably bland, blandly agreeable Tye Sheridan) lives in “the stacks,” a vertical pile of trailers where the poorer residents of Columbus, Ohio (Oklahoma City in the book), cling to hope, dignity and their VR gloves. Humanity has been ravaged by the usual political and ecological disasters (among them “bandwidth riots” referred to in Wade’s introductory voice-over), and most people seek refuge in a digital paradise called the Oasis.

电影背景设定在2045年。韦德·瓦茨(Wade Watts,一个年轻男子,由乏味得令人感到亲切,又亲切得令人感到乏味的泰伊·谢里丹[Tye Sheridan]扮演)住在“叠楼”,即垂直的一堆拖车里。在那里,俄亥俄州哥伦布市(原著中是俄克拉荷马市)较为贫穷的居民紧紧抓住希望、尊严和VR手套不放。人性被常见的政治和生态灾难(包括韦德在开篇的旁白中提到的“带宽暴动”)摧残,大部分人都在一个叫“绿洲”(Oasis)的数字天堂里寻求慰藉。

That world — less a game than a Jorge Luis Borges cosmos populated by wizards, robots and racecar drivers — is the creation of James Halliday (Mark Rylance). After Halliday’s death, his avatar revealed the existence of a series of Easter eggs, or secret digital treasures, the discovery of which would win a lucky player control of the Oasis. Wade is a “gunter” — short for “egg hunter” — determined to pursue this quest even after most of the other gamers have tired of it. Among his rivals are a few fellow believers and Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), the head of a company called IOI that wants to bring Halliday’s paradise under corporate control.

那个世界与其说是一款游戏,不如说是一个生活着巫师、机器人和赛车手的豪尔赫·路易斯·博尔赫斯(Jorge Luis Borges)式宇宙,它是由詹姆斯·哈利迪(James Halliday,马克·里朗斯[Mark Rylance]饰)创造的。哈利迪去世后,他的化身透露,游戏中存在一系列“复活节彩蛋”,或者说秘密数字宝藏,发现它们的幸运玩家将赢得对绿洲的控制权。韦德是寻找彩蛋的人,简称“寻蛋人”之一。即使其他大部分玩家都已经厌倦了,他依然决心继续寻找。他的竞争对手包括几个同样坚信不疑的人,此外还有诺兰·索伦托(Nolan Sorrento,本·门德尔森[Ben Mendelsohn]饰),他是一家名为IOI的公司的负责人,该公司希望将哈利迪创造的天堂置于自己控制之下。

In the real world, IOI encourages Oasis fans to run up debts that it collects by forcing them into indentured servitude. Sorrento’s villainy sets up a battle on two fronts — clashes in the Oasis mirroring chases through the streets of Columbus — that inspires Mr. Spielberg to feats of crosscutting virtuosity. The action is so swift and engaging that some possibly literal-minded questions may be brushed aside. I, for one, didn’t quite understand why, given the global reach of the Oasis, all the relevant players were so conveniently clustered in Ohio. (If anyone wants to explain, please find me on Twitter so I can mute you.)


But, of course, Columbus and the Oasis do not represent actual or virtual realities, but rather two different modalities of fantasy. Wade’s avatar, Parzival, collects a posse of fighters: Sho, Daito, Aech and Art3mis, who is also his love interest. When the people attached to these identities meet up in Columbus, they are not exactly as they are in the game. Aech, large and male in the Oasis, is played by Lena Waithe. But the fluidity of online identity remains an underexploited possibility. In and out of the Oasis, Art3mis (also known as Samantha, and portrayed by Olivia Cooke) is a male fantasy of female badassery. Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki) are relegated to sidekick duty. The multiplayer, self-inventing ethos of gaming might have offered a chance for a less conventional division of heroic labor, but the writers and filmmakers lacked the imagination to take advantage of it.

但是,当然,哥伦布和绿洲并不代表真实或虚拟现实,而是代表两种幻想的模式。韦德在游戏中的身份帕西法尔(Parzival)召集了一群战士:修(Sho)、大东(Daito)、艾奇(Aech)和阿尔忒密斯(Art3mis)。阿尔忒密斯是韦德的爱慕对象。当这些角色在现实世界中对应的人物在哥伦布相聚时,才发现他们跟游戏中的角色不太一样。艾奇由丽娜·维特(Lena Waithe)饰演,她在绿洲中是高大的男性,但该片仍未充分利用网络身份的灵活性。在绿洲内外,阿尔忒密斯(又名萨曼莎[Samantha],由奥莉维娅·库克[Olivia Cooke]饰演)都是男性幻想中的酷女郎形象。修(赵家正[Philip Zhao]饰)和大东(森崎温[Win Morisaki]饰)被降级为帮手。多玩家参与和自我创造的游戏精神本可以提供一个机会,塑造不太传统的英雄分工,但编剧和制片人们缺乏充分利用它的想像力。

The most fun part of “Ready Player One” is its exuberant and generous handing out of pop-cultural goodies. Tribute is paid to Mr. Spielberg’s departed colleagues John Hughes and Stanley Kubrick. The visual and musical allusions are eclectic enough that nobody is likely to feel left out, and everybody is likely to feel a little lost from time to time.

《头号玩家》中最有趣的部分在于它热情慷慨地分发流行文化中的好东西。片中向斯皮尔伯格去世的同行约翰·休斯(John Hughes)和斯坦利·库布里克(Stanley Kubrick)致敬。它广泛引用了大量视觉梗和音乐梗,没有人会觉得自己被忽略了,但每个人都很有可能会不时感到失落。

Nostalgia? Sure, but what really animates the movie is a sense of history. The Easter egg hunt takes Parzival and his crew back into Halliday’s biography — his ill-starred partnership with Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg), his thwarted attempts at romance — and also through the evolution of video games and related pursuits. The history is instructive and also sentimental in familiar ways, positing a struggle for control between idealistic, artistic entrepreneurs (and their legions of fans) and soulless corporate greedheads.

怀旧?当然,但真正让该片充满活力的是一种历史感。寻找“复活节彩蛋”的活动将帕西法尔和他的团队带回到哈利迪的传记中——他与奥格登·莫罗(Ogden Morrow,西蒙·佩吉[Simon Pegg]饰)的不幸合作关系,他在情场上的失败尝试——也让他们经历了电子游戏以及相关追求的演变。这段历史很有教益,也令人感伤,它讲述了一个常见的故事:具有艺术情怀的理想主义创业者(以及他们庞大的粉丝群体)与贪婪的、没有灵魂的企业老板对控制权的争夺。

Halliday is a sweet, shaggy nerd with a guileless Northern California drawl and a deeply awkward manner, especially around women. Sorrento is an autocratic bean counter, a would-be master of the universe who doesn’t even like video games. These characters are clichés, but they are also allegorical figures.


In the movie, they represent opposing principles, but in our world, they are pretty much the same guy. A lot of the starry-eyed do-it-yourselfers tinkering in their garages and giving life to their boyish dreams back in the ’70s and ’80s turned out to be harboring superman fantasies of global domination all along. They shared their wondrous creations and played the rest of us for suckers, collecting our admiration, our attention and our data as profit and feudal tribute.


Mr. Spielberg incarnates this duality as perfectly as any man alive. He is the peer of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and a Gandalf for the elves and hobbits who made Google, Facebook and the other components of our present-day Oasis. He has been man-child and mogul, wide-eyed artist and cold-eyed businessman, praised for making so many wonderful things and blamed for ruining everything. His career has been a splendid enactment of the cultural contradictions of capitalism, and at the same time a series of deeply personal meditations on love, loss and imagination. All of that is also true of Halliday’s Oasis. “Ready Player One” is far from a masterpiece, but as the fanboys say, it’s canon.

斯皮尔伯格就是这种二元性的代表,和其他任何活着的人一样。他堪与史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs)和比尔·盖茨(Bill Gates)并驾齐驱,就像甘道夫指引着精灵和霍比特人,他们也指引着那些创造了现实世界“绿洲”中的谷歌(Google)和Facebook等组件的那些人们。他既是长不大的孩子,也是影业巨子,既是天真的艺术家,也是冷漠的商人,既因为创造了这么多精彩的作品而受到赞扬,也常常被指责破坏了一切。他的职业生涯既是对资本主义文化冲突的精彩演绎,也是对爱情、失落和想象的一系列深刻的个人思考。哈利迪的绿洲也是如此。《头号玩家》远非杰作,但正如它的痴迷者所说的,它是经典。