Playing Favourites: Ladytron KCRW Session

I began something of a love affair with the albums of Ladytron in 2013 and have been playing them relentlessly ever since.

I’d previously heard ‘He Took Her To A Movie’ on a Lamacq Evening Session, donkey’s years ago, circa 2001, and of course it wasn’t long later ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ was so big. Quite why it took me a decade to fall into them properly will remain a mystery. And it just so happened that the timing of my fandom fell in the early part of an 8 year barren spell for albums, ‘Gravity The Seducer’ of 2011 being the last release until this year’s eponymous ‘Ladytron’. Typically me to find them just as they go dark. But it was a good chance to play their old stuff over and over and get into the back catalogue without the distraction of new stuff.

In 2009 they visited the US radio station KCRW for a live set during the promotion of that year’s album ‘Velocifero’. I discovered this many years later while in a YouTube rabbit hole. For some reason the official channel doesn’t have it, but this channel does.

And while I don’t listen to a lot of their live output, some of the versions here are the best I’ve ever heard. Discotraxx in particular.

Perhaps this set is a more accessible way to get into them than their albums, particularly some of the earlier albums have tracks that really aren’t all that accessible. Perhaps the occasional song in Bulgarian doesn’t help! The hooks, though…

And I just like watching how they do their thing live. It helps that this set contains some of my favourite songs.

Anyway, this is a band that really ought to be more in the popular consciousness than they are, beyond niche or specialist stations. I imagine they’ve influenced a great many artists who are. Give it a whirl.

Set:
1. Tomorrow
2. Destroy Everything You Touch
3. Soft Power
4. Black Cat
6. Discotraxx
7. Versus
8. Runaway

 

 

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Visit to the Norman Lockyer Observatory

On Saturday, 6th April I visited the Norman Lockyer Observatory near Sidmouth for an “Introduction to Astronomy”.

Domes of the Norman Lockyer Observatory
Norman Lockyer Observatory

This was a daytime course from 10am to 5pm centred in the lecture theatre and planetarium. The idea is to pique your interest or develop an existing hobby, perhaps with the hope you will join as a member and attend their observation nights. At the very least the aim is to get more people interested and talking about astronomy and our place in the universe.

Mum bought the ticket for me for Christmas and she also managed to get a ticket herself. The family had previously got me a telescope, though I must admit I have struggled to work out what I’m doing.

Open Approach

We didn’t know what to expect – we both imagined it could be a dry and dusty lecture to an audience of six elderly, scholarly men looking down their noses at us!

It wasn’t that at all. There must have been 40 people and the course sold out a month ago. There were a mix of ages from children to pensioners, almost as many women as men, including people with physical impairments. Probably some of the demographic wouldn’t have attended such an event 30 years ago, if one existed.

There was a BBC Stargazing banner on the fence as we drove in and the open approach of that scheme was carried into the course. Every session ended with a Q&A where even the most simple question was answered, the course attracting a mix of people with knowledge as well as those with absolutely none at all.

The friendly and approachable volunteer members presenting each segment took the approach of ‘no stupid questions’ – we all have to start somewhere!

Night Sky

First it was off to the Planetarium.

Now this was no whizz-bang thrill ride with digital effects to make you ride from planet to planet, star to star, as modern Planetariums are today. This was old school and frankly it was pretty good for it. It used a projector that was 50 years old, formerly at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Essentially it was a light source inside a small ball, this had pin pricks in it which let spots of light shine into the large white dome over our heads, once the house lights were down and we were sent into darkness (gradually so our eyes could adjust).

It’s more complicated than that of course, each pin prick had to represent the true position of the stars. The ball would spin under the control of the operator so the stars would move over your head exactly as they would if you were outside overnight – and in the right place for the time of year.

Must’ve been one hell of a job to build accurately. This is a piece of real workmanship.

Because of the whiteness of the dome it wasn’t possible to get a great picture, but hopefully this gives an impression.

The 50 year old planetarium projector
The 50 year old planetarium projector

This was a great introduction. The presenter was open and friendly and didn’t overwhelm us with names and technical terms. As he said, it’s more important to learn the principals and the important ‘landmarks’, rather than all the constellation names.

He showed us how to identify the most prominent and easy to spot constellation, The Plough or Big Dipper, the three bright stars in a row as the handle. Then use this to locate the Pole Star which, at the UK’s location, will always be at true North. This and the rest of this hour was the sort of thing I was hoping to learn.

Planisphere

The next 45 minutes in the lecture theatre was on using star maps and something called a Planisphere. This is two plastic discs put together, the bottom one is the star map, the upper one partly obscures it and partly is a window. Simply spin the upper disc to the date and time marked on the rim and it’ll show you what you can see that night! Amazing!

Obviously I bought one in the shop. You can get the same one here.

They also showed us software for PC and more interestingly apps for smartphones, which use GPS to find your location and accelerometers in the phone. Just move the phone around and the star map will move with you, showing the constellations right in front of you, or over your head, exactly at that moment!

People were asking about free ones but that’s gotta be worth £5 for the paid app!

Planets

After tea & biscuits we had a lecture on the planets of the solar system. When I saw this on the itinerary I was thinking, “OK, I know all this”. But it turns out I didn’t. Science has moved on since I was at school as a teenager in the mid-90s.

They showed us the latest images of Mars, both from recent landers and images of the planet include the polar caps. Images of Mercury and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. And of course those great shots of Pluto when all we previously had was a smudge. Some I had picked up on TV and online over the years, seeing it all at once was fantastic.

And when you see the relative scale and distance from anything else of Pluto, only the size of our moon but so far away, it’s absolutely amazing a probe got out to it at all!

Always been interested in the planets and a good way to get up speed.

The Grounds

At lunch there was time to wander the grounds. Bit cold in the building and the place has no heating, it wasn’t much different outside, so we sat in the car for a bit.

After warming up we had a potter about. Despite being quite old now everything looks so well maintained.

Observatory Dome
Dome

Sun & Moon

Before getting back indoors a member came up to us with a viewer, just a simple piece of film we could look through to see the sun directly. Without the glare it looked just like a planet!

He then led the next lecture and said you could even see sunspots with it, if there were any, but we’re in a solar minimum right now. About two years from now they’ll start increasing and you can see them with the naked eye protected by one of these. Or of course get something similar to protect your telescope and look that way, even take pictures.

He also pointed out places on the moon. That got me thinking… so far I’ve tried looking at stars with not much success, the obvious thing I’m missing with my ‘scope is our nearest neighbour. I’ll be trying that.

The Universe

There was an explanation of the current science on the beginning of the universe – probably! – as well as how stars are formed and die.

And also the Hubble image of 1995 of the small patch of black sky… which turned out to have hundreds of galaxies in it. Mind blowing.

Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.
– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

At the end he alluded to the fact we’re all from star dust, nebulae, and one day – hopefully a long time from now – our planet and everything on it will be consumed by the stars. Personally I think he could’ve gone much heavier on that. The real circle of life. It beats any religion I know.

Some of the pictures here were fantastic too, the nebulae and galaxies. And many were taken by the very guys who were presenting the course. I know images are coloured to make them look pretty, I suppose that’s an aesthetic because they have to be light-shifted to something to make them visible so you might as well make them look nice. There’s no ‘how they are meant to look’ when they’re outside the spectrum of the human eye.

Telescopes

Explaining different types and how pricey it can get. This was probably the only bit it got truly ‘nerdy’. Not that I’m against nerdy whatsoever, but time and place. In the Q&A an enthusiast in the audience sort of took over. Which is fine, it happens in every single special-interest group that exists on any topic, but maybe that person could’ve broken off for a discussion afterwards.

Although my telescope isn’t bargain basement, at about £150, it certainly wasn’t in the budgets they were talking about of £800 upwards, so I felt put off from asking anything. And to be honest, for my needs right now, I don’t need to spend that kind of money. They were very careful to mention that spending the money isn’t for everyone and plenty of people – like me – just want to observe the night sky and that’s perfectly fine.

I must say some of the kit was fantastic. Computer controlled tracking, just type in what you want to see and it spins it around and points it for you! If I were getting into serious imaging and observation that’s what I would get. The old tech geek side of me wants to do it. But I really don’t want to get into such an expensive hobby. It was pretty cool to learn what’s available and how far you can go.

Telescopes
Telescopes

Observatory Tour

We were taken up to the telescope in the Connaught Dome. It looks brand new but is decades old.

Then across to the telescope Sir Norman Lockyer used to discover helium on the Sun. This was a beautiful piece, really could be stored away in a museum for safekeeping or as a piece of art, yet is used every Friday night in their open evenings and works perfectly after 120 years. They even fixed a motor to it. I’m so glad they use it, absolutely brilliant!

Connaught Telescope
Connaught Telescope
Norman Lockyer's Telescope from 1870
Norman Lockyer’s Telescope from 1870

Summary

It was a pretty full on day and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though I was tired from the sheer amount of information, the day flew by and I could’ve stayed longer. (Always leave them wanting more!) It covered more aspects of general astronomy and cosmology than I was expecting, a great way to teach the subject to those with a burgeoning interest and those just tagging along with those who do.

I really do believe more people should understand where we fit into the universe, for one thing I think the political landscape would look very different if they did, for another I suspect more money would be invested in science for the good of humankind, and less in petty political squabbling over fake lines in the ground that we invented.

Am I member now? No I’m not. I want to get some practice in and see what I can do before I decide whether to take it further. Who knows, maybe in five years I will be one of those people geeking out about the latest motorised ‘scopes and software and capturing some great images of my own! But right now I’m perfectly content to navigate the stars and have a go at looking at the moon and the planets.

I highly recommend this course whether you know about space or not.

I’ll leave you with a couple of thoughts from Carl Sagan and a link to the course.

Pale Blue Dot
Carl Sagan

“Introduction to Astronomy” Itinerary

  • 10:15am:  Looking at the night sky. Using the Planetarium to locate interesting objects and orientate yourself with Polaris, the pole star.
  • 11:00am:  How to use star maps and a planisphere, including planetarium apps.
  • 11:45am:  Tea break.
  • Midday:  The planets. Current understanding of the solar system and latest imaging.
  • 12:45pm:  Lunch. Grounds open to walk around.
  • 1:45pm:  The sun and moon. How to observe the sun safely.
  • 2:30pm:  Stars, nebulae, galaxies. Current understanding of the formation of the universe, along with imaging of galaxies and nebulae taken by members.
  • 3:15pm:  Tea break.
  • 3:30pm:  Telescopes. Types of telescopes and binoculars available.
  • 4:15pm:  Tour the Observatory.

Course price:  £20.00 (or £15.00 for NLO members)

Website:  http://normanlockyer.com/education/introduction-to-astronomy-course/

 

Thoughts On Films: Red River (1948)

red-river-movie-poster-1948-1020199975

Name:  Red River
Year:  1948
Runtime:  2h13m
Directors:  Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Cast:  John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan
Watched:  30 December 2018

Now this is the perfect way to while away a lazy Sunday over Christmas. Finally getting home and chilling out, watching an old Western on ITV4. In black & white! And followed up with two WW2 films made in the 1960s. Glorious.

At over 2 hours 15 minutes – plus ITV’s adverts – it is quite a long film but I didn’t mind at all. The set up takes a bit of explaining both here and in the film.

I would imagine this is a harder film to find these days, unless you catch it on TV, so this’ll be a much longer piece than normal. My usual reviews should cap out at about 800 words and will have considerably less plot explanation, I’m including it here because I’m guessing you can’t fire up Netflix and find it. But do have a look on Amazon or iTunes and watch it!

The West

It is the old West and a wagon train is heading across the plains from St Louis to California with settlers looking for a new life. In the apparent middle of nowhere, as they pass somewhere near the border with north Texas. Thomas Dunson (John Wayne) announces he’s leaving and settling in Texas.

He’s leaving the love of his life who desperately wants to come with him. But he insists life will be too hard as he’s planning to set up a cattle farm from absolutely nothing, him and Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan), an older man who always stays at his side, plus a bull and a couple of cows of course, all tied to the back of Groot’s wagon. He leaves her his mother’s bracelet and says he’ll send for her.

At the end of the day’s riding they reach the Red River, the border with Texas. They look back and see black smoke in the distance. Indians.

[American Indians of course, Native Americans. How times and terminology have changed. I’m sure I’ve seen an old Western which also looked from the other point of view, that attacks on wagon trains were their way to defend encroachment on their territory, even if the ways were not good. But this assuredly isn’t that film. But neither is it an excuse to have ‘good guys’ shoot ‘Injuns’ just for the sake of it. In fact, other than one attack much later on, this is the last we see of them.]

Too far away to help and knowing if they’re good they’ll follow their tracks and catch up, the two set up watch overnight. Sure enough, a group of braves shoot lighted fire arrows at them and kill one of the cows. Dunson and Groot are good shots though and after a battle they are the last men standing. But one was wearing that bracelet, which Dunson takes back off the body. If she’d come with him, or he stayed with the wagons, she might still be alive.

Next day, a young man is wandering toward them with a cow. He’s talking gibberish and in a trance. After being snapped out of it, not before he pulls a gun which Dunson has to get off him, he says he’s Matt (in this part played by Mickey Kuhn). He was the only one alive. I must admit I wasn’t sure if he came from the same wagon train, some write-ups say he was and he’s the only survivor, but if that were true then Dunson & Groot would’ve known him. I thought he was a survivor from another one.

The trio continue until the Rio Grande, where Dunson stops and declares all the land he can see north of the Rio Grande is his, that in 10 years he’ll have the biggest ranch in Texas with enough beef to feed the country, all branded with his Red River D. After setting up camp two Mexican men approach, saying the land is owned by their boss Don Diego who is based 400 miles away. As they argue one Mexican goes for his gun. Dunson shoots him dead, sends the other man away, and buries and reads the bible over the dead man.

And yes, all of that, which takes up a good 45 minutes or so, is the first act.

From here in this piece there are story-relevant spoilers, but I’ll go into less detail in the hope of avoiding as many as possible.

The Drive

I like the story-telling device here. Hand-written pages of a book, in close-up so you only see parts of it. It says 14 years have passed, the farm had grown just as Dunson had said it would, through hard work and just giving it time.

We fade back up to a scene of thousands of cattle all branded with the Red River brand, a big house and farm buildings and many men working for him – and more burial crosses of those who tried to take the land. Matt (now an adult played by Montgomery Clift) is back home from fighting the US Civil War. But there’s no money, the war has drained the South. The cows are worthless here. Dunson decides on a desperate move: drive 10,000 head of cattle the 1,000 miles north to Missouri where prices are good.

And that’s the second half of the film. The trials of the men as they drive North, risking attack both from Indians and in Missouri by those who don’t want cheaper Texan beef in their markets.

Cattle from other ranches had wandered across and Dunson orders them branded with the Red River brand too even if they’re already branded. He’ll take all of them. Another farmer rides up with his support, looking to take back his cattle. After exchanging threats the other man backs down and agrees to take a cut of the money Dunson makes for any cattle with the other man’s brand on it. But one of his hands Cherry has heard about Dunson and on the spot offers to join him on the drive.

Back at the ranch, Dunson offers to any man that he can stay behind, no hard feelings, but if anyone comes long he must stay with it all the way, no matter what. It’ll be 10 miles per day, maybe 12, so it’ll take about 100 days.

He works them hard. The men get tired. At a river crossing where the could camp and rest to cross in the morning he insists they cross that evening. Not easy with 10,000 cows. And after losing a wagon load of food when the herd stampedes, the men are hungry and want to get out of it, there are several attempts to quit. Especially since there’s a clear path to Kansas, where they’ve heard there’s a railway and cattle market. But nobody knows for sure if it’s there.

He even kills a deserter. Shoots him dead and buries him. After that he stays awake on watch for hours. His judgement impaired by days awake and driving for miles, he tries to whip the man who caused the stampede, he tries to hang three more men who desert!

Enough is enough for Matt. Matt takes control and heads for Kansas. Dunson is left behind, seething and injured he swears to kill Matt if he ever catches him – and promises he will catch him.

The tension between the two is palpable. I later read this was in part because Wayne and Clift really didn’t like each other on set, a real personality clash and very much disagreed politically. I have to say that adds something to the performances.

There’s a whole subplot here where Matt runs into a wagon train under attack, meets a woman, Tess (Joanne Dru), and the two immediately fall for each other. Matt has to make the same decision Dunson did 14 years ago.

That takes us to about half hour left and I’ll leave it there, just in case you find it and don’t want the end spoiled! Does Matt get the cows there? Does Dunson catch up? And what of Tess?

Stubbornness & A Modern Link

Dunson is a hard, stubborn man who knows what he wants, takes what he wants, when he wants it. Never wrong in his own mind. Exactly who you’d stereo-typically picture a John Wayne character to be from the actor’s reputation!

And this film does feature some absolutely nailed-on John Wayne cliche dialogue. And they’re all brilliant lines. They’re classics for a reason. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Matt: “You’d have shot him between the eyes!”
Dunson (Wayne, in his drawl): “Just as sure as you’re standing there.”

And with such conviction and ruthlessness, fending for yourself, having no qualms about shooting your own men dead but then reading the bible over their bodies after they are buried – this type of morality is even questioned by another character in the film – you start to understand why parts of the US are the way they are, why the current Republican belief system is so strong. It may be that the 1850s were like this. It’s just as likely, if not more so, this is the creation myth of the United States which has over time developed into a legend rather than actual history, this film shot in 1948 being among many to reinforce it. Perhaps this whole sense of self is harking back to a mythologised past.

The trail itself though, the drive across 1000 miles from Texas? That did actually happen!

Yet a recurring motif throughout the film is Dunson getting it wrong. And Groot telling him so. Whether it be about Fen, the fiancee he left behind. Or working the men too hard. Or the way he treats those who try to run.

And about Matt’s chances of getting to Kansas.

Comedy & Delivery

I love the quips in this film.

“I never like seeing strangers, guess it’s ‘cos no stranger ever good newsed me.” – Groot

“There are only two things more beautiful than a good gun: a Swiss watch or a woman from anywhere. Ever had a good… Swiss watch? – Cherry

“I don’t like things going good or bad, I like ’em in between.” – Sims

The timing of the delivery of lines is really well placed as well. You can tell there was some level of freedom for the actors. It isn’t managed to within an inch of its’ life and it works all the better for it.

And yes, much of the style is dated, like the way they turn slightly, to better face the camera, when they want to speak. Yet much is very well done. Without CGI they made barely 1,000 cows look like 10,000. The actors all seem good riders to an untrained eye.

They included the questions about involving religion after you kill a man, about being gung-ho and making rash decisions. It isn’t a film about “killing injuns”.

Once you get used to the black and white and the style of writing, Red River really is well worth spending a couple of hours of your chilled out day.

Thoughts On Films: Ready Player One (2018)

ready player one

Name:  Ready Player One
Year:  2018
Runtime:  2h20m
Director:  Steven Spielberg
Cast:  Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg
Watched:  25 December 2018

In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the Oasis to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-aka the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.

This was fun. All of the ’80s and ’90s pop culture references! And the virtual world was so well created, complete with everyone’s personal avatars. Might this be the best ‘video game film’ yet made? I think the only competition is Wreck-It Ralph, which is also excellent. I was sold in the opening scene with Parzival navigating different worlds to ‘Jump’ by Van Halen.

I feel like I spotted barely half the nods and references and probably a lot less than that. Some views were so fleeting and others contained so many characters, you’d need to watch fifty times. Favourites included the Parzival’s DeLorean customised with KITT’s moving red light, the A-Team van, the Serenity – and all the things in Aech’s workshop! The ‘shop alone included the TARDIS, a Viper from Battlestar Galactica, the ship from Spaceballs, the Iron Giant and countless other things. I think in those scenes I was more interested in watching the background than I was following the dialogue.

It didn’t feel at all like the 2 hour 20 minute run time. I’m not sure whether it was because it was after a big Christmas Day meal and I enjoyed the breather. Or if it was a movie with a lot going on, or that spending the time looking for references kept you busy. It really felt like it zipped along. It wasn’t all fast-paced, the breathers and slower moments were well-timed and it never felt they were there just to break up the action before all the racing and running and shooting started again. And unlike some fast-moving films I never felt the dashing around was too much or over the top – a lot of modern blockbusters have overly busy battle sequences just because they can.

Perhaps the final battle was a bit busy, but then with so many avatars in this world and so much at stake for them in the story, you’d expect a lot going on at once.

The worlds in the OASIS were well-created, just like being inside a game. As I say, probably the best representation alongside Wreck-It Ralph. The nightclub scene was particularly good.

And obviously as a racing fan I have to praise the inclusion of the big race! Tons of things to see here too, like Bigfoot, the 1960s Batmobile, and the jump was even the one from The Man With The Golden Gun! Was there a pointed comment that IOI’s identikit ‘sixers’ were racing identical NASCAR-style stock cars? Maybe that was just me.

The section from The Shining was a bit weird.

A lot of the references were from mid-00s shoot-em-up games, which was a bit weird too. I feel like someone like Halliday with all the 80s movies, would be more influenced by 90s shooters like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake. But I get they’re trying to appeal to a younger audience too here.

Similarly, many of the references I didn’t understand were because they were American, but since that was where Halliday was from and also where Parzival and Artemis were from, that seemed fair enough. We Brits got plenty of mentions elsewhere, particularly with Goldeneye N64 and with the 80s music.

Everyone’s experience of the time was different and this was Halliday’s experience, or perhaps that of the author of the book on which this was based!

Going the other way, it was as if pop culture stopped in about 2010. (Not that I’m sure what I’d include from the current decade.) But it was kind of weird they didn’t invent their own stuff for the period 2010 to 2045. Was that part of the dystopia, that nothing new had been made?

I don’t want to make it seem like the references are the main thing, though it could’ve been. It would’ve been easy to stuff it full of distractions, ‘remember this?’, ‘remember that?’, and not bother with a story. Yet the story itself is good, so is the direction which you’d expect from Spielberg. The challenge to find the 3 keys in this virtual existence is an interesting one. The challenges are all fiendishly difficult and you have to think outside the box, like a classic video game.

They spend hours researching Halliday’s life and influences for clues in his virtual museum (with Simon Pegg as an Ask Jeeves-styled butler / curator). It was a nice touch that it been 5 years since he died, people had been trying to find the first one for years, then once it had been found they’d been trying to beat it for months. They didn’t just find it and complete it in 5 minutes.

The lead characters of Parzival/Wade and Artemis/Samantha were good. Their avatars felt well-rounded and interesting while their real world selves were a little one-dimensional, which seems a fair representation of someone spending all their lives in the virtual world! Wade being a super-fan of Halliday meant he was first to pick up on clues in the museum – and it too helped that both were very good game players.

They joined up with the supporting characters in a gang called the ‘High Five’, though I must admit I only saw the name well after watching the film. If they mentioned it in the film it wasn’t often and I didn’t notice it.

Meanwhile, Sorrento’s army from IOI was closing in both in the virtual world and in the real one, finding Wade’s home in the real world and forcing him to flee. Perhaps the only bit that brought me out of the world was that Samantha and the others were physically close to Wade all along.

Ben Mendelsohn is carving out a fun little niche for himself as Generic Bad Guy.  In Rogue One he was Director Orson Krennic, the man in charge of delivering the Death Star. In Robin Hood (2018) he was the Sheriff of Nottingham, I’ve not seen the film but that character is nearly always your classic pantomime villain. And here he is as Sorrento, the greedy corporate head honcho who doesn’t care for the OASIS or those in it, other than to make money from them, getting them into debt so they can spend their lives in ‘loyalty centres’ earning money in games. I hesitate to say he’s hamming it up in all of these roles and thoroughly enjoying himself in the process… but I’m sure he is!

And Halliday himself seemed to be some mash-up between ’90s games creators and Garth from Wayne’s World, although it took me a few days to figure out that resemblance. He was well played by Mark Rylance as the gentle yet originally single-minded creator, regretting his mistakes and wanting to protect his legacy.

So much more I can add in. I’m writing this a couple of weeks after seeing it and I didn’t take notes, so I’ve reminded myself a of a few things after forgetting some of the detail. There was a lot to remember!

If you like a bit of 80s film and gaming nostalgia, along with Tron-style virtual world-building taken to the next level, I highly recommend watching this.