Originally Posted by mondguy
Thought experiment: Replace all of these known items with something obscure or original. Does it still have the same appeal?
Maybe. The idea of humanity willingly retreating into a massive virtual world because we've fucked up the real one beyond repair is interesting. As is a struggle between a massive corporation and the rest of the population for control of said massive world.
It's derivative, but it's still compelling in the right hands. Imagine if the Matrix was unimaginably profitable and everyone in it was aware and had a shot at inheriting full control over it and its value.
Look, I think Spielberg is smart enough to make this work in ways the novel doesn't quite. The corporation hunting down the scavenger hunt items isn't fucking around - they toss kids out of windows while they're still playing the game if they're a threat to them winning. They resort to terrorist activities to prevent other people from finding the scavenger hunt answers. Spielberg's deft enough to find a better balance between the fanciful virtual world and the horribly dystopian one outside it. And certainly better at understanding tone and pacing to take a good concept and make an even better movie out of it.
Granted, you have to be willing to forget that this is post-Crystal Skull Spielberg we're talking about, but yeah.