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I came across an article about the movie Ready Player One the other day. The writer criticized that the movie was lack of depth and not artistic because the director did not discuss further from sociological aspect and developed a rather weak adventure story instead. Readers fired up at the remark that they thought the writer was simply looking down upon the pop culture regardless of the meanings of icons and the story. The viewpoints of general audiences against that of the critics have aroused the debate about artistic quality of the movie.

The debate showed some interesting points of view. Some believed the movie has been categorized in commercial cinema that art merits should not be the emphasis. Commercial movies are for entertainment that it doesn’t have to be philosophical whatsoever. Some believed that the movie should be handled with more profundity because the topic was actually serious and the movie was supposed to be reflective.

This again concerns the topic and presentation of a work and its positioning. Does it mean that if the main theme of the work is not deep, the work itself needs not to show depth? Was it because the plot arrangement or the way of depiction that result to the argument?

From the audiences’ point of view

For those who wish to have a popcorn flick, they still can enjoy the show since the plot is simple and the sight and sound effect are great. However, the audiences had to know the pop culture well enough to get the punch line. What we must be aware of is that the so-called mainstream or popular culture here does not really that common as people expected. The classical icons and symbols in the movie are actually quiet distant to people who don’t spent their time on games and movies.

That is, even though these Easter eggs have more meanings than mere inside jokes, most people will not be able to find them. Icons had their symbolic meaning but whether they actually meant something or they are just used for fun is hard to tell, and it is open to interpretation. However, the audiences will not be satisfied with that either the meaning are hidden too deep or there are no meaning at all. At this point, the issues which were not developed or not being presented well enough become an empty hollow left unfulfilled.

Same situation also happens in design. The more the audiences are acquainted with symbols used in the work, the more they will enjoy it, for they can find connection and get attached to it. It forms a silent understanding between the audiences and the designers which gives the audiences a sense of achievement. However, the culture background and cultivation of designers and of the audiences are very different. If the symbols used by the designer are unfamiliar to the audiences, they cannot figure out the messages and ideas conveyed by the designers. A symbol too obvious will be superficial, but no matter how insightful and unique the design is, it will be futile if the audience had a hard time getting the picture.

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