Will the Ready Player One Movie Live up to the hype?
The Ready Player One Movie will come to the big screen in March 2018. Based on the successful Ernest Cline novel, the film adaptation is also predicted to do great things next year.
Ready Player One is set in a not too distant dystopian future. Where a Bill Gates type figure has created a virtual reality MMO called OASIS. And it has pretty much taken over all aspects of life. With the actual world being pretty freaking horrible, people of all ages, races and wealth status spend most of their lives plugged into the OASIS (…as if that’ll ever happen).
The book kicks off with the death of James Halliday, creator of OASIS. In a virtual reading of his own Will he promises his entire fortune, and the control of the OASIS virtual universe, to whoever can unlock a number of Easter Eggs he had planted in the game.
The film version appears to have a terrific cast and will be directed by non other than Steven Spielberg himself! Let’s have a look at some of the reasons to be excited about this film.
Would you like Pop Culture with that?
The book version of Ready Player One is absolutely dripping with pop culture references. OASIS creator James Halliday, was obsessed with 80s culture and created whole virtual worlds dedicated to it. Inside OASIS the main protagonist, Wade Watts, hunts for Easter Eggs through worlds dedicated to Blade Runner and Dungeons and Dragons with weapons from Star Wars and Japanese anime.
Of course, Watts and his Egg Hunter friends, don’t have it all their own way. There is an evil corporation trying to find the Eggs to pervert the OASIS for their own purpose. So when our heroes meet these villains they fight with everything from space ships, magic, swords, blasters and giant robots from every movie, TV show or video game you’ve ever heard of.
Herein lies a problem for the Ready Player One movie as I see it. Many of the most notable moments from the novel rely on the use of intellectual property that might be difficult to use in the film. Produced by Warner Bros (and some others), there’ll be quite a lot that they can do in house. But using references from other sources might prove difficult. For example, Star Wars references feature heavily in the novel. Would Disney let them use their new IP in this film?
It’s got some great actors attached
In terms of big names, the Ready Player One movie has got more that a few. T.J. Miller (Deadpool) will star as i-ROk. Miller is a great comedic actor who will play a Boba Fett type bounty hunter in the film. Also on the villain team is Australia’s own Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One). He will be playing Nolan Sorrento, an exec from Innovative Online Industries. A nasty corporation trying to commercialise the OASIS (an evil Google perhaps?).
On the less evil side of the film is Mark Rylance who recently featured in Dunkirk (and you should check out our review). Rylance will play James Halliday, the deceased billionaire/game designer who initiates the story with his Egg Hunt quest. And his former game designer partner, Ogden Morrow, will be played by Simon Pegg (Shawn of the Dead). It seems like they’re really going for comedic actors (e.g. Miller and Pegg) in these supporting roles. Which might give you a clue as to the tone that they are going for in the Ready Player One movie.
Rounding out the good people side of the movie is Tye Sheridan as our hero, Wade Watts (Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse). And Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) as Art3mis. Both good young actors who I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future. In fact, we’ll see Sheridan as Cyclops in the next X-Men movie, X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Steven Spielberg: The Man Who Invented 80’s Pop Culture
Well, he wasn’t solely responsible. But with his involvement in 80’s hits like Raiders of The Lost Ark, E.T., The Goonies, Back to the Future, he was probably more influential than most. And even though he’s responsible for the best movies of the 80’s, Stephen Spielberg won’t be referencing his own movies in the Ready Player One movie. Which I find to be an odd decision. The book, of course has many references to the man’s work. And Spielberg movie references inside a Spielberg movie is exactly the type of intertextuality Hollywood goes for these days (mmmm those memberberries!). But I guess when you’re Steven Spielberg you can just say no to those studio enforced nostalgic moments.
While we all know that Spielberg will go down as one of the greatest film makers of all time, not too many of his recent films have been great hits. Not that they’ve been bad, but they won’t be films that we’ll really remember him for. You’d have to go back as far as Saving Private Ryan in 1998 for one of those Spielberg super classics. I do feel like Ready Player One could break that trend. It’s a story more in the style of his lighter, earlier films than his recent films with more significant messages.
So Are You Ready….Player One?
The Ready Player One movie won’t be released until March 2018. But there’s plenty of hype and fan engagement already. There’s even a competition to have your own avatar featured in the movie! Hopefully we’ll get more than just the teaser image above (possible even at San Diego Comic Con?) Stay tuned for more news!