Film discussion

2018 Movie Preview: Ready Player One

If you’re a child of the 1980s, Ready Player One will bring some heart-warming nostalgia to your heart. Based on the 2012 award-winning book by writer Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is a geek bible filled with bite sized Easter eggs and references of pop culture, movies, music and gaming. Largely inspired by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Roald Dahl’s famous book, in March 2018, we’ll be journeying into a world of pure imagination.

Because the pop culture references are integral in Ready Player One, the concern was whether the film adaptation would make any compromises. Fans of the book will know that it wouldn’t be the same without them with references to Back to the Future, Pac-Man and WarGames to name a few. However, judging by the Comic-Con trailer released earlier this year, those fears can be put to one side.

The film story revolves around the character of Wade Watts, a teenager from Columbus, Ohio.  The year is 2045 and Wade (like millions of users) escape to the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation). It is a simulation where users can participate in activities from attending school, work or entertainment. But one of the main appeals of the OASIS is the ‘Anorak’s Game’ where users attempt to complete the final ever game by its recently deceased creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance).  The prize for the adventure – the opportunity to inherit his fortune.

Ready Player One serves as a timely example of reality catching up with fiction. At present it is still a niche representation but the uptake of virtual reality and the technological possibilities on what a world online could look like will be given a strong impetus and inspiration.

Overseeing the film adaptation is the one and only Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg as director is an inspired choice. Responsible for some of the biggest films of the 80’s with Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, he has the experience to tap into the nuances and traits that fans of the book will love. Ready Player One needs that childlike sense of wonder and emotion. It is an important attribute of Spielberg’s filmmaking which he used for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Given the nature of the OASIS and Wade’s attraction to the system and everything 80s, Spielberg will be able to bring that magical charm.

Joining Spielberg on this journey is actor Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts. Famous for his roles in X-Men: Apocalypse and Mud, Ready Player One is another high-profile role in his career. British actress Olivia Cooke will play Art3mis who like Wade, is another user trying to break the puzzle to Halliday’s prize.  As much as the story will be from Wade’s perspective, Art3mis, Aech, Daito and Shoto play a key part towards the quest. Their adventure through OASIS will test their friendship, their gaming skills and knowledge against the corporate entity IOI (Innovative Online Industries).  IOI wants control of OASIS for monetisation and if there was ever an actor born to play Nolan Sorrento, the head of operations at IOI it is Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One). If you need further geek cred, Simon Pegg (The Cornetto Trilogy, Star Trek Beyond) rounds off the cast.

Book to screen adaptations can go one way or another. It will either be a faithful version or a devastating mess but, either way, Ready Player One promises to be an adventurous thrill ride.

Ready Player One will be released in Spring 2018. Are you excited for it?

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