The film is an exciting prospect: the original novel by Ernest Cline is filled with references to movies and video games, and its Hunger Games meets The Matrix plot is a perfect mash-up of some more popular concepts in sci-fi. The story follows a young teen named Wade Watts living in a dark, dystopian future where everyone turns to a certain VR game for escapism, as he searches for an Easter Egg left by the game’s creator that could point him toward a huge amount of wealth.
Now, we’ve been given a first look at Spielberg’s movie, in the form of a photo, released by Entertainment Weekly, that shows Wade Watts mid-way through an exciting VR experience. Hey, isn’t that Cyclops?
Tye Sheridan, who did indeed play Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse, is an interesting choice for the character of Wade, not least because he’s in danger of being typecast as characters who wear visors. In the novel, Wade Watts is young, overweight, and riddled with acne, so Sheridan doesn’t exactly look the part. But of course, you can’t blame Hollywood for following the time-honored tradition of casting beautiful people for every role.
Looking beyond the lead actor, fans have spotted a range of little Easter Eggs and references, from some Garbage Patch Kids stickers to a He-Man lunchbox. This continues a trend that we’ve already seen from various set photos that made their way onto social media during the movie’s filming period, which showed off street art that references several big 1980s properties like Gremlins and Jaws.
All of this points to the true genius of this movie – in getting acclaimed eighties director Steven Spielberg on board, Ready Player One will (all things going well) be a perfect reflection of the nostalgia that are littered throughout Ernest Cline’s novel.
After all, we’ve seen plenty of directors (such as the Duffer Brothers of Stranger Things) pay homage to Spielberg’s work, but it’ll be a unique experience to see the legendary director delve into his own bag of tricks to make a movie that, in many ways, sums up his career. That’s to say nothing of the Boba Fett-type character that Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller is playing, itself yet another reference to thirty year old pop culture.
There’s a definitively eighties vibe to the whole poster – the clutter, smoke, lighting, and design are reminiscent of movies like The Terminator and Back to the Future, from back when little hidden details mattered so much more than they do in the era when elements of a scene can be amped up in post-production and everything had to be done practically. If this movie actually delivers on what it’s promising, this might just be the quintessential 1980s throwback film against which all others are judged, until our current crop of movies become fashionably retro instead.
Ready Player One is scheduled to come out March 30, 2018.