Ernest Cline’s breakout novel, an ejaculation of everything nerds could ever wish for in one place, is set to be adapted into a film under the direction of Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is a breakout director whose previous credits include some relatively unknown titles like, Indiana Jones, Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park.
Ready Player One takes place in year 2044, primarily set in a virtual reality world called Oasis, which was created by recluse genius Ogden Morrow, who died and left behind a puzzle within the game that leads the first to complete the puzzle to Morrow’s fortune. To solve the puzzle, one must have a vast knowledge of pop culture from prior decades.
Here are some of my favorite pop culture references in the book:
- Steven Spielberg (yes, he’s adapting a book in which he and his films are paid homage to… and I’m completely fine with that)
- War Games
- Indiana Jones
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Iron Giant
- THX 1138
- Big Trouble in Little China
- Blade Runner
- Cowboy Beebop
- John Hughes
- Back to the Future
- Street Fighter II
- TRS-80 Color Computer
- Star Wars
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Many of these items are 80’s staples and since Spielberg was king in the 80’s- well- it all just makes sense.
Some things on this list (a small sample of the long list of references in the book) came to me during childhood. Like Indiana Jones, which my dad introduced to me. He loves all three films and they continue to capture my imagination. Other things came into my life later, like THX 1138, which I watched as an undergraduate when I began taking film courses and dreamed of becoming the next George Lucas.
Then there’s John Hughes, whose film’s have cropped into my life at random. I watched Ferris Bueller in high school, the best time to first see the movie, and learned that if my parents don’t lock the garage, it’s perfectly fine to steal their car. Weird Science makes me happy every time I watch it, especially one year during college when I watched it about three times a month.
I first read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for a high school English class. Not only did this required reading not include red A’s or wrathful grapes, it was hilarious, thought provoking, and set in space!
I’m sure many of Ready Player One‘s readers, like myself, haven’t had first hand experiences with everything referenced in the book. TRS-80 Color Computers and Atari had their heyday before I was born, but learning the history of early computers and gaming makes me nostalgic for another time. A time which I sometimes wish I could have experienced myself, much like Wade Watts and Ogden Morrow. Of course, these characters created a version of decades past in Oasis, so… maybe one day.
Cline, who wrote a shrine to nerd pop culture and the 80’s, must have shat himself upon learning that Spielberg would adapt his book to film. Spielberg is a sort of Ogden Morrow to film lovers. He just has a finger on what captures our imaginations, an ability to create stories that are destined for mass nostalgia.
In addition to Spielberg, there other notable film veterans working on Ready Player One. According to IMDB, John Williams will be scoring the film. Pretty perfect, considering he’s scored most of Spielberg’s films as well as Star Wars and the Harry Potter films. Michael Kahn has also been working with Spielberg since the 1970’s and will be editing the film. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski shot The Lost World, Minority Report, and War of the Worlds. A strong list of names lead the crew.
Now, I’ve discussed with some people and read internet commentary on the question of whether this book will hold up as a film. A movie full of pop culture references that takes place in a virtual reality? It does sound questionable, but all I can say is, I freaking hope it works. Plus, if anyone could make this movie good, it’s Spielberg.