Going Back to the Future with Ready Player One

Going Back to the Future with Ready Player One

Emma Cohen, Staff Writer

On March 30th, Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Warner Bros Pictures and Amblin Entertainment Pictures, will hit theaters. Originally Ernest Cline’s debut novel published in 2011, this popular adult dystopian and science-fiction novel has gained adoration from a wide variety of readers from around the world.

Ready Player One takes place in a world amidst an energy crisis. It follows the life of an impoverished teenage boy by the name of Wade Watts. He lives in Ohio, in the year 2045, with his abusive aunt. Like everyone else in this world, Wade’s only solace is the virtual reality utopia, the OASIS. The Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation is the place where people carry out their daily lives. It is where most of the population works, goes to school, and even carries out business and political operations.

When the developer, James Halliday, who has an uncanny obsession with the 80’s, passes away, he leaves behind in a video message that his company, all of his belongings, and his trillion dollar fortune will be left to whoever finds the “Easter Egg.” He leaves clues lying around the OASIS and in his book, Anorak’s Almanac. The clues lead to various keys, which lead to different gates, which all together, lead to the Easter Egg. As can be expected, the entire world goes crazy. Among them is our hero Wade, known in the Oasis by his Gamertag, Parzival, which is inspired by the Arthurian legends. In this story, we watch our hero in both the real and virtual world, following him on his quest to find the egg before both his friends and those who want to destroy the OASIS find it.  

Ironically, the OASIS is the digital version of the world we live in today, incorporating pop culture from the past few decades. Want to ride the Millenium Falcon and explore a finite number of worlds? Go for it. Want to enter the Tomb of Horrors and fight the evil demi-lich Acererak? The sky’s the limit. Since there are not enough resources on Earth, people go into an alternate reality; an alternate reality that brings to life everything imaginable, yet still maintains enough order and regulation for kids to attend school and gain an education.

Based on the trailer, the movie looks like a fun, action-packed sci-fi. However, the trailer alone shows that Spielberg has taken some creative liberties. For starters, Wade’s character is completely different than how he was described in the book. “The characters in this book aren’t flawless, and so I think the directors will want to alter them to match their creative vision for the film,” said Rene Ahn (‘18). “I’m used to attractive characters who were born to become heroes and such, so I liked that the characters in this book weren’t flawless.” She went on to say that she liked Wade’s character, and is not sure if she’ll like the way his character was altered.

It’s not surprising that the movie looks like it will be different from the book. “Most movies that are based on books are kind of uncomfortable for me to watch,” said Ahn. “There’s too much information in this book for it to all be in one movie, and I’m afraid that some scenes will look artificial or unrealistic. We’re all too focused on the aesthetic, so some valuable details in the book will be missed.”

On the other hand, it looks like Spielberg has added many pop culture references from the past few years in an attempt to modernize the story and appeal to a broader audience. In the trailer alone, we can see characters like Tracer from Overwatch, Chun Li from Street Fighter, and the giant from The Iron Giant.

In the end, it’s safe to say that the movie will be at least a little different from the book, but it’s unrealistic to expect the movie to be exactly the same. Based on the trailer, the movie looks like it’ll be a fun, action-packed, entertaining flick. For anyone interested in sci-fi, action, virtual reality worlds, and a countless number of video game references, this might just be the movie for you.