12:34am PT by Abid Rahman
'Ready Player One': First Reactions From the Premiere
Early reactions from the Ready Player One premiere at the SXSW festival are coming in, and the response seems to be overwhelmingly positive.
Steven Spielberg introduced his adaptation of Ernest Cline's sci-fi book that's heavy on 1980s pop culture at the screening in Austin, and although there were a few technical hiccups, the film received a standing ovation from the audience as the credits rolled.
Ready Player One, which will be released in theaters on March 29, follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager and gamer on a high-stakes pursuit in a VR-like video game world called the OASIS. The game's deceased creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) set up a treasure hunt prior to his death, and the winner of the game will become the richest person on Earth and also get control of OASIS. But an evil corporation, led by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), is also on the trail.
Not long after the screening, many professional critics and geek bloggers began to give their verdict and the general, although still early, consensus seems to be that the Warner Bros. film was a hit.
Effusive praise for the film came from veteran critics like Eric Vespe, formerly of Ain't it Cool News, and Indiewire's Eric Kohn, who tweeted that Ready Player One was the "most astonishing thing" Spielberg had done in terms of "pure spectacle." RogerEbert.com editor Brian Tallerico and Fandango managing editor Erik Davis were also gushing in their praise of the film.
READY PLAYER ONE feels like Spielberg watched a ton of Luc Besson movies and decided to outdo them. In terms of pure spectacle, it’s the most astonishing thing he’s done. Never underestimate Steve. #SXSW— erickohn (@erickohn) March 12, 2018
So yeah, I LOVED Ready Player One. It’s perhaps the geekiest movie ever made. So so so happy right now!— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) March 12, 2018
READY PLAYER ONE: So so so much movie. Sometimes too much but what I kept thinking over and over again was “my kids are gonna LOVE THIS.” It is joyous and thrilling for the people who it’s designed to joy and thrill.— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) March 12, 2018
#ReadyPlayerOne is classic Steven Spielberg. It’s got the references, the ferocious effects and the great ‘80s soundtrack, sure, but also the charm, the heart, the humor and a fantastic Alan Silvestri score. I loved it & so did this #SXSW crowd. Be excited for it! pic.twitter.com/xwPOGwXDxd— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) March 12, 2018
Nerdist writer Scott Weintraub referenced the pre-release negative reaction to the trailer and posters in his glowing reaction to the film. The Verge's Tasha Robinson was another who had to rethink her earlier skeptism.
Ready Player One is a whole lot of fun. Those who are stuck in pre-release hate mode better prepare to be disappointed. #sxsw— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) March 12, 2018
Went into READY PLAYER ONE skeptical as hell. Came out largely as a joyous convert. I have a handful of issues with the structure and characters, but it improves on the book in important ways, the action is riveting, and I really bought the humor. #readyplayerone— Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) March 12, 2018
But amongst the praise, there were also a few people who weren't bowled over by Ready Player One. Screen Crush News' Britt Hayes and Slashfilm writer Kristy Puchko weren't fans, with Puchko in particular excoriating the film as "no love letter to pop culture. It’s a crass play to nostalgia; it offers nothing new or exciting."
literally my face during every second of Ready Player One. pic.twitter.com/dqZTNeN81r— Britt Hayes (@MissBrittHayes) March 12, 2018
Just. These movies matter so much to people. To just slap on iconography and references like they are stickers on a bedroom door. It’s such shallow use. It exploits your love for these things instead of earning it.— Kristy Puchko SXSW (@KristyPuchko) March 12, 2018