He came, he saw, he conquered Comic-Con. Steven Spielberg brought Ready Player One to Hall H — and pumped up the crowd and helped assuage doubts about whether the beloved Ernie Cline novel could be properly adapted for the big screen.
Heat Vision‘s Aaron Couch and Mia Galuppo and contributor Chris Hartwell took a closer look at the footage from San Diego, in which ‘80s-obsessed teen Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) dives into the virtual world of Oasis in the year 2043.
Chris Hartwell: Spielberg, over the decades, has undeniably evolved as a filmmaker — a metamorphosis that has allowed him to make films ranging from Jaws to Schindler’s List to Catch Me If You Can. Most recently, with films like Lincoln and Bridge of Spies, it seems as if he’s entered his most contemplative and quietly crafted stage yet. It’s interesting watching the new trailer for Ready Player One, and finding within it a level of energy, fun, and even silliness that marked his earlier work such as E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Mia Galuppo: My biggest fear about Ready Player One was that it was going to be Steven Spielberg making a movie about Steven Spielberg movies. The book clearly showed a lot of love to a decade that the director was a huge part of, but Spielberg quelled those fears in the panel. Ready Player One may be nostalgia porn, but at least it won’t be narcissistic nostalgia porn and that’s something!
Aaron Couch: Spielberg noted at the panel that he actually had to pull the throttle back on the number of references to his own work in the movie. He was the ‘80s in a lot of ways, but to be too self-referential risked making him look self-obsessed. He’s very wisely walking the line (but hey, who can resist a DeLorean?).
Couch: I’m one of the few in the Hall H crowd, seemingly, who hasn’t seen Iron Giant. (I know, I know.) But everyone went crazy for the reveal that he will be a big part of the movie. How excited should I be?
Galuppo: EXCITED. Iron Giant was the feature debut of Incredibles director Brad Bird. It was very Spielbergian in that it was about a thing that came from space and befriends a kid with a single mother and then ultimately went back to space. Sound familiar? The thing that I thought was weird about the reveal was that the Iron Giant was from 1999, whereas everything else was obviously and intentionally from the 80s. It would be like here is Marty McFly chilling eating at a sidewalk cafe with Clueless‘ Cher Horowitz, which honestly sounds like a cute couple.
Couch: I’m digging the look of Oasis. It feels like how I imagined it in the book, and this will likely be the rare movie that needs to be seen in 3D. But I do wonder if the stakes of those car chases will feel high enough? Without getting into spoilers for the book, there are life-and-death stakes, but not necessarily from the daring that takes place in Oasis.
Hartwell: Even while it makes sense that those icons and the world that they exist in would be crafted in a computer and presented as CGI creations — a la Tintin and The Polar Express — it will be interesting seeing how satisfying that choice will ultimately be in the finished film. Beautifully controlled and production designed though it clearly is, that creative decision can sometimes reduce the sense of danger and peril especially when intercut with footage shot in the real world.
Ready Player One opens March 30, 2018.