Enter the virtual reality world of OASIS in "Ready Player One".
Of late, Steven Spielberg has shifted his focus from commercial blockbusters to Oscar-friendly prestige pictures like "Lincoln", "Bridge Of Spies" and most recently, "The Post", but come the last week of March, it will be nice to finally see him back in the blockbuster game that we have grown accustomed to.
1. What is it all about?
Also, believe it or not, "Ready Player One" marks his return to the sci-fi genre since "War Of The Worlds" back in 2005 (that would be 13 years ago!).
While we are anticipating this would-be vintage Spielbergian blockbuster, here is what you should know about the world of "Ready Player One".
A scene from "Ready Player One".
Based on Ernest Cline's 2011 novel of the same name, "Ready Player One" takes place in a dystopian future where the human population spends most of their time escaping from harsh reality by engaging in a VR (virtual reality) game known as OASIS. OASIS, an acronym for "Ontologically Antropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation", functions as a type of MMOSG (massively multiplayer online simulation game) where the gamers (also known as "gunters") are required to put on a visor and a pair of gloves prior to entering the aforementioned virtual universe.
2. What is the purpose of OASIS?
The virtual reality world of OASIS in "Ready Player One".
OASIS is more than just an opportunity for work, education or entertainment purposes. When James Halliday (Mark Rylance), one of co-creators of the OASIS died, he had apparently placed a significant "Easter egg" hidden somewhere in the virtual universe. If any gunters want to track down the aforementioned McGuffin (think Pokemon GO and you'll get the idea), one must engage in a treasure hunt and solve the puzzles at the same time. Whoever wins will be entitled to a huge monetary fortune and will even be able to claim complete ownership of the OASIS.
3. The main player
Tye Sheridan leads the movie as Wade Watts a.k.a. Parzival in "Ready Player One".
At the heart of the virtual-reality world of the OASIS is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), the main protagonist of "Ready Player One". He is an orphan who spends most of his time in his secret hideout somewhere in a junkyard filled with abandoned vehicles. Like most people, he is also part of the gunters of the OASIS where he names his virtual reality character Parzival. Parzival, of course, is named after Percival, one of King Arthur's legendary knights famously engaged in the quest for the Holy Grail. Wade dedicates his time to locate Halliday's mysterious "Easter egg" in order to win the big prize.
4. The High Five
The "High Five" gunters including Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Shoto and Daito seen in the "Ready Player One" poster.
Apart from Wade's avatar as Parzival, he also joins forces with several other friends and becomes part of the "High Five" group on the same quest to win the big prize. The other four High Five gunters include Samantha Cook a.k.a. Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Aech (Lena Waithe), Shoto (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki).
5. The main antagonist
Ben Mendelsohn plays Nolan Sorrento, the ruthless main antagonist in "Ready Player One".
A movie like "Ready Player One" wouldn't be complete without an antagonist and that honour goes to Ben Mendelsohn, who plays the role of Nolan Sorrento. He is the head of Innovative Online Industries (IOI) who will do anything to obtain the ownership of OASIS at all cost.
6. Easter eggs
One of the biggest selling points in "Ready Player One" isn't just about Steven Spielberg's much-awaited comeback to the sci-fi genre and the Hollywood blockbuster in general. Ask any fans of the book or the seasoned moviegoers, and they will most likely anticipate the movie because of its full-on homage to 80s (and beyond) pop-culture references. Here are some of the awesome Easter eggs to look out for:
i) "Back To The Future"
The legendary DeLorean from "Back To The Future" is featured in "Ready Player One".
It comes as no surprise that the famous time-traveling car, DeLorean, is featured prominently in the very first trailer and even the 1980s-inspired official poster. After all, Spielberg himself was responsible for serving as an executive producer of every three "Back To The Future" movies released in 1985, 1989 and 1990.
The Joker and Harley Quinn.
Batman is no doubt one of the most popular comic book characters ever known to mankind (that's definitely not a hyperbole, but a cold hard fact). The Bob Kane-created comic book has inspired a generation of various mediums ranging from the 60s campy TV series led by the late Adam West as the Caped Crusader and big-screen adaptations first popularised by Tim Burton's genre-defining "Batman" in 1989, to Rocksteady's "Batman: Arkham Knight" video game. Apart from Batman himself, we are also treated to Batman's famous adversaries in "Ready Player One" including the Joker and Harley Quinn.
iii) "Child's Play"
Chucky from "Child's Play" goes on a murderous rampage in "Ready Player One".
1980s movies are best known for introducing some of the most iconic characters in the horror genre. One of them, of course, is the murderous doll known as Chucky from the "Child's Play" franchise which made its debut in 1988.
iv) "A Nightmare On Elm Street"
Freddy Krueger from "A Nightmare on Elm Street" in "Ready Player One".
Another 80s horror darling, "A Nightmare On Elm Street" is also featured in the trailer, with Freddy Krueger making an appearance in the trailer as well.
v) "King Kong"
That's King Kong silhouette climbing atop the Empire State Building.
While this famous movie monster doesn't exactly belong in the 80s, it's hard to deny that King Kong is part of the most recognisable icons of Hollywood. It made its debut in the 1933 black-and-white classic and then came subsequent sequels and remakes (1976's and 2005's "King Kong" as well as 2017's "Kong: Skull Island"). In the trailer, the oversized giant gorilla himself makes an appearance in the (virtual) Empire State Building, an obvious nod to the 1933 original.
vi) "Say Anything..."
The classic boombox from "Say Anything...".
The classic boombox from "Say Anything...", the 1989 Cameron Crowe romantic comedy starring the then-young John Cusack also makes an appearance in "Ready Player One" trailer.
Even if you haven't seen the movie before, you might probably recognise the iconic poster where Cusack is seen holding up a boombox.
Kaneda's famous cherry-red motorcycle from "Akira" also makes an appearance.
The iconic Katsuhiro Otomo's 1988 anime "Akira" makes an appearance in the "Ready Player One" trailer in the form of Kaneda's cherry-red motorcycle.
viii) "The Iron Giant"
Iron Giant is all battle-ready in "Ready Player One".
Now, some of you might be wondering: what is the Iron Giant doing in the "Ready Player One" trailers? The beloved robot character, which made its big-screen appearance in the form of an animated feature back in 1999 by Brad Bird, wasn't intended to be featured in "Ready Player One". The reason: Steven Spielberg and his licensing team couldn't secure the rights to feature Ultraman as mentioned in Ernest Cline's novel.
ix) "Knight Rider"
The Knight Rider's KITT red LED bar can be seen in front of the customised DeLorean.
The "Knight Rider" series was no doubt one of the quintessential TV series of the 1980s. But instead of David Hasselhoff's iconic Michael Knight character and the 1982 black Pontiac Firebird of KITT, "Ready Player One" (at least what we saw in the trailers) references the series by including the famous red LED bar in front of the customised version of DeLorean from "Back To The Future".
x) "Overwatch" and "Street Fighter"
Tracer from "Overwatch" and Chun-Li from the "Street Fighter" video games.
Two of the most popular video games of different eras are featured in the "Ready Player One" trailer, which includes Tracer from "Overwatch" and Chun-Li from "Street Fighter".
The aforementioned 10 Easter eggs are only part of the movie, because there are more of them waiting for you to discover when "Ready Player One" debuts towards the end of this month.
Cinema Online, 25 March 2018