On 30th March 2018, hopefully, legendary director Steven Spielberg will release Ready Player One, based on the best selling and much-beloved novel of the same name by author Ernest Cline.
For those who don’t know, Ready Player One follows Wade Watts aka Parzival (Tye Sheridan) in a futuristic and virtual reality addicted world, as he tries to uncover a lucrative easter egg hidden in the virtual Oasis system. Along the way, Wade crosses paths with friendly and conflicting gamers and a whole lot of pop-culture references.
Whilst Spielberg will undoubtedly release something special with Ready Player One, has the most famous director ever done anything less, it is important to note that the book was slightly divisive. For instance, Ready Player One hit some fans in just the sweet spot as it provided fond memories of a long-forgotten childhood packed with an oddly beautiful romantic sub-plot whilst providing important hints to humanity’s future. However, for others Ready Player One relied too heavily on the aforementioned references and never gave way to the characters instead falling victim to Cline’s own memories.
Now, here’s the thing; those who were disappointed with Cline’s novel, but delighted with the concept, should seek solace in the notion that Spielberg’s feature will be far slimmer. Firstly, you simply cannot feature the level of references the book portrays in a 2-hour feature film. Secondly, you can’t grab all the rights to the various games, characters and films to even incorporate into the film. And thirdly, Spielberg is a storyteller; he will put the central character of Wade Watts front and centre and let the virtual world build itself.
Ready Player One is also a return to what made Spielberg films so goddamn great. Anyone who has read Ready Player One knows that Cline wrote it like a classic kids action and adventure directed by Spielberg. It feels like Gremlins, E.T, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and The Goonies (which Spielberg produced) all rolled into one. If there was one man with the childish yet adult sensibilities to handle this property then it had to be Steven Spielberg.
And whilst I’ve spent a good while rambling on about the quality and stature of Spielberg, which no one can deny, we cannot forget the surrounding quality of Ready Player One.
Tye Sheridan is one of the best up and coming stars right now. Whilst he was wasted as Cyclops in the horribly boring X-Men: Apocalypse, it is easy to see why he caught Spielberg’s seasoned eyes. He’s worked for people like Terrence Malick, Jeff Nichols in Mud, he featured in one of Nic Cage’s good films in Joe, turned in a scene-stealing performance in The Stanford Experiment, had fun in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and will next be seen in The Yellow Birds, based on another best selling novel. And whilst I pictured a softer looking Wade Watts when I ingested Ready Player One, Tye Sheridan must have something special if Spielberg is casting him in a potential franchise-starter.
Alongside Sheridan you will find one of the most sought after rising female stars, Olivia Cooke. Cooke astounded critics and audiences alike with her emotional and heart-warming performance in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and I understand she is equally great in The Bates Motel. She will be playing Art3mis in Ready Player One, a fellow gamer and eventual love interest for Wade Watts. She has the look, the beauty and the independence to play Art3mis and may just steal the show from Tye Sheridan.
And that’s just the leading duo. Let’s not forget that Spielberg has called in people like Mark Rylance, who seems to be Spielberg’s new go-to guy, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg and the great and honourable T.J. Miller – Now that is one hell of a cast and it’s only going to get better and better.
When I say that Spielberg’s Ready Player One is going to be something special, I think it’s going to a Goonies or a Back to the Future for a new generation. It is going to be big, fun, emotional, visually stunning and signature classic Spielberg and we should all look forward to it.