After suffering one of the biggest box-office flops of his career with 2016’s The BFG (unjustly, some might say), Steven Spielberg is returning to a genre that has previously served him well — science fiction — with next year’s Ready Player One. An adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, its story concerns a boy named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) in a dystopian future who enters into a virtual-reality world known as OASIS in search of an “Easter egg” that, if found, will allow him to inherit OASIS (and the fortune that entails). Rife with shout-outs to classic video games and movies — including a few made by Spielberg himself — it’s a saga that seems tailor-made for a big-screen blockbuster treatment. And today at San Diego Comic-Con, the director debuted the film’s first teaser (watch it above).
While on stage, Spielberg told the crowd that it took him two and a half years to realize the virtual world of OASIS for Ready Player One, and from the looks of the trailer, that work seems to have paid off handsomely. The CGI landscapes of OASIS look stunning, and are rife with nods to other pop-culture icons, from The Iron Giant (“a major player in this story,” Spielberg says), to Freddy Krueger, to a Back to the Future DeLorean, to figures from The Lord of the Rings, to an ostrich from Joust and a lightcycle from Tron. We’re sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg, too, since Cline’s book is practically overflowing with such references — including several to Spielberg’s own past classics, some of which have been removed from the film version because, as the director said, he had to “avoid acts of self-larceny.” Regardless, Ready Player One will aim to function as both a nostalgia trip for those who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and a cutting-edge special effects extravaganza of a distinctly modern sort.
Starring Sheridan as Watts, Mark Rylance as OASIS creator James Donovan Halliday, and also Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg, and T.J. Miller (who arrived on the Comic-Con stage wearing an E.T.-style red hoodie), Ready Player One will be one of next year’s most eagerly anticipated Hollywood offerings, and should more than ably confirm the promo’s description of Spielberg as “a cinematic game changer.” It blasts into theaters on March 30, 2018 – Easter weekend, for those on the lookout for a release date “Easter egg.”
Watch: The ‘Ready Player One’ Team Talks All Those Amazing Easter Eggs
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