READY PLAYER ONE
Steven Spielberg’s return to sci-fi will bend your mind
Steven Spielberg returns with a new film crammed with ’80s pop-culture references. Is he a good choice? Would he know anything about that?
DISCOUNTING THAT FLYING saucer in Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Ready Player One is Steven Spielberg’s first dip into his beloved sci-fi genre since 2005’s War Of The Worlds. An adaptation of Ernie Cline’s 2011 bestseller, it sets his formidable world-building powers to work in a dystopian 2044 where big cyber is all-powerful. There, Tye Sheridan’s gamer, Wade Watts, teams up with his crush, Olivia Cooke’s whip-smart blogger Samantha Evelyn Cook, to find a life-changing Easter egg within virtual reality simulator, the OASIS. For Watts, it’s love at first Macguffin.
Tantalisingly, Spielberg is presiding over a quest filled with ’80s Easter eggs referencing everything from Stephen King to Wargames. “It felt like pure adventure,” says Cooke of the eye-popping adaptation. “It was Willy Wonka, it was Indiana Jones.” Working with Spielberg conjured similar awe for the Me And Earl And
The Dying Girl star. “When you’re a kid wanting to be an actor, the idea of working with [him] sounds absurd. It was surreal.”
Somewhere amid the big-budget dazzle of a Spielberg blockbuster is a thought-provoking tale of technology run amok. “[It’s] scarily close to a world we’re entering,” notes Cooke of a setting stricken by an energy crisis and avaricious tech CEOS. The results should mix the cerebral with the spectacular — after all, this is one cautionary tale that comes with escapism built in.