Steven Spielberg is changing the game once more with Ready Player One, in cinemas 30th March. Find out more about the mind blowing world behind the film and test yourself with all the pop culture references you can spot...
Adapted from Ernest Cline’s phenomenally successful sci-fi novel, the film is helmed by Steven Spielberg, the visionary director behind some of the greatest movies ever made including Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.Spielberg’s films – especially his more fantastical movies – have always been game changers and Ready Player One is no exception
Set in a dystopian America, 27 years from now, the action is split between the slums of Columbus, Ohio and a massive online universe known as the OASIS. In bringing this vast virtual reality to life, Spielberg, as he’s done so many times before, has shattered the boundaries of what’s possible on screen. Trust us, the OASIS is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. As our hero Wade Watts puts it in the film: “It’s a place where the limits of reality are your own imagination.”
The Pop Culture Club
It’s not only the revolutionary effects (and they are revolutionary) that have fans breathlessly anticipating this film, but also he abundance of 1980s pop culture references that are essential to the plot.
If we thought Steven Spielberg was the perfect choice of director before, then we’re even more certain now. After all, thanks to the likes of the Indiana Jones series, The Colour Purple and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (which he directed), The Goonies and Poltergeist (which he helped write) and Gremlins (which he executive produced), it’s a decade Spielberg pretty much defined.
Although there aren’t any direct Spielberg references in the Ready Player One movie (the director decided to take his work out of the equation) almost everything else you can think of from the era is there.
Just in case you haven’t read Cline’s superb novel, the Ready Player One storyline sees OASIS creator James Halliday dying and leaving behind a challenge: somewhere inside his enormous virtual creation is a hidden object – an Easter Egg.
Whoever finds it will inherit half a trillion dollars and complete control of the OASIS. But there’s a catch. Locating the ‘Egg’ is only possible if you know your 1980s pop culture – the 1980s are Halliday’s favourite decade.
So do you think you'd be able to take control of the OASIS? Test yourself and see if you can guess all the pop culture references from the trailer!
Wade Watts’ OASIS avatar Parzival drives a DeLorean. This gull-wing-door supercar played a starring role in the 1985 movie, 'Back to the Future' (which Spielberg also had a hand in), where it doubles as a plutonium-powered time machine.
The Iron Giant
Based on a 1968's science fiction novel, The Iron Giant gained a new popular life when Faber and Faber published a new edition in 1985 with illustrations by Andrew Davidson. The Iron Giant is considered one of the best work of imagination for children.
Parzival holds aloft a boom box to rally the crowd. He likely got the idea from John Cusack, who pulled exactly the same move in the 1989 Cameron Crowe rom-com, 'Say Anything... ' Entertainment Weekly ranked 'Say Anything... 'as the greatest modern movie romance, and it was ranked number 11 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 best high-school movies.
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that really is child-slaying dream killer Freddy Krueger from 1984’s 'A Nightmare On Elm Street'. And is that Duke Nukem from the 1990s videogame series in the background? Yes we believe it is!
In a blink and you’ll miss him appearance, Chucky – the killer doll from the 1988 horror movie, 'Child’s Play' – is up to his old tricks. He puts paid to a Sixer – a foot soldier of Nolan Sorrento, the film’s main antagonist.
During one of Ready Player One’s epic races, the words Delta City can be seen on the side of some recognisable dilapidated buildings. This is a nod to the classic 1989 actioner 'Robocop' in which an evil mega-corporation plans to replace Detroit with an expensive utopia called, you guessed it, Delta City.
Four famous cars
Look closely at the top left of this picture, and you’ll see the iconic A-Team van from the 1983-1987 TV series of the same name. The more eagle-eyed will also spot the Batmobile from the Adam West era, Mad Max’s Interceptor and Christine, the killer car from the Stephen King novel/film.