The ‘Ready Player One’ novel was jam-packed with pop culture references, with the film’s latest trailer offering a variety of different nods to icons of the ’80s and ’90s accordingly. USA TODAY
Director Steven Spielberg traveled to the South by Southwest Film Festival on Sunday to unveil the world premiere of his upcoming film, Ready Player One.
While there were, ironically, some technical difficulties with the projection leading to delays, the reviews for Spielberg’s look into a virtual reality-filled future, based on Ernest Cline’s sci-fi novel, were positive.
Ready Player One, starring Tye Sheriden and Olivia Cooke as players in a giant virtual reality adventure known as “The Oasis,” is filled with 1980s-ish pop culture references, dating back to the game’s developer Halliday’s (Mark Rylance) obsession with his childhood past.
Here’s what the critics were saying about Ready Player One:
Variety critic Owen Gleiberman called it a “dizzyingly propulsive virtual-reality fanboy geek-out.”
“Ready Player One tells a breathless and relatively coherent story — essentially, the future of civilization is riding on the outcome of a video game — but the movie, first and foremost, is a coruscating explosion of pop-culture eye candy.”
Movie site Indie-Wire referred to the film as an “astonishing sci-fi spectacle.”
“Never, ever underestimate Steven Spielberg. That’s the biggest takeaway from Ready Player One, an immersive sci-fi spectacle about a future overrun by virtual reality gaming, and the world’s most famous commercial director has transformed it into a mesmerizing blockbuster steeped in callbacks to the best of them. It runs too long and drags a bunch in its final third, but make no mistake: This is Spielberg’s biggest crowdpleaser in years.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore called it “a rollicking adventure through worlds both bleak and fantastic.”
“Gamers are far from the only ones who will respond to this virtual-world-set picture, which strikes an ideal balance between live action and CGI,” DeFore writes.
The Verge’s Tasha Robinson writes that “Ernest Cline’s fast-moving novel was a treasure trove for pop-culture junkies, but the endless references work better on the screen.”
“The film improves significantly on the book by prioritizing the story over the signifiers. The hardcore pop-culture crowd that is this movie’s ultimate intended audience will have plenty to pore over and pick apart in this film.”
The British newspaper The Guardian was one of the few detractors.
Monica Castillo wrote that the “flashy adaptation of the book is full of pop culture references and striking visuals” but decried “a thin plot and shallow characters.”
“Those who come away cheering for Ready Player One will likely have enjoyed the film’s many references, the story’s breakneck speed and playful visual design. Others may want to unplug from the paint-by-number characters and shallow plot.”