I finished the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline last week. This is a science fiction / 80s pop culture novel that is currently in post-production, on it’s way to being a feature film. The film is/was directed by Mr. Steven Spielberg and will be a major Warner Brothers release in 2018. This will be a Summer or Christmas blockbuster, with studios praying it does well so they can recoup the millions invested. Studios usually only make a few big money pictures a year. Movies that are over the $100 million dollar mark. The rest are “low budget” cash grabs, like horror movies involving Facebook or all the Nic Cage movies that you’ve seen pop up recently but can dig deep enough to watch. They also shoot for the low budget indie pieces and hope award season will feast upon and turn their 8 million into 85 million.
Ready Player One will be a film that’s over the $100 mil mark. I don’t have the exact details on the films budget but after reading the book and knowing that Spielberg and his crew are making the movie, it has to be. Ready Player One is loaded with some of the most creative and toe tickling visuals I’ve imagined. Yes, I said toe tickling. If you are a fan of 80s pop culture and media you’ve got to check out this story. Without giving away any spoilers I want to tell you a little about the basic story and some visuals that I’m thirsty to see on the big screen.
Ready Player One takes place in the future. The year is 2044 and the world has gone to hell. Society is crumbling more and more everyday and it’s simply a time that’s not fun to live. An escape for millions across the globe is a video game called the OASIS. The OASIS is an MMO game which means it’s a game you can play with millions of other people simultaneously. This game has become a new life for the majority of the worlds populous who want to escape the harsh realities on planet earth. The OASIS is 2nd Life on steroids.
The story begins when the creator of the OASIS, a Bill Gates meets Mark Zuckerberg type, releases a video to the world following his death. He is going to give his multi billion dollar fortune and control of his company that created the OASIS, to the person that can find a hidden Easter Egg inside his virtual world. He gives just one clue to get the multi layered scavenger hunt, involving 3 keys, started. After years of the world not making any progress in the hunt, the story begins when our protagonist Parzival finds the first key and is now the most common household name in the world.
James Halliday is the creator of the OASIS in the story. He was an 80s pop culture fanatic. This leads to multiple references in the book to classic 80s movies, television shows, music and video games. It’s going to be exciting to see how Spielberg recreates these moments that visually takes us in one instance, to a planet called the Goondocks where you can be in the movie The Goonies. This along with loads of other visuals that I don’t want to give away, are jam packed in this book. If you were a child of the 80s then it’s a must you check this out.
With all that being said, I am a little nervous about the outcome. I know Spielberg won’t be able to create every visual and 80s throwback in the story, that’s impossible. I just hope the moments he chooses to showcase are done well. This book instantly paints a picture in your head, and I feel like it’s a Spielbergian picture. He definitely has experience creating a world like the one I’ve imagined while reading. I just hope his portrayal exceeds my imagination.
Ready Player One doesn’t have that dark scifi tone. The film does lay the foundation of a grim existence but not to the point where it would require a hardcore science fiction director like a Neill Blomkamp. It has more of a child’s idea of a bleak future. I don’t want to say safe, but that’s kind of what I’m getting at. For instance, I’ve always compared the jungles of Hawaii, especially the island of Kauai’s jungle areas as “Disneyland of the Jungle” when describing to people. This is because I don’t think there are any other jungles, with the look of what you picture when closing your eyes and thinking of a jungle, that are as safe as Hawaii’s. Hawaii has no predators. Well, besides some angry pigs from time to time or maybe a rogue chicken. No giant deadly spiders, no snakes, no crocodiles, no piranhas and not really much else to worry about. If you want an amazing jungle experience that’s the place to be! No worries brah. Anyway…
This is how I picture the look of Ready Player One, especially the real world in the movie. A “Disneyland of Dystopia.” Spielberg is the guy to bring that to life. I just hope he can add his legendary touch to make it stand out. I don’t want this film to lump in with other teen adventure movies like Maze Runner and Enders Game. It’s far better than that.
My other concern, which may be sac-religious due to his resume and career in the industry, is using Janusz Kaminski to shoot the film. Trust me he is a master of his craft and I love the look of Saving Private Ryan, his best work in my opinion. But, I can’t tell you how much I hate when he blows out scenes and washes the actors with a fog of white light. I hate that look so much. He does it in Minority Report, A.I. and a few more. I’m not sure if that’s his signature on films but I don’t like it. It also doesn’t suit the mood of Ready Player One. Ready Player One should have bright popping colors with a look like Back to the Future 2 when Marty goes to the future. Low contrast, evenly lit and soft shadows. If he goes with the skip bleach look and blows out the film final print he may ruin it… For me at least.
If you’re looking for something new to read or listen via Audiobook check out Ready Player One. It’s a cool story of adventure, love and friendship. It’s filled with loads of 80s nostalgia and gives us a grim look at what the future of our planet could actually be like. PB Approved.