During the recent San Diego Comic-Con, a sense of nostalgia was more than just noticeable. From Stranger Things to Blade Runner 2049, if the Goonies had turned up in a DeLorean no one would have blinked twice.

The cherry on this proverbial cake was the first trailer for Steven Spielberg’s next stab at the sci-fi genre: Ready Player One, the adaptation of Ernest Cline’s ode to 80s pop culture.

Set in 2045 – five years after the death of the multibillionaire James Halliday (Mark Rylance) – the story follows Wade (Tye Sheridan), an impoverished self-proclaimed video game obsessive and fanboy of all things 80s, as he tries to crack an enigmatic riddle left by Halliday.

“Just like the novel, this snippet is jam-packed with cultural references”

Whoever solves this prodigious scavenger hunt will inherit not only his near-infinite wealth, but more importantly, the Oasis – Halliday’s virtual reality in which humanity spends most of their time. Unfortunately, the avaricious corporation Innovative Online Industries (IOI) are hot on Wade’s trail. Everything’s to play for in this journey through the limitless universe of the Oasis.

There are very few times I have finished watching a trailer, only to watch it again. And again. And then again. But the infectious excitement of Ready Player One called for such overindulgence.

“One of my favourite aspects of the trailer … was Alan Silvestri’s gloriously epic score”

Just like the novel, this snippet is jam-packed with cultural references, some of the more obvious ones including the Iron Giant from the eponymous film (a slightly odd inclusion considering its 1999 release date, but we’ll let that slide) and the iconic red motorbike from the 1988 Japanese animated classic, Akira.

However, one of my favourite aspects of the trailer, which genuinely sent chills down my spine, was Alan Silvestri’s gloriously epic score. Alluding to the song ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (highlighting the obvious parallels between Halliday and Wonka), Silvestri’s work magnificently complements the visually rich scenes that the trailer displays.

Tye Sheridan on the Ready Player One panel at San Diego Comic Con.

Although recent sci-fi / fantasy films have flopped (such as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Ghost in the Shell), hopefully the combined prospects of Steven Spielberg, the substantial source material (the novel was great fun, though I did feel the ending was a tad rushed) and a great cast (including T. J. Miller and Simon Pegg) will push Ready Player One to success.

Come 30th March 2018, we’ll find out.

Sarah Quraishi

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Featured image courtesy of ‘Gage Skidmore’ via Flickr.

Article image courtesy of ‘Gage Skidmore’ via Flickr.

Image use licence here.

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