Ready for Another Trailer

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While I was watching YouTube this morning I noticed a thumbnail of Tracer and Chun Li leading a pop culture army into battle. My first thought was “this must be some new fan-made crossover thing”. I mouse over it and my jaw drops. It was the new trailer for Ready Player One. I had almost forgotten it came out the day before. Before leaving to work, I already managed to watch it three times. I have even debated going over some parts frame by frame when I get home. Why am I so hyped over a trailer you ask? Let me try to explain.

A few years ago, I started to take an interest in Virtual Reality. Even before the first major headsets hit the market people were bringing up the book Ready Player One. It kept coming up in interview after interview. It was described as Willy Wonka meets the Matrix and an inspiration to people working in the field. Fast forward to Comic-Con this year and a teaser was released for the movie adaptation. It showed a dystopian future so bad that most people were trying to escape it via VR. It was also loaded with pop culture references. Picture movies like Wreck-It Ralph and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Now picture a VR world filled with your favorite pop culture icons. In this world, you could be racing a Delorean in a massive multiplayer death race against vehicles like Kaneda’s bike from Akira and the van from A-Team. The next minute you could be dancing in a club with Harley Quinn and Deathstroke. After seeing all of this, I finally had to read the book.

Ready Player One is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a must-read for anyone who grew up on the internet. By that, I mean people who use the internet as the main form of entertainment. The book is about Wade Watt who is a teen growing up in a world devastated by war and an energy crisis. The poor live in makeshift housing like the ‘stacks’ Wade lives in. The stacks are trailer homes that are literally stacked on each other to save space. To avoid the harsh reality that is the real world most people spend their time in the OASIS. The OASIS is a VR universe that is like the internet. You can do everything from work, play, and attend school in the OASIS. It works kind of like a free to play game and anyone can access it. You can earn money, level up, own virtual property and do almost anything you can do in real life.

When the creator of the OASIS James Halliday dies he decided to leave his fortune and control of the OASIS to whoever can find his Easter egg. To help players find it he left hints all over the OASIS. The catch is that Halliday was obsessed with 1980s pop culture and you must be a subject matter expert follow the clues. The world’s biggest internet company Innovative Online Industries sees this as an opportunity to take over the OASIS and pours a ton of resources into finding the egg. Despite this Wade is the first one to find the first clue and it changes his life forever.

I can go on and on about the book but this post is about the trailer. In the trailer, it appears the core story is kept intact. There are definitely going to be changes and some fans are already taking up arms. For one it looks like more of the movie will take place in the real world. It is also clear that some of the pop culture references are being swapped out for others. There are also a number of scenes in the trailer that cannot be placed in the book. I am not too worried but I do tend to be open to different adaptations and interpretations. The real world scenes are the most jarring. They hint at the biggest changes and they are a little troubling. As for the pop culture references, they seem reasonable. The book mostly focuses on the 1980s but I find it hard to believe characters like Tracer and other modern characters would not find their way to the OASIS. After all, not everyone is obsessed with finding Holliday’s egg and many gave up on it. Why wouldn’t we see other big internet icons Wade did not personal monolog about? That said most of the hard to place scenes still seem to fit the idea of a living breathing internet. It is worth noting that the book’s writer Ernest Cline helped to write the movie’s script.
One person commented on YouTube that if the movie is half as good as the book it will be worth it. I have to agree. The movie must nail two core factors. First are the pop culture references. It needs to be a who’s who of nerdom. Not every reference needs to be recreated from the book but the movie has to establish how important pop culture is to the internet. The second and more important factor os the feeling escapism created by the internet. The book frequently blurs the line between real and virtual. One of Watt’s biggest struggles is having nothing in the real world but everything in the OASIS. The line between the OASIS and the modern day internet is also surreal. It is not hard to picture the events on the book happening in real life over the internet. It is this connection that made me love the book. If the movie can nail this, it will be worth the price of admission. Just the possibility of seeing this on the big screen is what has me hyped!

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