For five overall years of my life, I had the distinction and pleasure of having twice worked at Barnes & Noble. (On a side note, it’s so sad that many longtime Barnes & Noble employees suddenly couldn’t say the same thing yesterday. Shame on you, BN.) The thing I loved most about working there, the reason I applied there in the first place, was being surrounded and constantly exposed to books I never would have known about otherwise. For a lot of my favorite books, like I Love You, Beth Cooper and the Artemis Fowl series, or authors like Brandon Sanderson and Chuck Klosterman, I only became aware of them because they were on display somewhere in the store. Such was the case with my current favorite book, as it was placed on a table marked for required high school reading. Its selection for that table stuck out to me, as it seemed a lot more modern than some of its contemporaries like To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and 1984, to name a few. I was also drawn in by the review quotes the novel had on its cover, calling it “Willy Wonka meets The Matrix” and “the grown-up’s Harry Potter.” (Which, by the way, as someone who first read the Harry Potter series at age 29, I take offense to.)
This novel, of course, was called Ready Player One, and I read the entire thing over the course of two days. Written by Ernest Cline, the book is a thrilling and engaging adventure that also manages to be a commentary on our economic state and our current obsession with the digital self (I can see now why it would be popular for high school discussion), all while being wrapped in what is essentially a love letter to ’80s and ’90s pop culture. The novel is littered with references, and I ate them all up–even the ones I didn’t know. I’m certainly not looking to spoil anything here in this post–if you haven’t read the book, definitely pick it up at some point. However, at this point in time, I recommend doing so after the release of the film adaptation, since the film will most likely not follow very closely to the novel.
You see, as I read the book and enjoyed every page, a thought also ran through my mind: There is no way this book will be made into a proper movie. It had nothing to do with the story itself, which is certainly cinema-worthy. But it heavily incorporated characters, music, movies, and more that became integral to the story–all of which are owned by many different companies and studios. And I knew that there was no way that all of these different entities would give permission for all of these things to appear together in one film, at least not without costing the production billions of dollars. Of course, once I finished the book back in 2014, I immediately looked it up and saw that movie rights had been optioned, and a film was in the very early stages of development. That was all well and good, and I was still a bit curious, but at that point, I just couldn’t get behind the idea of what I thought would be a severely watered-down version of the story I loved.
I felt that way for the good portion of a year, until early 2015 when the news broke that Steven Spielberg had signed on to produce and direct the film. With that one piece of news, my thoughts about the movie were now transformed into, “Okay! I am IN!” Spielberg is arguably the most respected and beloved director of our generation, and no matter what the changes, I believed the film would be the best it could be in his hand. With him producing, I knew that a good amount of companies might lend their characters to the film. And with him directing, I certainly hoped that he would catch the right balance of visuals between the real world and the digital world of the book known as the OASIS. Later that year, the released date was set for December 2017, which seemed SO far away. Then because of The Last Jedi, it was pushed back to March 2018, which was even further!! So all I could do was wait.
Fast forward to today, and now we are just a little over a month away from the release of Ready Player One. The first teaser gave us a glimpse of the OASIS, which I was surprised to see was actually quite stunning. Then the official trailer ramped it up and introduced us to the story. And now today, Warner Bros. has unveiled the official poster:
The poster is a throwback to the similar hand-drawn style of iconic ’80s posters like Blade Runner, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Back to the Future. In fact, the latter of those is certainly reflected not only with the appearance of the time-traveling DeLorean, but also in the identical pose of both main character Wade Watts and his OASIS avatar Parzival. In addition to the other characters of the film, the art also displays iconic creations the Iron Giant and the original Gundam model. I’m tickled pink with the inclusion of the Bigfoot monster truck, which I don’t believe was part of the book, but I’m more than happy to see here. But more than anything else, I’m completely flipping out over the inclusion of what appears to be Spike Spiegel’s spaceship, the Swordfish II, from Cowboy Bebop, my all-time favorite anime.
This entire sheet is a beautiful creation. Admittedly, when I see the words “A Steven Spielberg Film” above the title, it’s hard not to think that this is just some fan-created artwork. But alas, not only is it very real, but unlike myself four years ago, I am very excited at the prospect of this movie, and I’m hoping it will be just as gorgeous as this poster.
Are you also excited for this movie? Have you read the novel? Will the film stray too far from the book for you to enjoy it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!