Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Earns $3.8M in Previews

Ready Player One opens in NZ cinemas on March 29

Ready Player One is a meta smorgasbord sure to thrill fans.

"Ready Player One" (Warner Bros) - Catholic News Service classification, A-III - adults. And with this in mind, it might just be that the differences between the book and the movie are what got Cline's creative juices flowing. People are either rich beyond the dreams of Croesus, or existing in a polluted miasma of chronic underemployment and spiritual redundancy.

Watts' digitized persona is a platinum-haired cool kid who goes by the online handle Parzival. The ever-earnest Tye Sheridan plays Wade Watts, who escapes the realities over an over-populated 2045 by playing the popular virtual reality game the OASIS (nothing to do with Noel or Liam). It is also an 80s pop culture nerd's wet dream.

Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox. Players from around the world meet, form clans and make friends or enemies of each other. There are also Beetlejuice, Alien and Buckaroo Banzainods, among many others. The downside is the real world ends up looking drab and lifeless.

The film is about the quest for such an "easter egg", which, for the unfamiliar, is an inside joke, hidden message, or secret feature created by the designer of a work.

The original Crash Bandicoot has never looked so good but it plays the same for better and worse
SUPPLIED The original Crash Bandicoot has never looked so good but it plays the same for better and worse

Wade is a serious egg-hunter ("Gunter").

With so much to offer this movie is a fun, feel good, action film with some great references and an awesome soundtrack. Retro games aren't left out with Joust, Battletoads and more. Now comes the big-screen version of "Ready Player One", a slick and frenetic sci-fi blockbuster that retrofits Cline's book with the more compelling story and characters it needed.

Spielberg makes an absolute pig of himself here. Best Picture, Best Director (for Spielberg), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Cline and Penn) are long shots, but Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects certainly are on the table. In the course of the drearily familiar computer-generated action, we will encounter a T-Rex, a Mechagodzilla, an Iron Giant, a King Kong and action reminiscent of everything from "Tron" to "Lord of the Rings". With that said, any film adaptation of Ready Player One would need access to this wealth of pop-culture if it was going to do the book any justice.

Spielberg's 1975 breakthrough horror film Jaws suffered from a budget blowout, weather delays, ocean shoots and glitches with mechanical sharks and 1992's World War II epic Saving Private Ryan had its own issues, but Ready Player One delved deep into the latest developments in motion capture and computer animation. A book so dense with pop-culture references and "un-film-able" scenes that many thought it could never be properly made into a movie. Then again, I know that at least half of the game references were over my head, and I still enjoyed every second of them. Maybe Tron, The Last Star Fighter, The Lego Movie and even The Matrix have spun a similar yarn. This is the most fun that any film has been so far in 2018.

To quote one of Spielberg's best-known characters: Ouch. A sequence in "Ready Player One" is set in the Overlook Hotel of Kubrick's "The Shining", where Aech will encounter those little twin girls and "a insane naked zombie lady".

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