Later this month the world will be treated to the latest directorial extravaganza of legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg from his Amblin Productions and Warner Bros. Pictures. This is “Ready Player One”, a sci-fi action movie based on a bestselling 2011 novel by Ernest Cline, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The popularity of the book and the hype being generated for this film is due to the story’s near-overloaded pool of various pop culture references centered on geek genres like videogames, anime and old films. One can see the results for themselves with the newly-released promotional posters for the upcoming film.
The primary appeal of “Ready Player One” was all the licensed properties that make an appearance in the narrative. Set in a near future where real life feels ground to a halt, the film tells the story of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan from “X-Men: Apocalypse”), one of countless people who play the massive multiplayer online VR game OASIS, where numerous properties like “Back to the Future”, “Overwatch” and “Gundam” collide. WB-Amblin decided to have their posters for the movie focus on some of these franchise shout-outs, and the results have ranged from cool to cringe-worthy, but all are uniformly weird.
Esquire has featured all 11 of these “Ready Player One” posters that parody the franchise that show up within. They seem to ape samples from cult classic 80s films like “The Goonies”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Labyrinth”, “Risky Business”, “Back to the Future”, and the original “Blade Runner” for starters. There are also some fairly recent additions like “The Iron Giant” and even “The Matrix”. All these mentioned films have some element or two featured in “Ready Player One”: a car race in the OASIS has the DeLorean time machine while a later battle sequence has the titular Iron Giant walking around.
Reaction to the posters have been split between those closer to the geek fandom, and those who think the material is just shameless pandering. CNet notes the negative opinions are usually from people who saw the movies being referenced as children or teenagers, but have since considered them corny from a fully adult viewpoint. The composition of the “Ready Player One” posters also leaves much to be desired, with critics deriding the artwork as being comparable to first-time Photoshop users. Gamer geeks are just fine with all of it, if the commentary on sites like GameSpot is any indication.
Alongside Sheridan, “Ready Player One” also stars Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T. J. Miller, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance. Originally slated to premiere close to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” last September, it will now premiere this coming March 29.
Photo courtesy of the Daily Dot