Steven Spielberg remains one of our greatest living filmmakers. No matter how many thinkpieces you see after each new film of his comes out about how he’s “lost his touch” or some other white nonsense, nothing has changed the fact that this is still the man who directed Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Munich, and countless other masterpieces (that includes last year’s unfairly bemoaned The BFG.) And in the next couple months, we’re not just getting The Papers, a 70’s-set drama about the true story of the Pentagon Papers starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, but we’re also getting Ready Player One, a true-blue blockbuster based on a divisive book that has been praised and despised for what often comes down to the same reason: it being not much more than a navel-gazing look at nostalgia.
Our first look at footage from the film debuted today at the Warner Brothers panel during the San Diego Comic-Con, and it’s a doozy.
Instead of going frame by frame and pointing out every pop-culture reference present in the footage, I’m just going to point out that aesthetically it feels like Spielberg’s doing something similar to what he did in his excellent Minority Report with a fairly washed-out, grey color palette and slightly-used technology, but adding these huge, blaring bursts of color that help set the virtual world of the Oasis apart from the dystopian real world.
There’s a lot of cynicism surrounding this film, a lot of it being centered around why Steven Spielberg would choose to direct a film version of a novel that spends a good chunk of its story praising properties that he had a hand in. However, with the news that Spielberg stripped all references to films he had a hand in (except Back to the Future) from the script, I have a feeling that this will turn out more on the Jaws end of the spectrum – taking a novel that is by all accounts mediocre and making it into something special.
Ready Player One makes its way into theaters on March 30, 2018.