After no shortage of hype, Warner Bros. is finally ready to show what Steven Spielberg’s take on Ready Player One is all about. The studio has released the first trailer for the adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel, and it’s clear that the flick is playing up not just the book’s disjunction between a dystopic real world and VR, but the endless references to pop culture of decades gone by. Some of them are patently obvious in the clip — you’ll see a famous time-traveling car and a certain giant robot — but some are of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it variety. Take Duke Nukem in the epic battle above, for example.
The preview is a whirlwind tour that focuses more on the spectacle of the OASIS’ virtual world than the story, which isn’t surprising when the movie isn’t slated to premiere until March 2018. It’s big on slam-bang action scenes (such as a gigantic virtual race) more than anything else. As such, we have some unanswered questions: how closely does it hew to the tale of Wade Watts and his quest to win James Halliday’s final game? How much will it lean on spectacle versus tackling the broader concepts of the novel? It could take months before we have a better sense of that, but it’s apparent that the visual style is at least on point — it’s easy to see why people would flock to the spectacle of the OASIS given a real world devoid of adventure.