The secret screening on Sunday at the SXSW film festival is none other than the new film from legendary director Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One! While many folks had already guessed that the Ernest Cline adaptation would be premiering at SXSW (it opens in theaters in a few weeks, has a major presence at SXSW already, and Cline is an Austin, Texas native), this is still an exciting announcement because it means we’ll be getting the first reactions to the highly anticipated film in a matter of hours.
Based on the novel of the same name, Ready Player One follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an unlikely hero in the virtual world of the OASIS where he and anyone else can be whomever they want, but must protect their online lives from the evil Innovative Online Industries (IOI) company that wants to control the OASIS and monetize it. The crux of the story involves the hunt for hidden Easter Eggs inside the OASIS, which lead Wade and his friends down a path chock-full of pop culture references.
The project marked a curious choice for Spielberg, but a welcome return to blockbuster territory for one of the best directors who’s ever lived. Indeed, if you count The Adventures of Tintin and The BFG as family films, Ready Player One is Spielberg’s first pure blockbuster since 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He’s utilizing the same performance-capture technology from Tintin to bring the world of the OASIS to life, and indeed more than half of Ready Player One takes place in this virtual world and is thus entirely digital.
While some have been skeptical or cynical about Ready Player One, I remain unabashedly enthused to see this thing for one main reason: It’s a brand new film from Steven Spielberg. This guy’s talent is unparalleled, and while some of his films are better than others, he’s simply unmatched when it comes to framing and blocking, and when Spielberg is firing on all cylinders, he can’t be beat. Even if something like The BFG doesn’t look like your thing, I don’t understand simply skipping the chance to see a new Spielberg movie in theaters.
Will Ready Player One be any good? We’ll get our first read on the film Sunday, March 11th as the film will have its world premiere at SXSW starting at 9:30pm CST. Be sure to check back on Collider after for our roundup of those first reactions. Ready Player One opens in theaters on March 29th.