Ready Player One is extremely important to our society as a reflection of our pop culture. What defines the fans of history’s greatest creations is reflected in the players of The OASIS. Inadvertently creating Easter eggs of his own bodies of work, director Steven Spielberg created a master piece about the collection of Easter eggs in a game that will decide the fate of pop culture fans forever. It’s a battle for nostalgia as this social commentary paints social media and advertisement companies as the bad guy.
Built from the profound nature of a gamer and movie buff’s heart, Ready Player One is about the loneliness we may have as an adolescent, or even an adult, and how we overcome this by identifying with the wonders we find in the movies and video games. In the somewhat near future, an energy crisis and an overpopulation has caused the US to now live in “the stacks.” A large colony of mobile homes in jerry-built stack, one on top of another.
As an escape from the now boring reality, a large part of society now enter the OASIS to experience a virtual reality world created by a pop culture loving techie named James Halliday. Halliday dies prior to the start of the film, leaving the ultimate game of hunting down his personal and most precious Easter egg hidden within the OASIS. Whoever finds the egg inherits the OASIS. Because a major add agency would love to get their hands on the rights to the OASIS, ruining it for everyone, it is not only important to win for the money, but to win in order to save the OASIS from evil hands.
With references to his own films, Spielberg truly understands his fans, as well as the fans of other directors, as he not only puts iconic images on display, but allows them to be used in ways that fans have imagined for themselves over the years in place of his own creation’s purpose and how they were used in their original films. Such examples of this “fan use” in our own society can be seen in fan art, fan comic books, TV cartoon cameos, and even the play time we had as a child growing up around the birth of these pop culture icons. These icons are the “tools of the trade” in the OASIS.
Being an adventure story of friends exploring a world they love, the film and original book capture the hearts of viewer and reader imagination. What defines our culture in this film industry is thrown in our faces, in a good way. Although the film has it’s cheesy parts, so did the greatest films in history that it references. Why is this film perfect? Because it has the best of every great film loved by fans across the world. That exploitation of our culture is what defines Ready Player One as the film of the year.
In the end, we all want to reach for the key and take our imaginations to the brink of nostalgia. This film defines what Hollywood is all about. These pop culture references are the reason that most of us got into this industry. That is why Ready Player One should have not only been nominated for best picture, but best director and script too. This is the snuff of the year.
For a full breakdown of every pop culture reference in Ready Player One, check out this list in detail by Den of Geek here. Read the comments at the end of Den of Geek’s article as well, as the readers continue their input for references missed in the article itself.