Warner Bros. released a new trailer today for Ready Player One, the Steven Spielberg-directed virtual reality epic based on the novel of the same name. The new trailer is more story-oriented than the action-filled teaser we saw at Comic-Con, but it’s still, like, totally packed with 1980s nostalgia and pop culture references in nearly every frame.
At an event in Austin, author Ernest Cline took to Facebook Live to answer questions about his dystopian vision. According to the sci-fi site io9, he related that escapism was one of the central themes of the novel. “Striking a balance between tending to the real world and the needs of the real world but also art and escapism as an essential part of life,” Cline said.
As to the trailer itself, it reveals some more details about protagonist (and walking ’80s encyclopedia) Wade Watts and his quest to find three mysterious Easter eggs hidden in a vast virtual reality massive multiplayer game called OASIS. The game’s creator, James Halliday, has died and whoever finds the buried treasure will inherit a huge fortune, as well as the entire virtual world.
The trailer is one that will be dissected frame-by-frame by ardent fans to find every last pop culture and video game nod. Just on a first viewing, you can catch references to Street Fighter, Overwatch, Battletoads, a DeLorean, a light cycle, King Kong, and dozens more, with Van Halen’s Jump punctuating the whole thing. There’s even a brief Say Anything boombox cameo.
Spielberg directed the movie and stayed true to the obsessive ’80s nostalgia from the novel, although he did drop a few things from the book. In an interview with Collider from 2016, he said he tried to avoid referencing any of his own films. “I’ve cut most of my movies out of [Ernest Cline’s] book,” he said.”Except for the DeLorean and a couple of other things that I had something to do with.”
The movie stars Ty Sheridan as Watts, along with Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T. J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance. It will be released on March 18, 2018, with several unique VR experiences planned around the film’s premiere.