Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One booted up in Austin, Texas,
late Sunday night for its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival, sending critics, film journalists, and attendees such as Robert Rodriguez on a virtual reality adventure that most thoroughly enjoyed.
For Variety, Owen Gleiberman called Spielberg’s latest a “dizzyingly propulsive virtual-reality fanboy geek-out.”
Based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 book of the same name, Ready Player One imagines the year 2045, where citizens of the world battle extreme poverty conditions and most escape to a virtual reality playground called OASIS, co-created by a billionaire tech genius-cum-’80s kid named James Halliday (Mark Rylance). After Halliday dies and leaves a trail of clues for users to find the keys to his company — and thus his fortune — the film’s hero, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphan who uses the name Parzival inside the OASIS, goes on a quest to capture the Halliday’s Easter egg and the company’s ownership. Along the way, Parzival must avoid an evil corporate stooge (Ben Mendelsohn) and his lackey (T.J. Miller) while also reveling in ’80s and ’90s references, such as Back to the Future, The Iron Giant, and even Spielberg’s own Jurassic Park. Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, and Simon Pegg all costar.
Ready Player One is set for release on March 30. Check out reactions — pros and some cons — to the SXSW premiere below.
#ReadyPlayerOne is classic Spielberg fun! What a blast, can't wait to see it again. Rewards repeat viewings. Tons of great references, visuals and heart. So kick ass it blew the speakers!— Robert Rodriguez (@Rodriguez) March 12, 2018
READY PLAYER ONE feels like Spielberg watched a ton of Luc Besson movies and decided to outdo them. In terms of pure spectacle, it’s the most astonishing thing he’s done. Never underestimate Steve. #SXSW— erickohn (@erickohn) March 12, 2018
I didn’t think I would like #ReadyPlayerOne, but I liked it a WHOLE LOT. I think people cheered and laughed every 2 mins and dang this film was entertaining. So many references, I can’t wait for everyone to see it so we can all talk about it! #sxsw— Beatrice Verhoeven (@bverhoev) March 12, 2018
Went into READY PLAYER ONE skeptical as hell. Came out largely as a joyous convert. I have a handful of issues with the structure and characters, but it improves on the book in important ways, the action is riveting, and I really bought the humor. #readyplayerone— Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) March 12, 2018
#ReadyPlayerOne posits a corporate big wig who exploits fan culture for profit as its villain. The irony of that is giving me a headache. This is no love letter to pop culture. It’s a crass play to nostalgia; it offers nothing new or exciting.— Kristy Puchko ?? SXSW (@KristyPuchko) March 12, 2018
You’ll also hear the crowd went wild throughout. Totally true. These opinions are mine. I don’t pretend I represent all of the premiere audience or even all critics. I hated this. If you’re excited about it, I genuinely hope you enjoy it.— Kristy Puchko ?? SXSW (@KristyPuchko) March 12, 2018
literally my face during every second of Ready Player One. pic.twitter.com/dqZTNeN81r— Britt Hayes (@MissBrittHayes) March 12, 2018
Genuinely still shifting through my #ReadyPlayerOne feelings but it’s telling that some fanboys have already yelled at me for not coming out of the gate singing its praises. That’s exactly the culture way RP1 attempts to grapple with.— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) March 12, 2018
Well everyone relax, Ready Player One will indeed be the biggest thing in the world— Emily Yoshida (@emilyyoshida) March 12, 2018
TOTALLY engrossed in every second of @readyplayerone. It is one of the most technically brilliant things I have EVER seen. Spielberg is one of the few directors who could orchestrate this kind of visual symphony that SO many people will enjoy. Pretty amazing.????— Grae Drake (@graedrake) March 12, 2018
I don’t know if I have ever seen a #SXSW crowd cheer on a movie the way they just cheered on #ReadyPlayerOne. We haven’t seen this Spielberg in a long time - it’s just pure entertainment and it’s hard not to watch it without a dorky smile on your face the whole time— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) March 12, 2018
#ReadyPlayerOne is classic Steven Spielberg. It’s got the references, the ferocious effects and the great ‘80s soundtrack, sure, but also the charm, the heart, the humor and a fantastic Alan Silvestri score. I loved it & so did this #SXSW crowd. Be excited for it! pic.twitter.com/xwPOGwXDxd— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) March 12, 2018
Ready Player One is a whole lot of fun. Those who are stuck in pre-release hate mode better prepare to be disappointed. #sxsw— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) March 12, 2018
So yeah, I LOVED Ready Player One. It’s perhaps the geekiest movie ever made. So so so happy right now!— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) March 12, 2018
Spielberg just said he makes many films, like The Post, from behind the camera. He made Ready Player One from the audience. That’s the perfect summation of this experience.— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) March 12, 2018
READY PLAYER ONE is a big Trapper-Keeper stuffed full of smiles, Adventure, and heart.— Aaron Morgan (@Aaron_Morgan) March 12, 2018
I adore it.#sxsw
READY PLAYER ONE: So so so much movie. Sometimes too much but what I kept thinking over and over again was “my kids are gonna LOVE THIS.” It is joyous and thrilling for the people who it’s designed to joy and thrill.— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) March 12, 2018