Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The first couple of glimpses at Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One focused around the nerd-culture wish fulfillment at the book’s center, featuring lustrous glimpses of the Iron Giant and Freddy Kreuger and the Ninja Turtles all fighting each other in some massive blast of nostalgia, copyright negotiation, and shiny, dark-blue CGI. It seemed a little weird to see Spielberg trafficking in such easy self-mythologizing, not to mention reinforcing the same poisonous, monocultural insularity that has turned nerd culture into a hot zone in the current culture wars.


Still: It is a Spielberg movie, at the end of the day, and he has a pretty good track record with effects-heavy blockbusters. That’s the case made in the above featurette, which goes light on the “look, a semi-forgotten ‘80s pop-culture figure” kicks and more on the purported creative collaboration between him and author Ernest Cline. They’re very fond of each other, at least for the purposes of this promotional video, with Cline waxing rhapsodic about Spielberg’s influence on the original book and Spielberg declaring that Cline is a soothsayer, having apparently seen a future in which people use VR outside of tech conventions. The argument that Cline’s world provided Spielberg with a sort of blank check for cinematic thrills is a compelling one, at least as long as he doesn’t cash that check by having a CGI Luke Skywalker fight a CGI velociraptor ... made of Lego, or something.

We can find out which thing fights what when the movie comes out March 30.

Clayton Purdom is a writer and editor based in Columbus, Ohio.

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