The news that Steven Spielberg would not be incorporating his own movies, images, and references in Ready Player One recently was a little heartbreaking. This means ET, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Indiana Jones, and others will be omitted. Ernest Cline’s book, which if you haven’t read I strongly suggest you pick up, is full of 80’s nostalgia. While I don’t want to give away any spoilers, I will commit to being completely pissed off at Spielberg for ruining a movie before it has even had a chance to be put on-screen.
The basics of the novel are simple; sometime in the dystopian future humans prefer living online in a virtual state of reality since the real world is a terrible place to live . This reality is available to anyone and is aptly called the OASIS. The owner and creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, made sure that this was free and also, just as importantly, anonymous. Halliday loved the 1980’s and upon his death created a game of finding Easter eggs he left hidden in the OASIS. Whoever finds the eggs first will get a huge sum of money and control over the OASIS. So, we have people searching for clues to win the money and control all over the world. Halliday really is the John Hughes of this book; you never know him but love him anyway.
It is my opinion that art, once it is put out into the world becomes the viewer/consumer’s. Otherwise, why share it?
My problem with this is that the book is a love letter to the 80’s via Ernest Cline. Cline is a geek just like most of us; he loves that time period. The rights to Ready Player One were bought before the book was even finished; finding out that Steven Spielberg was directing the movie had me overjoyed. Who doesn’t love him? Who hasn’t seen his movies? Now he pulls this shit and it just pisses me off. I might be overreacting, but if he chooses to leave out his references, then what else will he take out? Part of the reason I fell in love with this book was the nostalgia. Nostalgia is a character all by itself. By Spielberg not including his own works in the film, he undermines a major theme in Ready Player One: Everyone should be free to create their own reality. Pop culture included.
When is art just art? When can a book be made into a movie without the interference of a director’s ego? By not putting his own pop culture related parts, he changes the book. I don’t want him to change the book. Ernest Cline wrote something that needs no changing. If Spielberg was looking to make the movie less about him, then possibly he shouldn’t be the one directing it. He doesn’t make me think he’s less of a narcissist by leaving these parts on the cutting room floor.
Oh well, the books are always better than the movies anyway.
What do you think?