The 10 coolest winks from Ready Player One

The 10 coolest winks from Ready Player One

From least spoiler to most spoiler.

Ready Player One returns at the very end of the weekend on television: tune in Sunday at 11:45 p.m. on TF1 to (re)watch Steven Spielberg's blockbuster. Just before, it is Fantastic Beasts 3 which will be broadcast for the first time unencrypted.

Anyone who grew up with films and video games from the 1970s/1980s/1990s will have fun spotting Steven Spielberg's (self)references on screen. First really liked this story of hunting for “easter eggs”, and we can't resist the urge to return to the film's most notable nods to pop culture. Rather than ranking them from best to worst, we choose here a top “from least to most spoiler”. Like this, if you read these lines before seeing RPO you will be able to appreciate part of the article. But, if so, stop halfway : if the first winks have all been seen in the different trailers, it would be a shame to spoil the surprise of the last ones.

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1. The T-Rex from Jurassic Park meets Jack Slater from Last Action Hero
Steven Spielberg quickly made it known that he intended to limit self-references in Ready Player One. Even if Ernest Cline's novel is filled with nods to the work of the director ofAND, Indiana Jones And Encounters of the Third Kindand that the filmmaker is even cited by name as a major influence on pop culture, Spielberg assured that his adaptation would not be egocentric.

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The director, who has often played the game of “easter eggs” during his career, still agreed to leave some references to his work, including one revealed during the promotion of the film: the T-Rex of Jurassic Park. This is at the heart of the opening action scene, and there is added another less showy, but well thought-out element: in the middle of the chase for the Speed ​​Racer, the hero passes in front of a cinema showing the fake film Jack Slater. A nice nod to Last Action Herothe brilliant comedy by John McTiernan with Arnold Schwarzenegger, released in 1993. At the time, it was in direct competition with Jurassic Park at the box office, and it was the dinosaurs who won. “No offense?”Steven seems to say with this clever reference, which will please film buffs, without hindering the understanding of the plot: if we see it and know the story between the two films, it's very cool, but if we we miss it, it has no impact on the story of Ready Player One.

2. The Iron Giant to the rescue
As it happens, we saw it from the very first teaser of the project: Brad Bird's Iron Giant plays an important role in Ready Player One. No need to say more on this subject, because it is above all its symbolic place which is very interesting here. Indeed, Warner Bros., the studio which produced the two films, accepted that this character be at the heart of the story, even though upon its release, in 1999, it was a flop in the United States, bringing in 23 million dollars for a budget of 70. This clearly shows the growing popularity of this terribly endearing character, who subsequently found his audience on DVD and during his TV broadcasts. Not to mention that the Iron Giant is well brought into the story and ultimately proves to be as touching as the original.

Note also that this is a friendly return to the sender on the part of the director, with whom Brad Bird worked at the start of his career: in the mid-1980s, he was hired as assistant director and screenwriter on his series Fantastic storieswhich has 43 episodes.

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3. Back to the future is at the heart of the concept
Steven Spielberg may not have overused self-references, but he didn't hold back from winking at friends. The trilogy Back to the future, by Robert Zemeckis, which he produced, was at the heart of the novel and is found in the film on a regular basis. There is of course the DeLorean, used in a very clever way during the race, but we can also see Doc at the beginning and end of the film, and hear a few notes of the brilliant soundtrack by Alan Silvestri, who agreed to compose that of RPO and can thus have fun with his own work. Without forgetting the “Zemeckis cube”a weapon with the name “meta”which is very useful during the film (in the novel, the director gives his name to… a planet).

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4. “Let’s dance!” with Michael Jackson, A-ha and Saturday Night Fever
The tributes of Ready Player One to pop culture since the 1970s also involves music. Alan Silvestri has fun covering extracts from cult soundtracks, and Steven Spielberg has also chosen key songs from the era. If the group Rush was at the heart of the book, the blockbuster is notably punctuated by hits like “Take On Me”by A-ha, whose half-live, half-drawn clip has left its mark on the public since 1985.

Saturday night fever (1977) also plays an important role on the screen, during a very successful dance scene where the two heroes fly into the air and imitate John Travolta's swaying hips.

There's also a nice nod to Michael Jackson, when Parzival searches for an ideal outfit before heading out for a night out. Among his panoply, he briefly wears the famous red costume of “Thriller”, from the cult video by John Landis, which dates back to 1982. An element which obviously echoes the incredible popularity of the star at the time, but which also recalls his friendship with Steven Spielberg. In 1989, the filmmaker notably agreed to appear in his music video “Liberian Girl”.

5. Video games for all generations
It's not just films that are cited in Ready Player One : video games are also very important. And there, the references are aimed at all generations, passing in bulk from Minecraft (created in 2011) to Joust (ostriches from the 1982 game appear briefly at the beginning, when they were the subject of a test in the book), going through the games Arkhamtherefore, which have been a hit since 2009, different versions of Zelda (which has changed a lot since 1986) or even Overwatchwho is not even two years old.

Be careful, from here, the “easter eggs” spoil an element of the film

6. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek, Steven Spielberg responds here. It was rumored that he had not been able to obtain the rights to the saga from his friend George Lucas, but he quickly denied it, saying that there would be “an R2-D2 hidden in a corner” (A “cameo game” which he started in 1977 in Meetings of Third Type), as well as a few ships.

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On the other hand, the saga of Gene Roddenberry is very present. Already cited several times in Cline's novel, it is mentioned in the film during the farewell message from James Halliday (Mark Rylance). In a crucial scene, therefore, since it is through this video that the creator of the OASIS launches the treasure hunt which will make it possible to designate his successor. In his Starfleet-colored capsule coffin, he speaks directly to his players/users, ready to leave his legacy behind. Choose Star Trek to symbolize such a scene is obviously not a coincidence, the original series having had an enormous influence on current science fiction.

7. Batman, Superman and the heroes of DC Comics
To obtain the rights to the films and games he wanted to mention, Steven Spielberg and his team had to request numerous authorizations from different studios. Warner Bros. unsurprisingly gave access to several successful licenses, notably to its superheroes: Batman appears for a joke at the beginning, then Harley Quinn, the Joker or even Bat Girl (with the look of the new Arkham video games) pass by furtively in the background. It is especially the reference to Superman which is well thought out, when Parzival tries to go unnoticed and Art3mis advises him to use Clark Kent's technique. Glasses, a new haircut and, presto!, that’s it.

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Be careful, from here, the “easter eggs” REALLY spoil important scenes from the film

8. Adventure or the first “easter eggs” Of the history
This is the only proof of the book that was kept for the film: Adventurereleased in 1979 on the Atari 2600, is famous for having hidden the first “easter eggs” of the history of video games. At the end of Ready Player One, the goal is therefore not to complete the game, but to find the pixel allowing access to the secret signature of its creator Warren Robinett. Readers of Ernest Cline's novel are not surprised, but symbolically, to include this first “easter eggs” in the film was inevitable: it is the very heart of the whole concept.

9. The Holy Grenade in homage to Monty Python
Still in the book, Monty Python is regularly cited, and one of the tests discovered by Parzival (a name which is obviously not chosen by chance) is to replay one of the cult scenes from the film Holy Grail! The idea was indeed taken up in the film, but with another reference, both very different and just as cult (see below). The screenwriters Zak Penn and Ernest Cline still retained an excellent nod to this comedy: the Holy Grenade. “It's one of my favorite films, and normally the characters fit into the novel, the author explained to us. There is a reference to this in the film with the Holy Grenade, even if Parzival doesn't count to 3 or 5 before throwing it. I know it annoys people, but I love the fact that we have this Holy Grenade in the film.”

10. “There are no zombies in The Shining!”
So we arrive at THE craziest scene in the film. In the middle of the story, the heroes enter Shining to find a key. This is obviously a tribute from Steven Spielberg to one of his favorite directors, Stanley Kubrick, whose project he took over AI Artificial Intelligence shortly after his death. It is also a totally cult work for several generations of spectators, who like to be scared by this adaptation of Stephen King's novel and have not finished looking for hidden meanings in it. The wildest theories are running around Shining and in this, choose him as “ultimate easter egg” is a genius idea. And let's not forget that in 1980, it was already Warner Bros. which supported the film carried by Jack Nicholson.

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In addition, having one of the heroes (Aech) not have seen The Shining and falls into all its traps offers an excellent double reading. THE “super combo” at the end of the scene, when zombies invite themselves into the ballroom for a few dance steps, reminiscent of the ghosts of the Disney Haunted House, completes the terrifying/amusing of the spectators. It's devilishly effective, as we've seen. Shining or not. Between that, Chucky, Alien and Freddie Kruger, Spielberg and his team manage to cite major horror references in a particularly clever way in the middle of a general audience film.

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