'Ready Player One' First Reactions: Does Steven Spielberg’s Adaptation Get A Thumbs Up?

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Ready Player One is in the unique position of being one of the most and least anticipated releases of the year. First reactions are here.

A Surprisingly Positive Response

Steven Spielberg's latest — and, weirdly, his follow-up to The Post — is an adaptation of the popular novel of the same name by Ernest Cline. The story leans heavily on 1980s pop culture nods, as well as somewhat cliched genre plot-points, meaning its detractors are many.

A trailer, which featured the likes of Freddy Krueger, King Kong, and Harley Quinn, didn't exactly set the world alight, leading many to question Spielberg's involvement. However, the film, which just premiered at SXSW, mostly went down well with its first audience.

Spielberg introduced Ready Player One himself in Austin, with it receiving a standing ovation from the gathered crowd once the credits rolled.

"[The] much-loved fanboy novel gets the movie it deserves," wrote The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore in his review.

Twitter was equally ebullient, with a variety of well-known critics and film bloggers expressing their satisfaction with the finished product.

It wasn't all positivity, though, as a couple of notable commentators pointed to the movie's shallowness and reliance on nostalgia.

Ready Player One features Tye Sheridan, who played Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse, as protagonist Wade Watts. In a dystopian future, Wade, a teenage gamer, gets increasingly invested in a virtual reality video game world called the OASIS.

The premise sees him trying to solve a treasure hunt left by the game's deceased creator, James Halliday (Bridge Of Spies' Mark Rylance) to gain control of the game and win an unknowable fortune. Star Wars' Ben Mendelsohn plays the antagonist.

The movie hits theaters on March 29. Its release follows months of controversy surrounding its trailer, poster, — which featured a bizarrely too-long leg on Sheridan — and seeming overreliance on cheap 80s nods. Many hoped Spielberg would pull through and, judging by the initial reactions, it seems the great man has.

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