I recently finished Ernest Cline’s geeky pop culture video game novel Ready Player One, and now I am not so sure that I want Steven Spielberg to attempt to make it in to a movie. I mean there is so much going on, and just about every major geek property is included in this book from Star Wars to Marvel to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Maybe if the Disney was doing this movie and not Warner Brothers they could figure out a way to make most of the licensing work, but even if they get all the licensing (or enough of it anyway), they will still have to make it in to a movie that non-geeks are going to want to watch. Spielberg’s name will help bring in audiences, but even for the father of the modern blockbuster hits are not guaranteed.
The problem is people escaping real life and living in a video game might be to high concept for audiences to wrap their minds around, and even if they do, will they be able to keep up with the non-stop 80’s video game, TV, and movie references? Some of them were even lost on me as I read the book. This is going to be a hard movie to get right, and if it goes wrong it will go really wrong. I guess I am just worried that a very fun book will turn in to middling movie that no one will watch. We will find out in a little over two years how Mr. Spielberg captures the adventures of Parzival and his 80’s loving virtual pals. I just wish I felt better about it all. If nothing else the book is still great, and you should add to your reading list if you haven’t read it already.