Ready Player One had its world premiere on Sunday night (Mar. 11) at the South by Southwest film, media and music conference in Austin, Texas, with director Steven Spielberg himself on hand to introduce the movie and social media poised to either praise it or condemn it...that is, if the audience even got through the entire movie.
According to early reports from the screening, the sound went out during a crucial scene near the end of the picture -- twice:
The staff at the Paramount Theatre undoubtedly scrambled to get the movie back on track and eventually did, with reactions to Spielberg's adaptation of Ernest Cline's best selling novel coming hard and fast not long after that...and largely positive:
Not everyone was on board with the movie, however, but they were decidedly in the minority:
It's clear from an initial scan of Twitter that the response to the movie's first screening was wildly enthusiastic -- although we should temper that by noting that audiences at premieres are always extra-pumped, especially when a living legend like Spielberg is in the house:
Ernest Cline's book takes place in a ravaged, dystopian future where most of the Earth's population spends its time in a virtual reality world known as OASIS. When the creator of OASIS, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), dies, he leaves behind a game in which the winner will be awarded full ownership of OASIS.
A teenager named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) attempts to solve the game and win OASIS, but he must go up against Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), the head of a corporation that wants to control OASIS for its own nefarious purposes.
Both the book and the movie are crammed with pop culture references from the '80s onward (including a lot of Spielberg's own work), leading some to call Ready Player One a homage to that pop culture and others to deride it as a wallow in empty nostalgia. Whatever else it is, it's Spielberg's first all-out sci-fi film since 2005's War of the Worlds (not including the aliens at the end of 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), and since he's made some of the genre's all-time classics, it's good to see him back at it again.
Judging from the early response, he may have another sci-fi gem on his hands. Are you already excited to see Ready Player One? If not, are these early reactions making you more interested to catch the movie when it opens on March 29?