Back in July, during Comic-Con, the first trailer for “Ready Player One” dropped. It was a magical sight to behold flooded with pop-culture references from the 80’s and 90’s. Too many to count. I have been obsessing over this book for over six years and this was truly one of the first times I’ve ever followed so closely the transformation and adaptation from a book I loved so much into a film that has now become one of the most highly-anticipated movies of my lifetime.
Rumors had been circulating this past week about a new trailer dropping during “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” But luckily, the seemingly ever-growing fans of this universe created by Ernest Cline didn’t have to wait an extra week (for the trailer.) As fans now dissect the trailer frame-by-frame looking for all the Easter eggs, I take a more big picture approach. As painful as it is for me, I don’t do that because I don’t want to stumble across any spoilers.
But wait, you might say to yourself, “How can there be spoilers? You’ve already read the book.” Well, I’ve already noticed a few glaring differences between the book and the film adaptation. This is ALWAYS the case. But I’m not worried. Not one bit. I also like the idea of the movie serving as a giant Easter egg in and of itself for me. I’ve already noticed from watching the trailer at regular speed just twice references to the following movies and video games: King Kong (or Donkey Kong), Gunadm, Chocobo from Final Fantasy, DeLorean’s from “Back to the Future,” “The Iron Giant,” and “Star Wars.”
But you gotta look really careful.
The new trailer is stunning; much darker and ominous than the first. We see exactly how Wade’s (Parzival’s) avatar looks in the OASIS and just how visually spectacular this is going to be. Opening March 30, 2018. As of this posting that’s three months and twenty days.
Listen to this thing of beauty. You all can hear the striking similarities to “Pure Imagination” (the “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory”) right? Also, the color scheme of the new poster is nearly exact to “E.T.” The new trailer drops in about three hours. Who’s ready?
Discussing and debating what happens after our time in this world has ended will result in a plethora of theories and pontificating statements. Many people standing on every side of every “official” religion (and those without an “official” one) have weighed in on their declarations for thousands of years. No one is absolutely correct. At least, no one can prove whether or not they are 100% correct. In the show “The Good Place,” that very issue is addressed in what I believe to be the most respectful and uproariously funny way possible. It plays out, I believe, not that different from how I would explain the afterlife to a child. Instead of an actual “heaven” or “hell,” the afterlife is organized into “The Good Place” and “The Bad Place” that is shown more to look like a gated community in Disney Land than angels and demons walking around.
The show begins with Eleanor Shellstrop sitting in the waiting room of an office. She is staring at a giant statement painted on the wall that reads, “Welcome! Everything is fine.” She is greeted by Michael, who serves as a sort of liaison helping people adjust into arriving into the afterlife and explaining how and why they have arrived in “The Good Place.” Michael also serves as the architect-or designer-of that particular “Good Place” that was tailor-made for Eleanor and all the others who reside there.
Everyone in “The Good Place” is also assigned a soul mate; a person that is supposedly their perfect spiritual match. For Eleanor, it’s Chidi Anagonye, an ethics professor who dedicated his life to teaching others how to always take the higher ground. “The Good Place” is meant to be the perfect paradise for all its residents. Only there’s one little problem… (more…)
On Thursday afternoon, I received an email saying that my screenwriting professor, friend, and mentor, Robert Keats was in hospice care. He had just gone through his final excruciating round of treatment for pancreatic cancer. He had very little time left. Keats (as I called him) died the next morning. The initial email – sent by his friend – stated that he was too weak to speak on the phone and even write emails or texts; that if there was anything I wanted to say to him to just type it out and they would read it to him. Time stopped and I wrote. (more…)
Levar Burton was a man whose name I’ve known very well since my early childhood. In 1983, “Reading Rainbow” hit the PBS lineup. I loved the idea of being able to watch someone read me a story and not have to wait until bedtime for my mom to read me one. I’ve always been a lover of books and stories long before I realized I could write my own.
Fast forward 30 years and I come across this new podcast simply called “Levar Burton Reads” and it’s everything I could hope for and more. A “Reading Rainbow” for adults. A simplistic concept and structure where Levar Burton briefly introduces a personal favorite short story of his and then reads it to you. His voice is just as soothing and comforting as I remembered it from when I was a child. Only now, he discusses stories with more adult themes, concepts, and conflicts. So far, he has read to me stories of varied genres as I would drive to work or run errands throughout the day. When he finishes the story, he offers a brief analysis and reflection of the story and why it was that he chose that story in the first place.
For anybody who would like to take a quick break from their audiobooks, but still want to hear great stories, this podcast is a nostalgic masterpiece that deserves your listening ear.
Listen to the introductory episode here and then subscribe. It’s a thing of beauty.
But you don’t have to take my word for it…
The wait is over. (Sort of.) Yesterday at ComicCon, a “Ready Player One” panel consisting of Ernest Cline, Zak Penn, Steven Spielberg, Tye Sheridan, and more proudly premiered the first trailer for a movie I have been waiting nearly three years to see from a book that I’ve been writing about for six.
The trailer alone was more than I could ever hope for. I haven’t been this excited from seeing a movie trailer since the first time I saw the full trailer for “The Dark Knight.” Without trying to reveal any spoilers (from the book) I saw many similarities true to the book and quite a lot of differences. But these differences certainly still feel as if it stays completely dedicated to the soul of the story. As it says in the trailer, “Ernest Cline’s Holy Grail of Pop Culture.” That is exactly what I saw and more.
I saw lots of cinematic similarities to “Minority Report.” But I also saw characters and cinematic properties Robert Zemeckis (“Back to The Future”) and Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant.”) Not to mention characters from Marvel, DC, and Freddy Krueger. Did you also hear the song “Come With Me” from “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory?”
I’m writing in a hurry and not quite sure how to formulate thoughts in any rational way on this one. But I was prepared for this. For the first time, I filmed myself watching the trailer for the first time to truly get a sense of what I was feeling. Go on and laugh at my awkward self as I try to contain my elation.
“Ready Player One” premiers March 30, 2018.
Here is the first official image of “Ready Player One” set for a March 30, 2018 release. The photo shows the protagonist Wade Watts (played by Tye Sheridan) wearing his OASIS visor and haptic gloves likely inside his van hideout as it is written in the book. Rumor has it on strong authority that the first trailer will drop at Comic Con in San Diego next week. If the trailer does premiere at Comic Con, (or whenever it does) I will be guest spotting on GTTGP Podcast. Stay tuned for updates as they happen.