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Feature Filmmotion captureVFX

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ Is Filled With Animated Characters

Besides being one of 2018’s most hotly anticipated geek films, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is also shaping up as one of its most technically ambitious.

The film takes place largely in a virtual reality landscape called the Oasis, which is populated by virtual avatars. Spielberg used motion capture animation techniques to create those avatar characters, and we get a peek at what those characters look like in the film’s latest trailer:

Based on Ernest Cline’s bestselling 2011 novel of the same name, the heavily-vfx hybrid film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse:

[P]eople have found salvation in the Oasis, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday. When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the Oasis, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery, and danger.

The film has plenty of other animated characters as well, since the virtual Oasis is cluttered with the detritus of American pop culture. CGI versions of King Kong, Chucky, Lara Croft, and Street Fighter’s Chun-Li pop up in this new trailer, along with a bevy of other film, tv, and video game characters that were popular during the second part of the last century, and the first part of this one.

ILM is the lead vfx house on the film, supported by Digital Domain and Territory.

Ready Player One will be released in U.S. theaters by Warner Bros. on March 30, 2018.

  • Mario Bros

    Nerd culture the movie, pop references galore!
    Ugh It all just seems too cynical and pandering for my taste.

    • TonicGesture

      Spielberg is anything but, I must say. He’s an optimist at heart and one of the few directors today working in the classical mode of filmmaking. Try giving the film a chance.

      • Kyle_Maloney

        I can’t believe we live in a world where we have to say “let’s give this Spielberg guy a chance”. To say he’s earned the benefit of the doubt is an understatement.

        • Nobody

          The Lost World: Jurassic Park was my first pop-culture disappointment, such a souless, bitterly cynical cash-in.

          War of the Worlds and Artificial Intelligence were road apples, too.

          • Kyle_Maloney


            He’s not a guarantee by any means, but he has way more hits than misses. Not to mention his hits are some of the most beloved movies of all time. I happen to love those last two you mentioned. As for Jurassic Park 2, I will agree that was a let down. (though I liked it ok at the time)

    • Iosh Evens

      Yeah, it’s like The Emoji Movie but for nerds.
      I’ll pass.

    • Furrenamon

      You too?

      This movie feels like it’s a Saturday 80’s cartoon with out the charm, a long “toy” commercial but there’s no goofy cheese, animator’s heart or silliness.

      It’s just so… hollow…

    • younglad

      ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ had pop culture cameos in spades, and to great effect. Wreck It Ralph also did it well, to a smaller extent.
      Execution is key.

      • Barrett

        Exactly. If done in a ham-handed and emotionally disconnected way, you have junk like Emoji Movie or those execrable Friedberg/Seltzer movies (Epic Movie, Meet The Spartans, Vampires Suck). If done well, you have a multi-generational treasure.

    • Barrett

      I can understand how anyone, especially veteran nerds/geeks, could feel burned out over “another cool geek pop culture thing” coming out of mass media. Though I’ve never read the book, it seems to get a lot of rave reviews, even from older people who are not particularly into 70s/80s geek culture. I’m hoping this will stand out as a particularly good example of what can be done in that “genre”. For me, Wreck-It Ralph, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Galaxy Quest are the top three geek-centric major movies, I’d love to see something dethrone one of them!

  • Joe Bluhm

    This movie is coming out!





  • waterworld

    This film has the potential to be very, very confusing.

  • My name is Rio

    The only movie fit for JJ Abrams style that ended up on Spielberg’s lap only god knows why. Looks like a flop and smells like a flop…

    Memberberries galore!

  • Jack Rabbit

    I could see it. It made me suspicious. Another Zemekis-like attempt.

  • Anonymous

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  • GW

    This trailer looks better than the first one. I might see it.

  • Bob

    I have little interest in seeing this movie. It’s hard to use all these pop culture nerd references without it feeling like a complete gimmick.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Definetly looks great! I wouldn’t be surprised if E.T. and Fievel Mouskewitz make appearences.

  • Johan Wettergren

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Even if you pass on the movie I still recommend you give the book a try :)

  • GOATmaybe

    Take all the references out and you’re left with typical YA Sci-fi Bullshit

  • Tim Hansen

    I sure hope the move is better than the novel, which I absolutely hated. Of all the novels Spielberg could have adapted into a movie, why the hell did he choose this awful one?