If virtual reality needed a jolt to excite the masses, it’s unlikely to find a better promotional pitch than Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg’s pop culture-soaked virtual reality dystopia that launched its first trailer at Comic-Con San Diego on Saturday.
Based on Ernest Cline’s bestselling 2011 novel of the same name, the vfx-driven 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 draws many of its plot points from pop culture, and the trailer highlights Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant and the bike from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira as story elements.