The fanboy nostalgia-laden big-screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s mega-popular novel Ready Player One looks like its making a play for social relevance. A new trailer seems to posit the movie as a battle cry for the preservation of net neutrality.
On Sunday, a Warner Bros UK released a new full-length trailer for Ready Player One. This time, the inside of the story’s mega-virtuality world — the Oasis — is witnessed in way more detail than before. Plus, the Easter Egg hunt which dominates the plot of the book is also laid out very clearly. Because the Oasis is essentially a combination of an MMOG and Facebook, the person who controls it, will control the world. The founder of the Oasis — William Halliday — creates a global contest: find the Easter Eggs, and you rule the world.
For the most part, the trailer honors the book’s essential premise. That is, until the end of the trailer, when it changes a bit. In the movie, it seems like Wade is going to lead an entire army to “fight for the Oasis.”
This isn’t too different than the way everything plays out in the book, but the way the trailer sets everything up, it seems like Wade and Art3mis are leading a fight to keep the Oasis an open-sourced network. Again, this isn’t necessarily a contradiction from the novel, but the overall tone does make their fight seem more politically geared toward a rebellion for net neutrality than literally any other stakes the story may have had before. The Wade of the novel had a conscience, yes, but the tone of this trailer makes things a little more net-Rebels, versus the Empire of those seeking to destroy easy access to the Oasis. Having Ben Mendelsohn (of Star Wars fame) as a corporate baddie helps, too.
To be fair, this is a good place for Ready Player One to focus. Sure, many fans will come for the ‘80s nerd nostalgia fest, but if we stay for some necessary commentary about why the internet needs to stay free, then suddenly, a movie poised to simply cash-in on people raised on Spielberg movies might actually make a difference.
Ready Player One hit theaters everywhere on March 30, 2018.