If you want to do anything cool in the VR world of Ready Player One, the quickest way to do it is to make a pop culture reference. In one pivotal scene, Wade Watts uses a gizmo called a “Zemeckis Cube” that allows him to travel back in time. When he uses it, a few notes from Alan Silvestri’s Back to the Future score play, letting everyone know, yes, this is a Back to the Future reference. But, was this the right name for the cube?
Because Ready Player One is an aggressive pop culture ouroboros, Alan Silvestri also did this new music for Ready Player One. The movie is directed by Steven Spielberg,, who produced all the Back to the Future movies from 1985-1990. And, in case you didn’t catch it, the cube is named for Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis.
However, Zemeckis alone isn’t responsible for the story and ideas in any of the three Back to the Future movies. The screenplays for all three films were co-written with Bob Gale. That mean the cube probably should have been called a Gale-Zemeckis cube, in honor of both of the guys named Bob who worked crafting the stories of the iconic films.
The cube itself is obviously a Rubix Cube puzzle toy, which is weird because Rubix Cubes don’t play a big role in any of the Back to the Future movies. Here’s the only in-universe way to make sense of any of this: These kids in 2045 have no idea who wrote Back to the Future, and they think everything in the Eighties had a Rubix Cube in it, somewhere. Information exchange has broken down in this future dystopian world, and the misnaming of the Zemeckis cube is just the tip of the ignorance ice berg.
Thank god Wade knows what Buckaroo Banzai is though, amiright?
Ready Player One is out now in wide release.