Although there's a few notable exceptions to the rule, remakes by and large have plagued our cinemas for far too long. For years, audiences have grown more and more weary of Hollywood's lack of originality; but now it seems that there's a new way to mine the past in lucrative ways, and it's called nostalgia.
The Netflix show Stranger Things has been the indisputable hit of the summer thanks to winning characters and a veritable Rubik's Cube of '80s references that take audiences back to their youth.
In a similar vein, legendary director Steven Spielberg has returned to the genre he loves with a new adaptation of Ernest Cline's sci-fi novel Ready Player One, which takes the idea of playing with nostalgia to a whole new extreme.
What's Ready Player One About?
Set in 2044, Ready Player One follows a young boy named Wade Watts who spends all of his time jacked into a a virtual utopia called OASIS, playing games in order to escape the real world.
Hidden within OASIS are three Easter Eggs left behind by the system's eccentric creator, James Halliday. Whoever finds them gains ownership of the program and luckily for Wade, he's just discovered the first puzzle. However, there's one small problem; An unimaginably wealthy corporation owner is also hunting for the eggs so he can monetize OASIS to the extreme, and he'll do anything to stop Wade from winning.
Central to the book are a variety of dystopian themes that warn us of how capitalism and technology can lead society down a dark path. These darker themes are balanced by an almost overwhelming number of references to iconic '80s films, music, and video games, many of which could elude fans on first reading.
Which Spielberg References Will We See?
As the story of Ready Player One is literally about hunting for Easter Eggs, it makes perfect sense that director Steven Spielberg would include some in his upcoming adaptation. However, what we didn't expect was to see some crop up so early on in the production process.
Photos leaked from the set in Birmingham, England show that Ready Player One will closely follow the source material in order to bring Wade's dystopian world to life. Already, images of Spielberg's most iconic films have begun to appear on set, despite the director recently claiming he would cut out most of the references to his work during an interview with Collider;
"I think we were pretty awesome in the ‘80s. I hope the movie returns all of us to the awesomeness of the ‘80s. I love the ‘80s. I think one of the reasons I decided to make the movie was that it brought me back to the ‘80s and lets me do anything I want, except for with my own movies. I’ve cut most of my movies out of [Ernest Cline’s] book. Except for the DeLorean and a couple of other things that I had something to do with, I cut a lot of my own references out of the ‘80s. I was very happy to see there was enough without me that made the ‘80s a great time to grow up."
In Spielberg's defence, the only Easter Eggs of his that have appeared on set so far are from Jaws — which was released in 1975 — and Gremlins, for which he served as Executive Producer in 1984.
Watch this space for more Ready Player One references to the likes of Back To The Future and Indiana Jones in the coming months.
Are There Any More '80s References We're Likely To See?
Among the leaked set photos are also some images of DC's hero The Flash and Snarf, that weird cat-lion thing from the Thundercats franchise. We can guarantee that's not all we'll see when Ready Player One finally hits cinemas in 2018.
Here's a run down of some iconic '80s movies which will almost certainly be referenced in the final release.
Matthew Broderick's old-school hacker movie is key to a sequence in the book where Wade has to recite every single line that the main character speaks in order to clear the First Gate.
Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott's classic sci-fi movie features heavily in the dystopian future of Ready Player One, to the point where Wade even enters a replica of the Tyrell Building, and uses a Voight-Kampff machine to open the Second Gate.
This epic sword-and-sorcery film is referenced explicitly when Wade encounters a +3 Full plate armour, which reminds him of "the bad-ass Armour worn by the knights in Excalibur." Later on, Wade also discovers a guitar embedded in stone, which he claims for himself in the same way that Arthur removes the sword in the legends.
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With all of the references threaded throughout, it might seem as though Ready Player One could be difficult for people to access if they haven't read the book. However, with Steven Spielberg at the helm, we trust Ready Player One will easily circumvent these issues and could even turn out to be the biggest film of the year when it's released on March 30, 2018.
While we wait to see the likes of Tye Sheridan and Mark Rylance bring the Ready Player One characters to life, check out this video where author Ernest Cline invites digital artists to create a 3D avatar that will be seen in the final cut of the film. After all, how often do you have the chance to work with Steven Spielberg?
Are you excited for Ready Player One? Which '80s easter eggs do you think we'll see? And will nostalgia-fests like this begin to replace remakes in Hollywood?