This week, Steven Spielberg was announced as the director of Ready Player One. Based on the book of the same name by Ernest Cline, it tells the story of Wade, a young gamer geek who spends most of his life inside an MMO. When the game’s creator James Halliday dies, he announces via his will that there is a treasure hunt hidden inside his game. Whoever figures it out first and makes it to the end will win his fortune and control of the game.
Throughout the book, there are pop culture references everywhere from Star Wars to Highlander, and interestingly, many of Spielberg’s previous films are referenced. Read on for all of the Spielberg references from Ready Player One.
He loved arguing about old movies, even more than I did. The other gunters in the chat room were now starting to form a small crowd around us to listen in. Our arguments were often high in entertainment value.
“You must be stoned!” I shouted. “Ladyhawke was directed by Richard f—-ing Donner! The Goonies? Superman: The Movie? You’re saying that guy sucks?”
“I don’t care if Spielberg directed it. It is a chick flick disguised as a sword-and-sorcery picture. The only genre film with less balls is probably…freakin’ Legend. Anyone who actually enjoys Ladyhawke is a bona fide USDA-choice pussy!”
Spielberg Connection: Not only is Spielberg directly named, he also was an executive producer on The Goonies.
Halliday bought and restored one of the original DeLoreans used in the Back to the Future films, continued to spend nearly all of his time welded to a computer keyboard, and used his newfound wealth to amass what would eventually become the world’s largest private collection of classic video games, Star Wars action figures, vintage lunch boxes, and comic books.
Spielberg Connection: Spielberg was an executive producer on Back to the Future.
I devoured each of what Halliday referred to as “The Holy Trilogies”: Star Wars (original and prequel trilogies, in that order), The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Mad Max, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones. (Halliday once said that he preferred to pretend the other Indiana Jones films, from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull onward, didn’t exist. I tend to agree.)
I also absorbed the complete filmographies of each of his favorite directors. Cameron, Gilliam, Jackson, Fincher, Kubrick, Lucas, Spielberg, Del Toro, Tarantino. And, of course, Kevin Smith.
Spielberg Connection: Spielberg directed all of the Indiana Jones films, including Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and he also gets his second mention by name in the book.
Parzival: Are we going to have an online romance?
Art3mis: No way, ace. Sorry.
Parzival: Why not?
Art3mis: No time for love, Dr. Jones. My cyber-porn addiction eats up most of my free time.
Spielberg Connection: “No time for love, Dr. Jones” is a famous quote from Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which Spielberg directed.
Art3mis and I even teamed up for a few quests. We visited the planet Goondocks and finished the entire Goonies quest in just one day. Arty played through it as Martha Plimpton’s character, Stef, while I played as Mikey, Sean Astin’s character. It was entirely too much fun.
Spielberg Connection: Spielberg was an executive producer of The Goonies, the ’80s classic starring a young Sean Astin and Josh Brolin as well as Martha Plimpton, Corey Feldman, and Kerri Green.
I made a big entrance when I arrived in my flying DeLorean, which I’d obtained by completing a Back to the Future quest on the planet Zemeckis. The DeLorean came outfitted with a (nonfunctioning) flux capacitor, but I’d made several addition to its equipment and appearance. First, I’d installed an artificially intelligent onboard computer named KITT (purchased in an online auction) into the dashboard, along with a matching red Knight Rider scanner embedded in the DeLorean’s grill. Then I’d outfitted the car with an oscillation overthruster, a device that allowed it to travel through solid matter. Finally, to complete my ’80s super-vehicle theme, I’d slapped a Ghostbusters logo on each of the DeLorean’s gull-wing doors, then added personalized plates that read ECTO-88.
Spielberg Connection: The flying DeLorean is a reference to the time machine from Back to the Future, and Spielberg was an executive producer on the film.
I took three running steps, leapt into the air, and then I was flying. I swooped up and around, then turned back toward the gate, aiming straight for it. But at the last moment, I banked to the right, then arced back round. I stopped to hover in front of the open gate. The crystal doorway hung in the air directly ahead, just a few yards away. It reminded me of the floating door in the opening credits of the original Twilight Zone.
Spielberg Connection: Spielberg was a producer on The Twilight Zone: The Movie, the big-screen adaptation of Rod Serling’s iconic TV show.