If Steven Spielberg’s filmography has shown us one thing, it is that the man is a visionary. His imagination has raised the bar for many filmmakers and writers, including author Ernest Cline. Ready Player One, a science-fiction novel by Cline has been adapted into a film by the same name, and is directed by Spielberg. Set in 2045, it showcases a dystopian world collapsing onto itself, where virtual reality in the form of a game called OASIS is the only saviour. The film releases on March 29, 2018, and in a recent press conference Spielberg says that he believes that Cline has perhaps seen the future to write the book. Incidentally, Cline is also a co-writer of the movie’s screenplay.
This is not the first time that Spielberg has made science-fiction films which explore the future, go back in time or involve extraterrestrial travel. While his shoot locations for films like Munich and War Horse invite wanderlust, his otherworldly time-travel fuels the imagination. There’s still some time to catch Ready Player One in the theatres. Until then how about a movie marathon of Spielberg’s previous sci-fi films?
One of Spielberg’s first films, Close Encounters of the Third Kind traces the story of Roy, a lineman from Indiana who is obsessed with UFOs. He is one of the few who have been having strange dreams about the aliens aboard these spaceships, and he eventually seeks them out. There is also, of course, the government and the army involved but Roy ultimately has a life-altering brush with the aliens. Made four decades ago, Close Encounters still remains one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. While mankind still searches for aliens, this is one of the movies which spark hope for an amicable relationship with extraterrestrial beings. A one-way ticket to a new planet, please!
Speaking of extraterrestrial beings, one can only hope they are half as lovable as E.T. The story of E.T. and Elliott won many hearts, and made nearly everyone wish for an alien friend. Once again, with the movie, Spielberg was holding out for a world where lives across the universe would happily coexist. The film won a host of awards, including four Oscars, and remains one of the highest-grossing movies of all-time.
Though this one hasn’t been directed by Spielberg, it has been produced by him. The movie involves Marty, the teenage protagonist, being sent back in time to 1955 by Doc Brown, an eccentric scientist. Marty meets his teenaged parents and manages to change the course of all of their lives with his actions. The film is a mix of sci-fi and comedy, and became a hit instantly. It plays with the concept of tampering with time, as when Marty finds his way back to 1985, his present has changed. Now, who wouldn’t want a time-machine to correct all their past wrong-doings and get to see the world change?
Spielberg’s Minority Report questions this very idea of predicting the future, and the ability to alter it. In the film, Tom Cruise’s Anderton is the head of the Pre-Cog department, where essentially they get visions of crimes taking place in the future, and arrest the would-be criminal before he/she commits the act. It seems like a good system, till Anderton is framed. Here, Spielberg questions the pros and cons of tampering with the future, and the basic morality of mankind.
In War of the Worlds, aliens take on a darker persona. Gone are the ‘nice’ aliens of E.T. and Close Encounters. Instead they were replaced with the Martians, ready to take over Earth and build it with the very blood and tissue of humans. Here too, Tom Cruise battles it out for the future of mankind wins. The aliens have far superior weaponry but in the final face-off with humans, they are felled by the most unexpected of factors. Over the years, Spielberg’s films evolved to include humanitarian causes as much as sci-fi, and War of the Worlds was a reflection of the same.
With Ready Player One, Spielberg is once again ready to push the envelope and paint a future that serves as a cautionary tale if we aren’t careful. Keep your VR glasses ready.
Ready Player One opens in theatres on March 29, 2018.