“That looks alright.”
Those were my exact words to my brother after seeing the FIRST trailer for READY PLAYER ONE. The big budget sci-fi epic based on the best selling book by Ernest Cline and directed by the inventor of Summer blockbusters himself, Steven Spielberg.
The trailer didn’t work for me. Focused too much on exposition and world building than it did about feeling and tone. Don’t get me wrong I still wanted to see it mainly because of Steven Spielberg directing a Steven Spielberg movie again. Also, because I knew it had Olivia Cooke in it but for some reason she wasn’t featured at all in the first trailer.
Fast forward to my screening of BLACK PANTHER (which is amazing by the way) and the newest trailer was attached. After getting home and rewatching it I realized this trailer on YouTube was titled: COME WITH ME. That couldn’t of been a more fitting title because I believe this trailer is how the film should of been marketed all along. It made me feel something. It gave me that sense of wonder and excitement that the classic Steven Spielberg movies did. The trailer featured amazing imagery, great action set pieces, nostalgic pop culture references, Olivia Cooke’s character, and most importantly the amazing rendition of PURE IMAGINATION by GHOSTWRITER MUSIC. All the feels and I haven’t even read the book! I know, I know but I just haven’t and after the film I’m sure I might but I am excited to go into the film knowing about the film only what the trailers have shown me.
It’s hard to identify what makes a great trailer work. There are so many great trailers. Sometimes for great movies. Sometimes for good movies. And, sadly, sometimes for bad movies. I am not sure how the actual movie READY PLAYER ONE will turn out to be but I must say that the COME WITH ME trailer has me giddy excited for the film. So, in my opinion, this is a great trailer.
I could write an entire blog (honestly probably multiple) on how important Steven Spielberg films are to not only myself but to cinema. That’s actually not a bad idea, let me know in the comments if you would read that. I digress, anyway, this trailer made me feel like I was a kid again. It made me feel the same feels and vibes I would get from the great Spielberg films I grew up watching. The trailer worked on an emotional level for me and not because of the amazing tracking shot in the Deloreon, or the presence of the Iron Giant, or the reference to Mario Kart. It resonated with me and worked because of the emotional stakes this trailer finally showed us. With the earlier trailers it seemed they were trying to set up the world too much, telling you about Oasis and showing you all the pop culture easter eggs in hopes of bringing along new fans as well as pop culture afficianodos. What it was lacking, however, was a spirit. An identity. A purpose. With this newest trailer I felt that it captured that and it finally captured the tone, vibe, and heart of the film that made you think “THAT’S a Steven Spielberg film!” At least that’s what it did for me.
Moments ranging from Olivia Cooke’s “No, No, No, No” and “This isn’t just a game, I’m talking about actual life and death stuff.” to Tye Sheridan’s voiceover saying “I just came here to escape but I found something much bigger than myself. I found my friends. I found love.”. These moments not only establish our two lead characters but also establish the stakes and what the film is hopefully going to focus on the most which is finding yourself and caring for your friends and the ones you love all while being set in an incredible virtual world with high life or death stakes, villains, and set peices. Shots throughout the trailer of the different people using the VR style headsets looking on in wonder, going into Oasis and showing this incredible world, and even going back to the present Inception style with chase sequences and more grounded, realistic scenes, show the potential for a heartfelt, emotional, fun and engaging story. These are the types of films I want to see more of. As much as I love superhero films I miss the days of the blockbusters from the 80’s where it was about regular kids and people that are thrown into unbelievable circumstances and have to band together to overcome something. It’s the reason we love BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE GOONIES, E.T., etc.. I know I’m leaving out a ton of movies with these themes and other classic Spielberg films but just wanted to use these as examples about adventure films about regular kids/teenagers up against incredible odds and figuring out how to overcome them together. At the heart of these films is about finding yourself, facing your fears, relying on friends and family, and working together. All of these films have wonder and adventure and I miss these types of movies and I really hope READY PLAYER ONE achieves that level of care and feeling. If this trailer is any indication of the type of film we are going to get and the actual film captures what this trailer did I think we are in for a great blockbuster film. If it doesn’t, then it could in danger of being another film that has incredible effects and huge ideas but fails on the emotional human level.
I think 2018 is going to be a great year for Olivia Cooke, not only with this, but also with THOROUGHBREDS. I feel she is going to be the heart and soul of this film and I left this trailer even more excited that she is involved. I say this as someone who loved her work in BATES MOTEL and think she is a superstar in the making. That was another smart move by the marketing team is to focus on the other characters that will shape Wade played by Tye Sheridan in this film. It gives you that sense of unity that the 80’s Spielberg films captured so well.
I just loved this trailer and feel if this would of been the marketing from the get go, there would be even MORE interest in the film. I hope this film picks up steam, is a great film, and makes money. I want more of these films. I hope my gut instinct is right in being all in on this film now. I can’t wait to see it and I truly think it is going to be a great sci-fi adventure film for the whole family to enjoy! I’m going to trust my gut on this one and say it will achieve that. We will find out soon enough, and until then, lets enjoy the hype and build up. All I know is that I am ALL IN on READY PLAYER ONE. Are you?!
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