Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

With ‘Ready Player One,’ director Steven Spielberg takes stab at his first-ever ‘cli-fi’ movie

Ernest Cline’s popular teen novel “Ready Player One” has been adapted into a Hollywood cli-fi movie by Steven Spielberg and it’s due to worldwide release in April of 2018. So you gotta wait a few months or more before you can enter the theater and watch it. But for the time being, know that this movie may be Spielberg’s first foray into climate-fiction scenarios, also known as cli-fi.

Released as a trailer, this preview shot comes from early in the film, and sees Wade Watts (Mr. Tye Sheridan) in his junkyard hideout hooked up into the video game VR world of the OASIS, escaping from the drudgery of living in a dinky, towered trailer with his aunt in the grim future of 2045. In the original novel, the date was 2044, and the setting was Oklahoma. Now the setting is Columbus, Ohio. Hollywood changes things for attract more eyeballs and ticket sales. They’re good at it.

Says one film critic: “While ‘changes — most notably the fact that Wade isn’t an overweight teenager whose only exercise in the poverty-ridden ‘stacks’ he lives in is using a bike to charge the batteries for his OASIS headset, perhaps hinting that at least some aspects of the novel’s wish-fulfillment in Wade’s journey might be trimmed from the film — what’s readily apparent is the fact that the world of pop culture references and brand allusions is alive and well in Spielberg’s version of the movie.”

A brief plot summary of the novel, as described by its author. In 2045, the material world is a hellish dystopia, for various reasons: “The ongoing energy crisis. Catastrophic climate change. Widespread famine, poverty, and disease. Half a dozen wars,” Ernest Cline writes.

So as you can see from the PR trailer here, climate change, while not the main theme of the movie, sets the scenario on fire, and this is surely a Spielbergian stab at being relevant in today’s Age of Cli-Fi.

About the Author
Danny Bloom is editor of The Cli-Fi Report at www.cli-fi.net. Danny graduated from Tufts University in Boston in 1971 with a major in Yiddish Literature. A newspaper editor and reporter since his days in Alaska, Japan and Taiwan, he has lived and worked in 14 countries and speaks French, Japanese and Chinese. He hopes to live until 2032, when his tombstone will read "I came, I saw, I ate cho-dofu."
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