Ready Player One’s 10 Coolest Winks

From the less spoiler to the more spoiler.
Ready Player One finally arrives in clear on television and all those who grew up with the films and video games of the years 1970/1980/1990 will be able to have fun, this evening on TF1, to locate the (auto) references of Steven Spielberg to the screen. Première really liked this story of easter egg hunting , and we can’t resist the urge to come back to the film’s most striking nods to pop culture. Rather than ranking them from best to worst, here we choose a top “least to most spoiler” . So if you read these lines before seeing RPO you will be able to appreciate part of the article. But, if so, stop halfway : if the first winks have all been seen in the various trailers, it would be a shame to spoil the surprise of the last.


  1. Jurassic Park’s T-Rex crosses paths with Last Action Hero’s Jack Slater
    Steven Spielberg quickly made it known that he planned to limit self-references in Ready Player One . Even though Ernest Cline’s novel is filled with nods to the work of the director of ET, Indiana Jones and Encounters of the Third Kind , and the filmmaker is even mentioned by name as a major influence of the pop culture, Spielberg assured that his adaptation would not be egocentric.


The director, who has often played the game of “easter eggs” during his career, has nevertheless agreed to leave some references to his work, including one unveiled during the promotion of the film: the T-Rex of Jurassic Park . This is at the heart of the opening action scene, and there is another less flashy, but well thought out element: in the middle of the Speed ​​Racer chase , the hero walks past a cinema. showing the fake movie Jack Slater III . A nice nod to Last Action Hero , the brilliant comedy by John McTiernan with Arnold Schwarzenegger, released in 1993. At the time, it was in direct competition with Jurassic Park. at the box office, and it was the dinos that won. “No racune?” , seems to say Steven with this clever reference, which will appeal to moviegoers, without hampering the understanding of the plot: if we see it and we know the story between the two films, it’s very cool, but if we miss it, it has no impact on the history of Ready Player One .

  1. The Iron Giant to the rescue
    So far, we saw it from the very first teaser of the project: Brad Bird’s Iron Giant plays an important role in Ready Player One. No need to say more about it, because it is above all its symbolic place that is very interesting here. Indeed, the Warner Bros., the studio that produced the two films, accepted that this character be at the heart of the story, while when it was released in 1999, he had flopped in the United States, earning 23 million dollars for 70 of budget. This shows the growing popularity of this terribly endearing character, who subsequently found his audience on DVD and during his TV broadcasts. Not to mention that the Iron Giant is well brought into the story and is ultimately as touching as the original.

Note also that this is a sympathetic return to the sender on the part of the director, with whom Brad Bird worked at the start of his career: in the mid-1980s, he was hired as assistant director and screenwriter on his series Fantastic Stories , which has 43 episodes.


  1. Back to the future is at the heart of the concept
    Steven Spielberg may not have abused self-references, but he did not hesitate to wink at his friends. Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future trilogy , which he produced, was at the heart of the novel and is featured in the film on a regular basis. There’s of course the DeLorean, used very intelligently during the race, but you can also spot Doc at the start and end of the movie, and hear some notes from the awesome soundtrack from Alan Silvestri, who agreed to compose that of RPO and can thus have fun with his own work. Without forgetting the “Zemeckis cube” , a weapon with the name “meta”, which is very useful during the film (in the novel, the director gives his name to … a planet).


  1. “Let’s dance!” starring Michael Jackson, A-ha and The Saturday Night Fever Ready Player One’s
    tributes to pop culture since the 1970s also go through music. Alan Silvestri has fun covering excerpts from cult soundtracks, and Steven Spielberg has also chosen key songs of the time. If the group Rush was at the heart of the book, the blockbuster is notably punctuated by hits like “Take On Me” , by A-ha, whose half-live, half-drawn clip has marked the public since 1985.

The Saturday Night Fever (1977) also holds an important place on the screen, during a very successful dance scene where the two heroes fly in the air and imitate the sway of John Travolta.

There’s also a cute nod to Michael Jackson, when Parzival searches for an ideal outfit before heading out to the party. Among his outfit, he wears for a moment the famous red costume of “Thriller” , from the cult clip of John Landis , which dates back to 1982. An element which obviously echoes the incredible popularity of the star at the time, but which also recalls his friendship with Steven Spielberg. In 1989, the filmmaker notably agreed to appear in his “Liberian Girl” clip .

  1. Video games for all generations
    It is not only films that are mentioned in Ready Player One : video games are also very important. And there, the references are addressed to all generations, passing in bulk from Minecraft (created in 2011) to Joust (ostriches from the 1982 game appear for a short time at the beginning, when they were the subject of a test in the book), through the Arkham games , therefore, which have been successful since 2009, different versions of Zelda (which has changed a lot since 1986) or even Overwatch , which is not even two years old.

Attention, from here, the “easter eggs” spoil an element of the film

  1. Star Trek or Star Wars?
    Star Trek , answers Steven Spielberg here. Rumor had it that he hadn’t been able to get the rights to the saga from his buddy George Lucas, but he quickly denied it, saying there would be “an R2-D2 hiding in a corner” (a ” cameo game ” which he started in 1977 in Rencontres du Troisième Kind ), as well as some ships.


On the other hand, the saga of Gene Roddenberry is very present. Already multi-cited in Cline’s novel, she is mentioned in the film during the farewell message from James Halliday (Mark Rylance). In a crucial scene, therefore, since it is through this video that the creator of the OASIS launches the treasure hunt which will make it possible to designate his successor. In his Starfleet-branded casket-capsule, he speaks directly to his players / users, ready to pass on his legacy. Choosing Star Trek to symbolize such a scene is obviously no coincidence, the original series having had a huge influence on current science fiction.

  1. Batman, Superman and the heroes of DC Comics In
    order to obtain the rights to the films and games he wanted to name, Steven Spielberg and his team had to request numerous authorizations from different studios. The Warner Bros. unsurprisingly gave access to several successful licenses, including its superheroes: Batman appears for a joke at the beginning, then Harley Quinn, the Joker or Bat Girl (with the look of the new Arkham video games) pass furtively in the background. It is especially the reference to Superman that is well thought out, when Parzival tries to go unnoticed and Art3mis advises him to use Clark Kent’s technique. Glasses, a new haircut and, presto, you’re done.


Attention, from here on, the “easter eggs” REALLY spoil important scenes of the film.

  1. Adventure or the first “easter egg” in history
    This is the only proof of the book that was kept for the film: Adventure , released in 1979 on the Atari 2600, is famous for having hidden the first “easter egg” of the history of video games. At the end of Ready Player One , the goal is not to finish the game, but to find the pixel allowing access to the secret signature of its creator Warren Robinett. Readers of Ernest Cline’s novel are not surprised, but symbolically, including that first “easter egg” in the film was inevitable: it’s the very heart of the whole concept.
  2. The Holy Granada in homage to the Monty Python
    Also in the book, the Monty Python are regularly mentioned, and one of the tests discovered by Parzival (name which is obviously not chosen by chance) is to replay one of the cult scenes from the movie Sacred Grail !. The idea was taken up in the film, but with another reference, both very different and just as cult (see below). The writers Zak Penn and Ernest Cline still kept an excellent nod to this comedy: the Holy Granada. “It’s one of my favorite movies, and normally the characters fit into the novel, ” the author explained to us. There is a reference to that in the movie with the Holy Granada, even though Parzival doesn’t count to 3 or 5 before throwing it away. I know that annoys people, but I love the fact that we have this Holy Granada in the movie. “
  3. “There are no zombies in The Shining!”
    So we come to the craziest scene in the movie. In the middle of the story, the heroes enter The Shining to find a key. This is obviously a tribute from Steven Spielberg to one of his favorite directors, Stanley Kubrick, whose AI project he took over Artificial Intelligence shortly after his death. It is also a totally cult work for several generations of spectators, who like to be afraid in front of this adaptation of the novel by Stephen King and have not finished looking for hidden meanings. The craziest theories run around The Shining and in this, choose it as the “ultimate easter egg” is a brilliant idea. And let’s not forget that in 1980 it was already the Warner Bros. which supported the film worn by Jack Nicholson.


Additionally, making sure that one of the heroes (Aech) didn’t see The Shining and fall into all its traps provides excellent double reading. The “super-combo” at the end of the scene, when zombies invite themselves into the ballroom for a few dance steps, reminiscent of the ghosts of Disney’s Haunted House, finishes off terrifying / entertaining the spectators. It’s devilishly effective whether we’ve seen The Shining or not. In between, Chucky, Alien and Freddie Kruger, Spielberg and his team manage to cite major horror references in particularly clever ways in the middle of an all-public movie.

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