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Ready Player One is Already Polarizing Fans and Critics

Critics are praising Spielerg's direction, but the problems from the novel persist.

News by Matt Kim, .

Ready Player One, based on the Ernest Cline novel of the same name, had its premiere this weekend at music and culture festival SXSW with reviews published the morning after. While the initial impressions on Twitter seemed largely positive, the mood surrounding the film is decidedly mixed.

When the first trailer for Ready, Player One hit the internet last summer at San Diego Comic-Con, it was met with a fierce backlash from social media. Users posted whole passages from the novel to underscore how large portions of the book's opening segments dedicated to slathering as many pop-cultural references in a single paragraph. The reactions were strong enough to make readers rethink early, glowing reviews of the novel.

However, the Ready Player One film—directed by Steven Spielberg—premiered this weekend amid the same social media-driven skepticism of the source material. And the reception has been good, with critics saying that Spielberg has done it again, or that he's improved the source material. Here's a sample of social media impressions from the critics at SXSW that were positive.

Many of the praise is given to Spielberg's direction, but many of the positive comments also reflect how much people just love seeing the pop-culture plethora of Cline's original novel. Much like the novel, the film's use of pop-culture references through the lens of Steven Spielberg proved to be an unstoppable hit, rather than the head-scratching overkill the critics of Ready Player One thought it would be.

Yet the critiques against the film still largely mirror the critiques against the book in a way that suggests if you didn't like reading Ready Player One, the film might not be for you either.

The negative reviews of the film touch on all the same problems that Cline's original novel also suffered from. Namely that this is a film that wants its audience to feel special for understanding geeky references across pop-culture. One io9 review negatively called the film an "orgy of nostalgia."

So it seems that ultimately, Ready Player One is exactly what people thought it would be based on the novel, the only difference is whether or not you'll be taken in by Spielberg's scope and vision when it came to translating the source material, or if you'll be bogged down by its pop-culture excess.

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