Futuristic action comedy Ready Player One hit box offices yesterday (Mar. 29). Based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, the film tells the tale of Wade Watts, who lives in a borderline dystopian, virtual reality-ruled version of Columbus, Ohio. The film takes place in 2045, but the soundtrack includes familiar tunes that have stood the test of time.
Wade’s real life frankly sucks. He lives in a cramped trailer (like most middle-class Columbusites in 2045) with his aunt after losing both of his parents. But he and the entire population of Columbus find their instantly-gratifying escape in a VR universe called the OASIS, where literally anything is possible.
The OASIS was founded by Wade’s hero, James Halliday, who then made an unbelievable fortune from the digital world before he died. Within the OASIS lies a special Easter Egg, which Wade — and everyone else who spends most of their time in the OASIS — is determined to obtain by completing and winning a complex contest. Why? Because it contains Halliday’s fortune.
Ready Player One juxtaposes this Black Mirror-esque universe with an abundance of 1980s music and film references throughout, all tying into Halliday’s love for the era’s pop culture. Although there are many, here’s just a few of the best musical moments in Ready Player One.
Van Halen, “Jump”
?What better way to kick off a film than with an adrenaline-pumping track that would’ve come out 61 years before said film’s setting? The opening scene of Ready Player One shows Wade venturing through the streets of Columbus as we get flyover panoramic views of his hometown, with this classic Van Halen track blaring in the background. Marty McFly, is that you?
Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
As viewers are taken into a more in-depth introduction to the late mogul that is James Halliday, the instantly recognizable guitar riffs of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” twinkle during the montage. Very fitting, considering Halliday still pretty much rules the world, even after his death.
Blondie, “One Way or Another”
Wade’s on the hunt for Halliday’s money, even more so when he gets one step closer. Inserting this Blondie new wave anthem was a no-brainer, as the song’s driving beat and determined lyric speak for themselves.
Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive”
Have you ever gone on a first date with somebody at a dance club in a virtual reality, and then proceeded to have a disco party with their avatar? Parzevol has, and he selected this groovy ’70s tune to impress love interest Art3mis, who instantly approves.
Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Naturally, an ill-intentioned organization was in cahoots to derail Wade and company on their quest for the prize. When an ambush breaks out, Parzevol channels his inner John Cusak by lifting a roaring boombox — but not to win over a love interest with some Peter Gabriel. Instead, this rowdy song plays to assert the good guys’ stance.
Hall & Oates, “You Make My Dreams”
As the credits roll to close out this film, arguably one of the most uplifting songs of the ’80s wraps up the soundtrack. The chorus perfectly accompanies one of the film’s standout messages: “Reality is real.”