Ready Player One and the Holy Grail

People watching Ready Player One will like it for a number of reasons. Some will love the game and pop culture elements that are interwoven in the story. Some will love the music used in the film. Some will probably love the resolution of the story. Personally, what I found interesting was the elements from Arthurian and the Holy Grail Legends. I would agree to what Aronstein and Thompson said in their abstract,”… it is a a Grail tale for the Twitter-PS4-Wii generation masquerading as a postmodern techno-bildungsroman”.

Aronstein, Susan & Thompson, Jason. (2015). Coding the Grail: Ready Player One’s Arthurian Mash-Up. Arthuriana. 25. 51-65. 10.1353/art.2015.0045. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (2011) is a Grail tale for the Twitter-PS4-Wii generation masquerading as a postmodern techno-bildungsroman.

Aronstein and Thompson was of course talking about the book. How much is this retained in Spielberg’s adaptation?

A lot, There are seven reasons that can be cited to prove this:

1. The film story is a quest for Holy Grail of the game or the control of the virtual world called of Oasis and its company.

2. The creators of the game mirrors the dynamic between Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot.

3. The protagonist avatar is named after the Grail Hero Percival.

There are several salutes to Arthurian themed films like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Camelot and Excalibur.

4. The awkwardness and melancholy of Arthur in Oasis creator James Halliday.

5. The dynamics and sub plots between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot is mirrored in by James Halliday, Karen/Kira Underwood, and Ogden Morrow in the film.

6. The presence of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch in the film — which originally came from Monthy Python and the Holy Grail.

7. The charm of making used in the film can be seen first in John Boorman’s Excalibur.

Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha

As in all Grail stories the quest is a journey of enlightrnment and self improvent that brings about the healing of the land and the ailing King for the land and the king is one. Somethomg mentioned near the end of Excalibur.

In closing, There maybe no medieval knights or wizards in this tale but fortunately beneath all its modern and future elements the film is at its core still of Percival and the Holy Grail. In the end the film reminded me of a number things from games, anime, the Iron Giant and Camelot:




Monthy Pythom and the Holy Grail

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