Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Ernest Cline's 2011 science fiction novel Ready Player One is not only a love letter to pop culture chock full of fun references, but also a sugar rush of eye candy with stunning visuals. The 2018 film won over audiences and critics alike and netted a whopping $583 million at the worldwide box office. It's fair to say that Spielberg's movie was a hit, uniting geeks across generations and the globe.
With such widespread appeal for Ready Player One comes the age-old debate with any movie about what the best part was, particularly with so many nostalgic elements and character appearances. It's possibly a deeply personal choice for some, from the iconic soundtrack to throwbacks to media they perhaps hadn't thought of in years, but in terms of plot and characterization, the other cameos can't hold a candle to a certain giant mech hero's surprise appearance.
As antagonist Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) seemingly had the film's leads on the ropes in battle as he chose Mechagodzilla as his avatar, all hope seemed lost. However, at the very last second, Daito (Win Morisaki) came to his friends' aid in a Deus ex Machina move as he transformed into RX-78-2 Gundam. The arrival was nothing short of majestic and a complete surprise perfectly apropos for battling against the legendary Toho Studios kaiju. The battle segment featuring the iconic mech was fast and powerful, ending far too quickly as Daito was unable to keep the form for an extended time. His efforts were not in vain, though, given the powerful blows he was able to deal to the monster with his beam saber.
The Gundam's appearance was a genuine surprise, as it's rather rare to see anything Gundam appear in Western media. But the surprise reveal, alongside the iconic match up of mecha versus kaiju, was truly the best part of the film. While the Gundam's glorious moment was short-lived, its arrival was significant as it makes one wonder how well a live-action Gundam film could be interpreted, let alone for a global audience particularly still unfamiliar with the quintessential Japanese pop culture icon. With Godzilla as a household name, it feels as if the robo series has a chance to make a landing in theatres, too. Fortunately, Legendary Entertainment, the studio behind the most recent Godzilla adaptations outside of Japan, is willing to take that chance.
Legendary Entertainment announced in July 2018 the co-production of a live-action Gundam film alongside the anime's parent company, Sunrise Inc. In March 2019, Legendary signed accomplished comic creator Brian K. Vaughan (Saga, Runaways, Y: The Last Man) to write the script. While very little is currently known about the upcoming production, the promise of a feature-length adaptation has fans beyond enthused. However, with the likelihood of it being at least a few years before the movie debuts due to its current status, as well as the varied state of the film industry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it leaves the timetable of when fans can expect to see a Gundam up close on the screen up in the air.
If you're too antsy for the movie's premiere, though, a quick trip to Japan might just help aid with your excitement, given its recent advancements with building a life-size, functional Gundam. The 59 foot, 55,000-pound titan is a full-scale Gundam replica and resides at Gundam Factory Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, Japan at Yamashita Pier. While the massive structure is primarily a steel skeleton constructed to appear like the legendary suits, seeing it towering above onlookers, let alone moving, is truly a sight to behold. The Gundam's gigantic head even had the honor of being blessed by Shinto priests in a jotoshiki ceremony, a religious service that prays for the safety of a structure after its completion, continuing to prove how significant the replica and its origin is to Japanese culture. The attraction opens December 19, 2020, and is sadly only open until March 2022. The future of the mech after its display at the factory is uncertain, but fingers crossed it will be to develop its functions even further, proving further that Gundam has a place in mainstream pop culture.
Ready Player One is produced and directed by Steven Spielberg from a script by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline. The film stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Win Morisaki, Lena Waithe, Hannah John-Kamen, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn, TJ Miller and Ralph Ineson.