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Ready Player One Early Reviews Give Spielberg A High Score

It sounds like Steven Spielberg has booted up another hit.

His upcoming nostalgia-fueled sci-fi epic Ready Player One premiered over the weekend at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and critics are calling it "classic Spielberg." Despite a sound glitch during the screening, most of the early reviews are glowing, and it's a good sign for a flick that could've been buried beneath its own weighty premise.

Based on Ernest Cline's 2011 book of the same name, Ready Player One is set in the year 2045, when most of the world is in the midst of extreme poverty. To escape the dreariness of the real world, people immerse themselves in the virtual playground called OASIS, co-created by a billionaire genius named James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves behind a trail of clues for players to find the ultimate easter egg — one that will give the winner ownership of his company. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphan who uses the name Parzival inside the OASIS, embarks upon a quest to win the game, but he faces an evil corporate drone (Ben Mendelsohn) who makes the stakes dangerously real. Throughout, the movie is loaded with pop culture references from the '80s and '90s including nods to everything from Back to the Future to the Tomb Raider video games.

Variety's Owen Gleiberman called the movie a "dizzyingly propulsive virtual-reality fanboy geek-out," while Eric Kohn of IndieWire said it's Spielberg's "biggest crowdpleaser in years."

Check out the response to the premiere below and prepare for Ready Player One to hit theaters on March 30.