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Shout Out / Ready Player One (2018)

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Given the kind of movie this is, it's more than a given that it's going to be filled to the brim with an absolutely ridiculous number of cameos, shout-outs, and references to a bunch of other pop culture works. It's practically Shout-Out: The Movie.

For the original novel, see here.

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    Anime & Manga References 
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The RX-78-2 Gundam appears and strikes the pose of the ZZ Gundam.
  • AKIRA: Art3mis uses a skin for her motorbike that has the same appearance as Kaneda's bike.
  • The Mach 5 from Speed Racer can be seen near the DeLorean.
  • The Swordfish from Cowboy Bebop can be seen in the background of Aech's workshop.
  • Voltron:
    • The final battle takes place on Planet Doom from Voltron: Defender of the Universe.
    • The Blue Lion from the original series is in the melee.
  • The story's conclusion, with Wade receiving full ownership and control of the OASIS from Halliday, its creator, in the form of a Golden Egg, is reminiscent of how Kirito receives the World Seed (also in the form of a golden egg) from Akihiko Kayaba, and with it, the power to create and modify virtual worlds, in the Alfheim Online Arc of Sword Art Online.
  • Hello Kitty avatars show up in both Wade's exposition about how you can be anyone in the OASIS, together with Keroppi and Badtz-Maru, and later in the Halliday Journals building after Parzival finds the first key.

    Comic Book References 

    Film References 
  • To Star Wars:
    • Helen's suit has a Rebel Alliance patch.
    • Samantha greets Wade in the real world with "Welcome to the Rebellion".
    • Parzival's belt holster looks like Han's.
    • After Parzival wins the first challenge, Anorak says "Nice racing, Padawan".
    • Sorrento also offers to get him his own Millennium Falcon if he joins IOI to complete the last two challenges.
    • A Princess Leia avatar can be seen walking around in the OASIS.
    • Stormtroopers can be seen fighting in an all-world battle for an artifact.
    • Before the nightclub scene, an X-Wing and a Lambda-class shuttle can be seen among the spacecraft flying towards the planet.
    • One of the guests intimidated by I-R0k at the Distracted Globe is a Twi'lek.
    • At the end, in the apartment, R2-D2 can be seen in the living room sitting next to a TV.
  • And while we're on the subject of Star Wars, in Aech's garage, you can see Lone Star's Winnebago/ship from Spaceballs.
  • The dance hall has the exterior of the Space Station V from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • To Back to the Future:
    • Parzival's DeLorean.
    • Art3mis calls Parzival "McFly" in one scene, after Marty McFly, the protagonist of BTTF and the most frequent driver of the DeLorean.
    • The "Zemeckis Cube". Not only is it named after the director, but it's accompanied by musical stings from the movie when activated.
    • Doc Brown in his 2015 outfit walks by in a crowd.
    • Aech has a campaign flyer for Mayor "Goldie" Wilson in his workshop by his mirror.
  • Aech's Iron Giant.
  • While examining Aech's collection of models, Parzival asks if he has a "Harkonnen dropship", likely from Dune.
  • One of the models is the Valley Forge from Silent Running.
  • During the second test, a huge part of it references, and sort of extends, a key scene from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
  • Gremlins:
    • A gremlin can be seen during the charge of the avatars after Parzival sends out a call to arms.
    • Another reference to the movie is when we're first introduced to I-R0k. He acquires the Orb of Osuvox for Sorrento from the Steampunk Pirate captain. When presenting it to Sorrento, it is in the same carrying box that was used for Gizmo in the original film.
  • During the final battle, Sorrento boards the massive Mechagodzilla to try to lay waste to the heroes. Appropriately enough, it's accompanied by Alan Silvestri's arrangement of Akira Ifukube's Godzilla theme.
  • King Kong appears early on during the race, being the final obstacle before the finish line.
  • RoboCop
    • Robocop himself can be seen walking around in the OASIS.
    • During the race, when Art3mis jumps her bike to continue on, in one shot, you can see the Delta City billboard from the movie.
    • Also in Aech's Garage, you can spot an ED-209 in the background in one shot. In addition, several ED-209-style mechs — most notably, IOI's mechs — participate in the final battle.
  • Among the enemies Aech blasts through in his hunt near the start of the film, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees get caught on the wrong end of his gun.
  • During the scene at the Journals after Parzival obtains the First Key, Art3mis drags him off in a digital Goro costume. Then a chestburster pops out of Goro, leading to Art3mis appearing making rather silly chomping noises.
  • Child's Play: The heroes use a Chucky doll to great effect during the final battle.
  • Parzival meets Art3mis at the Distracted Globe nightclub wearing a Buckaroo Banzai outfit.
  • As Aech's Iron Giant dies in the lava during the final battle on Planet Doom, it makes the same thumbs up gesture as the T-800 in Terminator 2.
  • Wade refers to a number of situations and people as Halliday's Rosebud.
  • Excalibur: The incantation to activate/deactivate the Orb of Asuvox powering the magic shield around Castle Anorak is the Charm of Making.
  • Last Action Hero: During the race, a marquee for the latest Jack Slater movie can be seen.
  • The cyclops from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is glimpsed at various points.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The Holy Hand Grenade is a Chekhov's Gun in the final battle.
  • The Tyrannosaurus rex that attacks the racers in the first challenge has the physical appearance and uses the same roars as the one featured in Jurassic Park.
  • When Sorrento meets I-R0k he's seen walking from under the wreckage of a Martian spacecraft from the 1953 The War of the Worlds and its 1980s followup TV series.
  • The Glaive from Krull is what Sho uses to slice off I-R0k's arm.
  • When the Iron Giant makes the bridge to get everyone across the lava, it mimics a similar scene from Superman: The Movie with Superman providing a railing to get a train across.
  • Halliday's funeral has him in a photon torpedo casket similar to Spock's death at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Art3mis uses the M41A Pulse Rifle and its under-slung grenade launcher from the Aliens during the IOI ambush at the Distracted Globe nightclub.
  • Art3mis uses several iconic handguns throughout the film, including the "Lawgiver II" from the movie version of Judge Dredd.
  • Among the weapons used by Aech on planet Doom, there is also the EM-1 Railgun from Eraser.
  • When the High Five hijack access to Sorrento's rig in order to get Samantha out of IOI captivity, Daito is seen sporting the same suit and pistol with silencer used by the character of Cobb during the first Mind Heist sequence of Inception. Seems rather fitting, considering what they are pulling a Mind Heist for information on Sorrento by making him think he's in the real world instead of a digital recreation of his office. There is also the scene of the heroes in a truck being chased by cars while Wade inside is pushed around and his movements are filtering into the virtual reality level.
  • In one shot from the above mentioned scene, Daito's eyes are seen glowing in the same manner as the replicants from Blade Runner.
  • Daito's avatar appears to be modeled after Toshiro Mifune who is best known for Yojimbo and Seven Samurai.
  • When Halliday is looking for the egg to give to Parzival, and explaining why he created the OASIS, he paraphrases a quote by Groucho Marx of The Marx Brothers. The same quote is used in the book's notation for Level 2. It goes as follows: "I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal."
  • The way vehicle models transform themselves into normal sizes is reminiscent of how vehicles in TRON: Legacy formed themselves when deployed.
  • The first avatar to recognize Parzival when he enters the Halliday Journals is Beetlejuice.
  • When Art3mis asks Parzival about Halliday's favorite quote, Parzival answers that it's a quote from Superman: The Movie spoken by Lex Luthor: "Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe."
  • The most recent incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appear in the final battle, as well as their players.
  • Robby The Robot from Forbidden Planet can be seen in Wade's apartment at the end.
  • The entire dance sequence between Parzival and Art3mis set to "Staying Alive" by The BeeGees, accompanied by the iconic dance floor from the film Saturday Night Fever.
    • This one is a multilayered Easter Egg. Director John Badham, who directed SNF, directed WarGames and Short Circuit. All three films were referenced in the book as well (for SNF, Wade mentions using a dance program named after John Travolta. WarGames was used as the First Gate Challenge. Short Circuit is referenced in the book when Wade describes a service bot he used to bring down the shield over Anorak's castle, saying the programmer who made the bot lazily copied the design of Johnny Five).
      • A WarGames poster is visible outside the cinema at the start of the The Shining sequence, and the base plot - cracking a computer system through researching the life and times of the person who developed it - is pure WarGames (viz. Lightman cracking the WOPR).
  • The Last of the V8 Interceptors from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior can be spotted at the starting line of the race challenge.
  • In the first race, the semi truck pulling the log trailer that Art3mis and Parzival slide under, but the IOI members crash into, is the Pork Chop Express from the John Carpenter film Big Trouble in Little China.
  • During the introduction of the IOI's Oology department, on one of the screens in the background is a map of what is suppose to be New York City. However, the map is actually a screencapture of the Manhattan Island Prison from the John Carpenter classic Escape from New York.
  • The magic barrier created by the Orb of Osuvox uses the same effect as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Several thin beams of energy extend from the orb, which then start forming the barrier when they've reached a certain point.
  • The stolen bicycle from Pee-wee's Big Adventure is just inside the front door of Aech's workshop.
  • A building with a Silvercup sign, which was also in Highlander, can be seen during the race while King Kong trashes the place.
  • Sho's vehicle of choice is a 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am, the same model and make used by Bandit in Smokey and the Bandit.
  • Simon Pegg uses a Noël Coward -like accent as the Curator.

    Literature References 
  • [[King Arthur, Arthurian Legend]]: Parzival is the German rendering of the name Percival, the knight who finds the Holy Grail. Percival and the Holy Grail are both featured in the film, which is based off the Arthurian legend.
  • Gone: During the climax, I-R0k's avatar loses an arm, and in a later scene, it is replaced with a tentacle, much like what happened to Drake Merwin.
  • The Shining: The film adaptation is acknowledged as being based on the Stephen King novel, which he considered a Disowned Adaptation.

    Live-Action TV References 
  • The Batmobile from the 1960's Batman series can be seen in the first challenge.
  • KITT's red scanner bar from Knight Rider is mounted into the front of Parzival's DeLorean.
  • The Robot from Lost in Space can be seen as a toy that Halliday handles briefly while telling Parzival why he created the contest before giving him the Egg.
  • The van from The A-Team appears as one of the race vehicles in the first challenge.
  • Daito enters the final battle leaping out of Serenity.
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • One of the weapons used by Parzival at the final gate is a Colonial Blaster.
    • Also, in Aech's Garage, not only does he have a TOS Battlestar Galactica model in the Fraggle Rock lunch box, but he also has a full-size Cylon Raider hanging on a wall and a Colonial Viper from the original series as well in the background in one shot.
  • The Gundam's time limit comes from Ultraman, whose rights could not be acquired for the movie.
  • The TARDIS from Doctor Who is visible in Aech's workshop.
  • A Klingon Bat'leth is sitting on a stand next to the window in the final scene.
  • A figure with a protrusion on its head appears to be a Demogorgon. It is seen fighting an IOI soldier at approximately 1:36:45
  • At 1:36:43, Teen Wolf appears to dive across the frame.
  • A sticker with the 「中」 symbol of The Greatest American Hero appears on one of the earphones of the VR goggles that Wade uses in Helen's van.
  • When giving Parzival his speech while looking for the Egg to give him, one of the items he is shown holding in his hand while searching is a toy of the Robot from the classic Lost in Space TV series (it's in his hand when he says "I was afraid for all my life").

    Music References 
  • Diminishing their relevance considerably from the book plot, a Rush poster can be seen in Halliday's bedroom near the end of the movie. Helen also wears a shirt with a Rush design in the real world.
  • Before the nightclub scene, Parzival is trying on outfits to impress Art3mis. Pop goes the Michael Jackson reference, when he briefly does a bit of the Thriller dance in Michael's iconic red outfit from the video. Not to mention a brief Prince outfit a la Purple Rain and a jacket for the Dead Kennedys when switching to a punk style.
  • Bartenders at the Distracted Globe club wear a red "energy dome" hat like the ones worn by Devo. One of them even has "Devo" written on their chest.
  • Samantha's first outfit we see involves a Joy Division Unknown Pleasures shirt.

    Tabletop Game References 
  • The infamous Emerald Demon Mouth of the Tomb of Horrors is stenciled onto the rear of Aech's van.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons logo can be seen when Parzival is shopping.
  • During the impassioned speech near the end, He makes a reference to Goldmines of Gygax.
  • An Eldar warrior from Warhammer 40,000 can be seen during the final battle.
  • A twenty sided die appears multiple times; the Orb of Osuvox is one inside a crystal ball, and the rig Wade uses at the end has two d20 decals on it.

    Video Game References 
  • To Street Fighter:
    • Many characters can be seen everywhere in the movie, such as Ryu walking between the vehicles before the start of the race, and Blanka dancing with Chun-Li at the Distracted Globe. Chun-Li and E. Honda are also fighting for the Artifact early in the story. They later take part in the final battle on Planet Doom.
    • Parzival's absolutely epic HADOUKEN! to Sorrento's avatar in the final confrontation. Also, the Groin Attack after that is executed in a manner very similar to Guile's Flash Kick.
  • Overwatch: Tracer is a prominent foreground character, and is one of the leaders in the final battle. Reaper can also be spotted in Halliday's archives.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Harley Quinn, in her outfit from Batman: Arkham Knight, is one of the guests intimidated by I-R0k at the Distracted Globe.
    • The Joker can also be spotted in the club.
    • Arkham Knight, the titular villain himself, is seen exiting the Halliday Journals building just before a crowd greets Parzival inside.
  • BattleBorn characters Miko, Attikus, Montana, Ambra, El Dragon, Shayne, Aurox, and Benedict can be seen in the background of various scenes.
  • The Battletoads, Rash, Zitz and Pimple, can be spotted in the beginning scenes, at The Distracted Globe nightclub, and are part of the vanguard in the final battle. Here, they appear in their Killer Instinct reboot forms.
  • Halo:
    • In the final battle, one of the first to show up to assist is a squad of SPARTAN-II.
    • A number of Halo weapons, including the MA5B Assault Rifle and SPNKR Missile Launcher, were also used by the main heroes as well.
  • Several Atari 2600 games are seen and referenced directly by name, such as Joust, Centipede, Adventure, Pitfall and Swordquest.
  • Minecraft World is one of the worlds in the OASIS shown at the start.
  • Near the start of the film, Aech can be seen destroying his way through a number of enemies hunting for an Artifact, including Duke Nukem.
    • The extra Railgun tossed to Parzival in the final battle is straight out of Duke Nukem Forever.
    • Also, Duke's iconic 1911 handguns with the nuke symbols on their grips can be see when i-R0k meets Sorrento to give him the Orb of Osuvox.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog can be seen near the beginning. He also attends to the final battle, performing a Homing Attack.
  • To Mortal Kombat:
    • After Parzival nabs the Copper/First Key, he goes to the Halliday Journals and gets mobbed by a number of avatars. Out of nowhere Goro pops out and drags him away. After it's revealed that it's actually a disguise Art3mis is wearing, she starts telling him that he's famous now and can't just go around everywhere without a disguise. And while the Chestburster that emerged from Goro is more of a shout-out to the Alien franchise, it also doubles as a reference to Mortal Kombat X, where the Xenomorph was a Guest Fighter.
    • Toshiro wears a Mortal Kombat pin.
    • Statues of several other Mortal Kombat characters are in the shrine with the Golden Egg, along with those shaped like the dragon from the series logo.
    • Kitana from Mortal Kombat (2011) is one of the avatars that Aech takes out before taking out Duke Nukem at the start of the film.
    • As the final battle begins, the camera cuts right through the middle of the action. Right after Sonic performs a homing attack on an IOI soldier, Scorpion is briefly seen delivering a roundhouse kick to another IOI soldier's head.
    • Though they are film characters, the versions of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees used in the film are from the Netherrealm Mortal Kombat games. The version of Freddy that was used is from Mortal Kombat (2011) DLC and the mobile version of Mortal Kombat X, where he had dual gloves, and is the first one taken out by Aech before he takes out Kitana and Duke Nukem. The version of Jason used is from the regular version of Mortal Kombat X. He is taken out by Sho and Daito at the start of the film and can be seen as one of the avatars taken out by the Cataclyst.
  • Near the end of the movie, the gang is in Helen's van and being chased by IOI, and Wade complains why there's so much thrashing around...
    Helen: Just practicing my Mario Kart!
  • The avatar used by Wade's aunt's boyfriend Rick is James Raynor from the StarCraft series. Though the skin itself is the Stars n Stripes variant from Heroes of the Storm.
  • There are references to some classic arcade games made by Midway Games, including Defender, Robotron 2084, and Joust. Sorrento offers the ship from the former as a bonus if Wade joins IOI, and some enemies from the latter are seen on Planet Doom at the start of the film.
  • Art3Mis pulls out a Lancer rifle from the Gears of War series to fight I-R0k during the final assault on the castle.
  • Lara Croft can be seen at several points in the movie, including during the final battle.
  • Aech's van has the words "Sinistar Lives" graffiti'd on the left side.
  • A Borderlands logo can be seen during Parzival's shopping spree. Beneath it is what appears to be Claptrap.
  • It might be the lowest-key shoutout of the bunch, but the tattooed guy who kidnaps Wade to bring him to Samantha's hideout might have drawn inspiration from a similar tattoo on one Garrus Vakarian.
  • A background character can be seen in the background performing the Aether technique on a IOI soldier in the background.
  • A Warcraft orc can be seen off to the right when we first see Wade's avatar. Another one is during the Battle of Planet Doom, if one watches closely as the two armies collied there is an Orc who looks suspiciously similar to Grommash Hellscream wielding his trademark axe being one of the first to fight and taking down multiple sixers all in one swing and less than 10 seconds of screen time.
  • ''Tekken: In the final confrontation with Sorrento, Parzival uses a one-two punch into flip kick attack. This, combined with Parizal's silver hair and hair style, makes him strongly resemble the character Lee Chaolan for a few moments.

    Web Original References 
  • Ruby Rose of RWBY drops in during the final battle, wielding her trademark weapon Crescent Rose. She can be seen in the background in the shot where the troop of SPARTANS run past.
  • It's arguable whether this is a Halo or a Red vs. Blue reference, but a Spartan wielding an Energy Sword can be seen fighting in the background of the big battle on Planet Doom, and most people argue that this is Tucker.

    Western Animation References 
  • The symbol on Parzival's belt is the Thunder Cats logo.
  • Marvin the Martian can be seen in the beginning scene.
  • The Deora II can be briefly seen during the first race sequence.
  • During the final battle against Mechagodzilla, Art3mis uses a grenade in the shape of a Madballs Dust Brain toy to destroy it.
  • Among the machines in Aech's shop is Maggie Weston's Field Repair E-Frame from Exosquad. It can first be seen in the background when Art3mis "fixes" Parzival's hair, between Parzival and the Winnebago. Multiple versions of the E-Frame can be seen in the Planet Doom battle.

    Real-Life References 
  • As befitting the presentation of the ultimate prize in OASIS as supremely majestic and heavenly, Wade finds the Easter Egg in a vast room heavily inspired by the grandiose central canopy and altar at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.
  • One of the weapons Wade tries to use in the Distracted Globe, which also shows up as one of the empty weapons in Art3mis' inventory during the final battle, is the StarLyte blaster from the Lazer Tag game by World of Wonder.
  • Wade mentions watching Art3mis's Twitch stream.
  • In the race at the beginning, Aech drives the monster truck Bigfoot.


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