A Whole New World of VR Storytelling

virtual reality
by Amy Doherty
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Movie tie-ins previously popular as books and games are being rejuvenated with virtual reality. It’s an intriguing experiment between an innovative medium yet to really hit the mainstream, and film industry marketing – always looking to break through the competition.

From an early VR tie-in with the drama, Wild, where you are immersed in the nature of the Pacific Coast Trail with Reese Witherspoon, to testing your bravery with Scare Tactics – an Australian horror film and VR, to piloting an X-wing in Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing VR, VR film extensions are gaining momentum. The VR experiences can expand the narrative universe allowing an audience to transport themselves into the film’s world, and occasionally become an interactive participant. The more they achieve the latter, the more VR seems to be successful.

Here are a selection of current and upcoming films that would be thrilling to experience in VR:

Red Dog: True Blue

Roadshow Films

Roadshow Films

Imagine traveling with the Red Cloud Kelpie along on his adventures throughout the stunning Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Not only to serve as a tourism event, but it would be a unique opportunity to experience life alongside or even from the legendary dog’s point of view.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Why let Eddie Redmayne have all the fun in the Harry Potter spinoff, when you could visit 1926 New York City on the search for magical creatures. Picture experiencing the magic in everyday life hidden from muggles, from flying dishes and secret wizard departments to exploring Newt Scamander’s impossible briefcase of wonders.

 

Moana

Disney Studios

Disney Studios

How about stepping into a sweeping Disney musical? VR is made to immerse yourself in a 3D CG-animated adventure like Moana, where in Ancient Polynesia where you could meet or be the courageous Moana, who travels with the powerful demi-god Maui, and together explore mighty oceans.

 

Arrival

Jan Thijs

Jan Thijs / Paramount

The acclaimed American sci-fi hit is a perfect fit for VR, with characters in the film attempting to communicate with aliens through protective gear and technology, not unlike headsets and consoles. More than just a puzzle to make contact and understand the visitors, but a chance to explore inside the aliens’ extraordinary pod and get a sense of the scale of the towering creatures.

 

Get Out

Universal

Universal

Horror VR experiences are a popular genre within VR, even just for the highly watched youtube reviews, so the upcoming race-driven thriller by Jordan Peele is almost a no-brainer.

Discover in VR if you could survive as a watched stranger in the tense, affluent estate among a privileged and secretive community. Experience the paranoia, put together clues and uncover the ugly secret as you are hypnotised and no longer in control. How long could you go before you’d have to get out…

 

Lion

Long Way Home Productions 2015 / The Weinstein Company

Long Way Home Productions 2015 / The Weinstein Company

The Australian-American-British drama depicting the true story of Saroo; a young Indian boy adopted by Australians after getting separated from his family and his search later to locate them, may not seem like a natural choice for VR. Live-action dramas are still trying to find their place in VR, a medium that compels interactivity that can be stymied by such a strict narrative focus, often leaving the user in a passive-witness role.

But with the real life story behind Lion, technology; in particular Google Earth, was key in solving the mystery and thankfully now Google Earth has joined VR. Teleport to experience treasured memories for clues and use the dynamic maps to search Indian stations and towns to trace back the journey and you could discover Saroo’s long lost home.

by Amy Doherty
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