Review written by Ryan Pijai
A young couple’s perfect day at the beach goes awry when they reveal their true feelings for each other. It is the first virtual reality (VR) film to feature dynamically changing, character specific voiceover. While the film is playing, you can look at either character to hear what that character is thinking.
I loved it. This is a great new approach to virtual reality storytelling. I want to see more films created using this technique.
The scene takes place on a beach with a woman and a man. On the surface it appears they are a bit cold to each other. As the story progresses, you start to hear voices even though none of the characters are talking to each other. What you are actually hearing is what the characters are thinking.
As you turn your virtual reality headset towards the woman, her thoughts are heard more clearly and the man’s thoughts fade into the background. The woman is furious with the man. She talks about wanting to kill him (and goes into great detail about how she would do it). She complains about how he just stands there and has no feelings.
When you turn your virtual reality headset towards the man, the woman’s voice fades out and you can hear the man’s thoughts. His inner monologue is about his love for the woman, his concerns for the future, and how he feels like he has failed her.
The couple come together and embrace at the end.
The film was very short, but it was enough to give me a taste of what future films using this technique could be like. Here are some observations I made.
- Book-to-Movie Translations: One difference between books and movies based on books is that books tend to focus more on character thoughts, whereas movies focus on what is actually spoken by the characters. Giving viewers the power to dive into the minds of characters could provide a new mechanism for how we interpret books into movies.
- Rewatchability: Imagine watching your favorite movie and having the power to learn more about what your favorite characters are thinking during any scene of it. How many times would you rewatch the movie? Each viewing would be different because you could focus on different character perspectives and gain new insights. I am reminded of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and how the author of it masterfully retells the same story several times but through different view points. Each new replaying of scenes adds more to the story and changes your opinions of all the other characters in the novel until finally the full story is revealed. I believe the creators of New Wave have shown us a new way we can accomplish that same powerful technique in film.