The movie, like the book, presents Cheryl Strayed’s tale of her lonely trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Fans of the book can now spend several immersive minutes in the deep wilderness with Reese Witherspoon, who plays Ms. Strayed in the Fox Searchlight Pictures film about the adventure. On any smartphone.
Wild—The Experience, incorporates VR scenes
in which Reese Witherspoon portraying Cheryl Strayed, the real-life woman who hiked a thousand miles to help cope with her mother’s death and wrote a book about the journey.
A poignant glance is all it takes, actually. That may not seem like much, but it validates the idea that you can tell a story in virtual reality, while also giving the public a choice on whether to fully participate or not.
So far, the best VR experiences are mostly just ads that belong to some corporation’s marketing campaign, because that’s where the money is now. But that could change. YouTube just started adding support for 360-degree video and many companies are developing all sorts of additions and new products that aim to incorporate VR experience.
20th Century Fox, is apparently sponsoring this particular Felix & Paul effort. Their interest in VR is quite obvious, lately – the The Verge and Fox have been recently admitting to take into consideration a potential collaboration.
It is a three-minute, 360-degree, virtual reality encounter with Ms. Witherspoon in character as Ms. Strayed, as she lugs her backpack through the trees and plunks down next to the viewer.
As Ms. Witherspoon turns to look at the viewer, the reflex of the viewer to look over the shoulder brings into the view fields another character that is sitting on a rock, opposite from her.
“it was about the intimacy,” said Félix Lajeunesse,one of the artists directing theVR scenes of the movie. He and his business partner, Paul Raphael, decided to use no computer-generated effects in this part of the movie.
For 20th Century Fox is definitely making an entrance in recreating the boundaries of home entertainment. “Probably for our business, it’s going to be an in-home experience,” Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox’s home entertainment unit, said.
Ms. Witherspoon’s walk through the moving VR scene was assembled by the Fox Innovation Lab and uses software from Oculus. Right now, “Wild — The Experience” is presented like an attempt to create a promotional event, having the only purpose of grabbing attention on this phenomenon. It surely has managed to do so with great success.