You know what's even more exciting than all the incredible movies being released in 2017? The prospect of being able to experience them in a truly immersive fashion— not with poorly-made video game adaptations, but with cutting-edge virtual reality technology.
The relationship between virtual reality and film has been rapidly growing in recent years, with some filmmakers even employing the use of VR technology to aid them in the creative and technical process. We're also seeing a lot more film releases being paired with VR experiences, offering an exciting and innovative way to get audiences hyped for big titles.
- The Virtual Reality Revolution: Will VR change how we watch movies?
- Virtual Reality 101: What you need to know about this new frontier
- Stand by the Mockingjay with An All-New Virtual Reality Experience
2016: The Year Of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality technology is still developing, but we saw some truly creative projects this year. The above video shows a Doctor Strange VR experience that utilized the Google Tilt Brush; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also paired up with Google to allow Potterheads to use the Daydream View headset and live out their wildest wizarding dreams.
Facebook's Occulus Rift gave a select few cinema-goers the chance to be a fly on the wall in Assassin's Creed with a 360 degree viewing experience. It's also available for download for free through the Occulus Store.
Lucasfilm continued to churn out their own VR content with Rogue One: Recon, which allowed Star Wars fans to be the first rebel pilots to discover the Death Star. Even more exciting was Recon's dialogue, which helped to fill in the story of Rogue One.
Looking Ahead In 2017
If 2016 really was the year of virtual reality, then 2017 looks set to raise the bar yet again. Check out these four franchises that are delivering brand new virtual reality content to help you get hyped about this year's new films:
4. 'Planet Of The Apes'
20th Century Fox have paired up with Occulus Rift to explore a dystopian ape-run Earth from the perspective of our new chimp overlords. While the experience isn't based on the narrative of the upcoming War of the Planet of the Apes, Nasdaq reports that Fox are looking to utilise VR technology to "expand storytelling" for the franchise.
A release date hasn't been announced, but it'd be logical for them to release it around the same time as the new film in order to build up some real monkey madness.
3. 'Alien: Covenant'
If you thought playing Alien: Isolation was terrifying, then you'd better prepare yourself for a hell of a lot more jump scares. The trailer for Ridley Scott's upcoming Alien: Covenant looks absolutely horrifying, and 20th Century Fox have just announced the development of a "dread-inducing journey into the depths of the Alien universe", according to The Verge.
This is one virtual reality experience that is sure to thrill horror fiends— check out the trailer below:
2. 'Power Rangers'
Nineties kids rejoice! Your childhood dream of being a Power Ranger is about to come true. Lionsgate are currently exhibiting a brand new virtual reality experience to promote the release of the new Power Rangers film. According to Screen Rant, Qualcomm Technologies' mobile experience will give fans the ability to "enter the zords of their favorite Power Ranger, embodying their powers and capabilities". Which color will you choose?
1. 'Transformers: The Last Knight'
Michael Bay is renowned for going all out with the special effects, and he's about to take things to the next level for his next film. He told Slash Film about his plans to release a nine minute virtual reality experience for Transformers: The Last Night. He's even paired up with IMAX to build 30 pods in various theatres around the world.
These VR offerings sound exciting, but don't forget that it's only the start of the year. With so many releases set for 2017, we're bound to hear more announcements of exciting new virtual reality experiences. There's no official news yet, but here's a few of the most likely contenders:
- 'Star Wars Episode VIII'
With both Rogue One and The Force Awakens both releasing interactive VR experiences for fans, it's highly likely that Episode VIII will follow suit.
- 'Ghost In The Shell'
A film with a narrative so heavily steeped in the merging of the technological and the biological is practically made for a VR pairing. Let's be honest: A cyberpunk VR experience would be out of this world.
- 'Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets'
Luc Besson's upcoming space opera boasts a menagerie of bizarre alien species, intriguing far away worlds and of course, that trademark vibrant color scheme. The chance to get truly immersed in Besson's vision is something no respectable sci-fi fan would pass up.
Given the specifics of Power Rangers' VR experience, Jumanji would be the ideal set up to allow fans to jump right in to one of the game's four adventurer avatars— just like the spiritual sequel's very own narrative.
What films would you like to experience through virtual reality?