To the moon and back, with VR
Recent film projects show how virtual reality can be optimized for creative storytelling
Damien Chazelle’s First Man is an unusual 1960s piece. It is apolitical. The hero is a stoic civilian astronaut whose emotional life is the sum of Hollywood’s best pout (that of its lead actor Ryan Gosling) and a little bead necklace which he hides in his spacesuit. The Neil Armstrong biopic is memorable because of the technical virtuosity with which Chazelle shows space travel—a daunting, yet alluring experience. As soon as I put on the Oculus, I was inside Apollo 11 with Armstrong. The VR headset took me right inside the spacecraft. Outside the window, I saw a blanket of glittering stars and asteroids. After hovering over the hard craters, we finally landed on the moon. The door opened, and Armstrong walked out to take his “giant leap for mankind".