Back in 2014, legendary Hollywood director James Cameron took a shot at virtual reality technology, calling it a “yawn”. Two years on and, sadly, it doesn’t appear that the filmmaker’s views have changed all that much.
In a recent interview with Variety, Cameron pointed to people experimenting with both virtual and augmented reality, calling them “interesting authoring tools” but stating that they’re still “not there yet.” He went on to explain that, because a filmmaker can’t move their camera within virtual reality, he didn’t believe that it was actually possible to make VR movies.
“How are you going make a movie and not move the camera?” he asked. “How can you make a movie where you can’t cut? So there may be a narrative art form that emerges from that, but it’s not a movie.”
That’s a pretty harsh dismissal of everyone working in VR filmmaking right now, though maybe Cameron is on to something. The rules of VR movies are still being created and when they’re fully formed, maybe they won’t be movies at all. But, they’ll still be immersive stories and that’s what counts.
While Cameron may seem down on the technology, his comments were quite forgiving when compared to Gale Anne Heard, the producer of one of director’s most famous movies, Aliens. Joining him in the interview, Heard branded both VR and AR as “gimmicks” and noted that VR made her want to throw up within “four seconds wearing it”. We’re guessing Hurd’s experience with the tech has been limited to some of the earlier demonstrations of it rather than the latest offerings like the HTC Vive, if this is the case.
It’s a shame to hear two high-profile Hollywood figures dismiss VR so easily, especially when one of them created the technical marvel that is Avatar. Still, they’re not alone; Steven Spielberg recently labelled VR filmmaking as “dangerous”, which we refuted. There are so many other iconic figures that are excited about the tech, however, including the likes of Guillermo Del Toro and Kevin Spacey.
That said, you’d think such visionaries would be able to be bit a more, well, visionary.