Spielberg warns VR will rule the future
Steven Spielberg has warned that a future ruled by virtual reality is coming “whether we like it or not”.
Presenting his upcoming sci-fi film at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego on Friday, the acclaimed director addressed what has recently been a recurring topic for him.
Virtual reality, or VR, began its expansion in the film industry over the last year, with the Cannes Film Festival presenting its first VR entry this year.
Carne Y Arena (Meat And Sand) by Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu had its debut at the Croisette in May, opening alongside Spielberg’s studio animation The BFG.
At the time, the Schindler’s List director warned of the dangers virtual reality could present to the industry.
“I think we’re moving into a dangerous medium with virtual reality,” he said.
“The only reason I say it is dangerous is because it gives the viewer a lot of latitude not to take direction from the storytellers but make their own choices of where to look.
“I just hope it doesn’t forget the story when it starts enveloping us in a world that we can see all around us and make our own choices to look at.”
Now he seems to have, if not changed his mind, at least embraced the future.
Presenting his new film Ready Player One, Spielberg spoke about the challenges of adapting Ernest Cline’s book about a dystopian future where humans take refuge in VR after the world is destroyed by global warming.
In the film, the hero lives in 2044, but spends his time immersed in 1980s pop culture through virtual reality.
“It’s the most amazing flash forward and flashback at the same time – to a decade I was very much involved in as well as a future that I think is out there awaiting all of us whether we like it or not,” Spielberg said.
The 70-year-old director now sees VR as the opening of new possibilities, where humans are able to do “anything you can possibly imagine”.
Directing Ready Player One, Spielberg was faced with 80s nostalgia and pop references related to his own work in the past, and said he feared being “vilified for some kind of grand act of grand larceny of vanity”.
For the book’s author, having the director taking on his book was a match made in heaven.
“To be honest with you, I thought this would never happen,” Ernest Cline said at Comic-Con.
“I never thought we’d be able to make this movie, because we’d need someone like Steven Spielberg to direct it.
“And when they told me they were going to send it to him I was like, ‘oh, he’s never going to do it’.”
Ready Player One premieres 30 March 2018.