A VR adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story “The Great C” is headed to the Venice Film Festival. I’ll get back to the VR aspect in a moment, but first, let’s talk about the story itself. First published in 1953, the story centers on a human tribe living in a post-apocalyptic world, set in the future. Each year, the tribe must send a human sacrifice to a computer, called the Great C. While it was written many years ago, it certainly sounds like something that could be written today, and fit in quite nicely. Now, getting back to the VR aspect. In this adaptation, a woman named Clare grapples with whether to accept the tradition and let her fiance be sacrificed or take a stand against this cruelty. That’s certainly a hard decision to make.
What first comes to mind is whether or not Clare can have faith in whatever her beliefs are. For argument’s sake, let’s just call it the universe. Obviously, Clare doesn’t want to lose her fiance, but does the universe have something greater in store for her? If she fights for her fiance’s life, she is only fighting against herself in that she can’t accept this fate. While I’m not saying that she should, I just wonder where she summons the strength to accept that particular fate? Or can she?
The whole idea of VR, however, is an interesting one. How does it work? What is it exactly? Well, it’s kind of like you imagine it to be. You become submerged in the narrative in a different way from traditional cinema. Which means, not all movies can be portrayed in VR. The Matrix, for example, is a good example of using virtual reality technology, but when I think about it, it doesn’t seem like the best example. What is it missing? A VR headset, in my opinion. I guess the best way to think about VR is to compare it to 3D, in that, you need some kind of additional technology to be able to use it.
Getting back to The Great C, this is what the creators, Secret Location, had to say about it:
Philip K. Dick’s wonderfully forward-thinking stories have always felt primed for telling in equally forward-thinking mediums. Pairing ‘The Great C’s’ provocative themes with our VR development prowess is helping us redefine how we consume sci-fi stories.”
As I said earlier, I don’t think that VR will work for all films, nor do I think it should. I tend to be a bit of a traditionalist, and I like some things to stay the same. Not because I am against change, but because it can be nice to have consistency. That said, VR will work in many instances, and I think it should be used. Much in the same way that we watch 3D movies. After the Venice Film Festival premiere, The Great C will be released at select location-based VR venues, starting in September. The film will then be available on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Playstation VR.