I Gotwildwith Reese Witherspoon Without Ever Leaving My Chair
On Sunday, February 22, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern will attend the 87th Academy Awards, as nominees from the movie ' Wild .' In case you've missed the hype, 'Wild' is the biographical story of Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon), a woman who solo-hiked more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail following the death of her mother (Dern)... And found herself in the process.
... Which is great and all, but I was pretty psyched to find myself with them, right smack in the middle of the woods, at the Sundance Film Festival .
Okay, okay, so I wasn't there with Witherspoon and Dern in the flesh. But it sure felt like it, given how realistic 'Wild: The Experience,' which was created by virtual reality artists Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, actually was.
During my three minutes in the 'Wild' universe, I was able to take in a 360-view of the eye-poppingly gorgeous Pacific Crest Trail, as well as some of the creatures that inhabit it. Soon enough Witherspoon showed up, and I acted as an invisible bystander as she 'hallucinated' some advice from her mother. Witherspoon was to my left and Dern to my right, and feeling like 'one of the girls' as they acted out this scene -- which did not appear in the film, and was specially shot for the experience -- was pretty, well, wild.
... It's just too bad I got virtual reality eaten by that fox in the end. (Jokes, jokes.)
In all seriousness, look for more VR experiences like 'Wild' to pop up in the near future, as filmmakers test out ways for moviegoers to further connect with their material. I'd definitely recommend checking out an exhibit if one comes to a city near you, as my 'Wild' experience basically had me feeling like this by the end:
'Wild: The Experience' is playing at the New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.