Miyubi, a movie released by prolific VR studio Felix & Paul, has registered itself a place in the history books by becoming the longest virtual reality (VR) movie. Though just a 40-minute film, it is still almost twice or even three times the duration of the majority of the cinematic VR experiences currently available in the market.
An Oculus production, Miyubi is not an experimental art movie, a sponsored tie-in, a documentary, or yet another cartoon in the market. It’s actually a full-fledged scripted comedy, a genre which VR isn’t quite famous for. It is most likely to be available on Oculus Rift and Gear VR, sometime in February or March this year.
Conceived by Felix & Paul and written with the help of Funny or Die, Miyubi is set in the 1980s and puts its viewers right in the body of a Japanese robot named Miyubi. The movie shows a year in the “life” of Miyubi, a toy robot given to an American child named Dennis (played by Owen Vaccaro) for Christmas in 1982 by his father.
The movie actually underlines the concept of obsolescence as Miyubi isn’t built to last long, and his capabilities are surpassed very quickly by the incoming generation of robots. The Japanese robot’s fate is simultaneously mirrored in the movie by Owen’s grandfather whose deteriorating mental health is already a sense of tension in the American household. Being set in 1980s, the spectre of industrial automation looms in the background of the movie, making even a simple robot like Miyubi look a little life threatening.
Miyubi’s story takes a complicated turn when the viewers factor in an unlockable hidden scene, which opens up possibilities that are never really explored.
Like a majority of virtual reality films, even Miyubi ends up giving its viewers a “Can we do that?” feeling. The movie’s script is able to strike a good enough balance between serious, modern drama, comedy and also has some corny sitcom gags included to cater to every type of audience.
Considering its a VR movie, Miyubi is still able to offer viewers a clear, mature narrative. For less than half duration of the movie, the movie asks its viewers to spend time in a headset, following multiple mini-plotlines involving each member of the family. It keeps the pace brisk with brief, self-contained chapters, each one ending with Miyubi rebooting.
While less than half the length of a feature film, Miyubi asks viewers to spend a long time in a headset, following multiple mini-plotlines involving each member of the family.
The movie’s 360-degree format gives it a rather refreshing naturalistic feel. While there’s usually a single visual focus for each scene, but you can let your eyes wander over the interesting details around the room.
At the end, Miyubi leaves its viewers with a feeling of nostalgia and sympathy.