Lucid review: a moving VR story


Today I want to start a new column on this blog dedicated to storytelling virtual reality content from VeeR video platform, with reviews and interviews regarding VR movies and videos.

As a full disclaimer, there will be no monetary compensation for these posts. VeeR will provide me the material necessary to write some posts and will help me in sharing them, and I will write some posts about the content from their website. I thought that it could be an interesting opportunity to talk more about storytelling content in this blog, that is usually very technical. Let me know what you think about this initiative: your opinion about if you like it or not is very important to me!

That said… this first post of the serie will be about Lucid. (Warning: it may contain mild spoilers)

Lucid is an immersive experience directed by Pete Short, that has been nominated for “Best VR Award” and “Best VR Story” at Venice International Film Festival 2018.

It tells the story of a woman whose mother has been left in coma by a car accident. This woman, called Astra, will so undergo an experimental treatment that will let her connect through a BCI with the brain of the sleeping mother. Entering in the brain of the mother, she will try to save her by making her wake up again. The mission will be anyway much harder than expected and she will soon start wandering inside the dreams of her mother, that is a famous author and illustrator of books for children. In the dreams, she will enter into the various environments of the books, living short adventures with the mother until she will discover the disturbing truth behind the accident. I would like to tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil you too much 🙂

This is a 360 video story, where most of the events happen in front of the eyes of the user (so it is like a 180° video). It lasts around 20 minutes. It is a drama, so don’t expect to laugh that much… it is mostly a movie about feelings. And watching it, you will feel a lot, especially towards the end.

lucid vr review
Astra and her mother Eleanor living amazing oniric adventures together (Image from UploadVR)

In the beginning, the experience is just about the girl entering into her mother’s mind, and in my opinion, is not that special. But the more you will go on, the more you will create a connection with the main character, and you will start being interested in the relationship with her mother. Later on, the atmosphere will become darker and sadder, giving you disquiet. There is the moment where the dreams about funny adventures for children turn into a nightmare and that one is very powerful in VR, it can really make you feel as if you were living a nightmare of yourself. What you see around is weird, disturbing, dark and can really make you feel bad.

The final moments of the story are instead just like this image:

(Image from Know Your Meme)

Because yes, this is that kind of VR experiences that can give you really feels… it reminded me a bit of Dear Angelica, that is another awesome movie that revolves around the relationship between a woman and her dying mother.

One of the superpowers of virtual reality is that it is able to amplify your emotions, and this movie exploits this completely. I’m 100% sure that the same story on a flat screen would have just made me say “ah, ok, sad story”, while in VR really moved my heart. After watching the experience, I felt some sad sensations for around half an hour and it testifies how the feels I tried were strong.

The director, while talking about the film, said these exact words: “I have been waiting a long time to tell this story. VR finally allows me to tell it in a way that does it justice”. This confirms what I’ve told you: this movie has sense only in VR, because only VR can make you feel as you were living in a dream inside the mind of another person, only VR can make you feel so strong feelings.

(Image from Know Your Meme)

The story is about “letting go” and deals with a theme that is close to the heart of the director: he claims that he has a personal experience with people affected with dementia. So, the whole story of Lucid may be inspired by the personal life of Pete Short.

A final note on the graphical aspect of the story: frankly speaking, I have not loved it. I am not saying that it is bad, but it is not excellent either. The animations of the characters stutter a bit and in my personal opinion, the graphical style could be better.

lucid review
The nightmare part. I liked it a lot. Anyway, i still think that the graphics could be a bit more polished (Image from UploadVR)

For the emotions that made me try, Lucid is for sure an interesting experience: there is a reason if it has been nominated at the Venice International Film Festival. I have to admit that it is not my favorite storytelling content ever: Dear Angelica, in my opinion, is still better, especially because of the artistic graphics. Anyway, Lucid is a high-quality piece of content and it is worth watching for sure. The story is well conceived, and the emotions it can make you try are real. If you want to give it a try, it costs $1.99 on VeeR.

And that’s it! I hope you have enjoyed this post, and if it is the case, please share it and subscribe to my newsletter!

(Header image from VeeR)


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