Steven Spielberg says VR is a 'dangerous' movie medium

Technically Incorrect: Virtual reality could spell the end of the Hollywood that great directors know, he says.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Steven Spielberg
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Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is worried.

Flicks and The City Plus; YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Hollywood is a dreamland.

Its iconic sign is pristine white, as are many of its movies.

And then there are the lawns. Beautifully trimmed at all times, they reflect the perfection that Hollywood producers and directors reach for every day.

They're protective of those lawns. Indeed, Steven Spielberg would like certain techy types off of his perfectly mowed grass.

According to a video posted by China Central Television, he's worried about those virtual reality people.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, Spielberg described VR as "a dangerous medium."

Dangerous for whom? Is he worried about viewers feeling nauseous during graphic scenes of dinosaur savagery? No, he thinks VR is dangerous for producers and directors like himself.

"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," he said.

Movies are like many other mediums of old. They depend on those who create them controlling what you see.

If a director can't offer you a shot from just one particular character's point of view, you might become obsessed by something entirely irrelevant to the story, something that was perhaps inserted onto the set by a precious, obstreperous designer. Or worse, a techy type.

"I just hope it [VR] 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 of what to look at," he mused.

VR movies will surely be very different from the current kind. Directors will likely think more about the worlds they're creating and consider in advance where eyes might roam.

It will be a new artistic discipline.

With technology, though, it's best to be prepared for the worst. When you see what the Web has done for newspapers and magazines, you have to worry for Spielberg and his fellow auteurs.

They're control freaks, after all.

And when control freaks suddenly lose control, they freak.