The future of entertainment arrived at the Great Hall at North Terrace’s Masonic Lodge with Electric Dreams: Cosmic. As part of the Electric Dreams VR Cinema experience, Cosmic showcases Virtual Reality in a 360-degree environment. Brought to the Fringe by Crossover Labs, it is fascinating technology with so much potential. Unfortunately, Cosmic as a show was somewhat underwhelming.
The two films shown with cosmic are Kembla Mela and Conscious Existence, both connected to the idea of cosmic and space. Kembla Mela is a BBC feature on the Indian festival of the same name, one which is so large it is visible from space. This was my favourite film of the two. It did an effective job at telling the story of the festival and the people who attend it. I really did feel as though I was taken to this festival through the effectiveness of its filming.
Conscious Encounters was what I found the most underwhelming part of the experience. Admittedly, it has fantastic visuals. The Earth and Moon together is an example of this. It transported me to space in this time. The wandering through the forest was also another highlight moment. Some moments I even tried reaching out for things like leaves and shooting stars, like I was watching a modern 3-D film. The 360-degree experience really worked well in this moment, bringing me into the forest.
While impressive, all of this isn’t new to me, on a VR standpoint. The film too felt very linear sometimes and didn’t utilise the 360-degree experience to its full potential. It too felt more like an example of what it could do rather than what it can do.
The VR technology itself is impressive. The VR sets offered from Oculus were just the goggles with an audio jack, similar to the PlayStation VR. They’re not the most impressive VR goggles available, but they’re not bad. I was really immersed in the world. It’s just a shame that Conscious Encounters was underwhelming.
Electric Dreams: Cosmic was a good but underwhelming experience for me. It didn’t really show me anything new in the VR world and what it can do. If you’re new to VR, Cosmic will more than likely blow you away.
This review is only for Cosmic, not the larger Electric Dreams Experience, one made up of other cinema experiences and a conference (running Feb 19-23). For more on the Electric Dreams Experience, check out their Fringe page here.
3 / 5 stars
Words by Cameron Lowe
Electric Dreams: VR Cinema – Cosmic is on at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge until February 23
For more information and to book tickets click here