Created by : Baobab Studio

Year of production 2015

bservant/passive VR

Viewing System: Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear

Invasion is a short VR animation about the cutest and most benign creature, bunny, trying to prevent two aliens from taking over the world. It is produced by Eric Darnell, the director of Madagascar, on Oculus platform, and got selected to be presented in Cannes Le Marché du Film and Tribeca Film Festival in 2016.

The story begins with space view narration by Ethan Hawke. This makes us feel as if we were watching the prologue of Star Wars movie where you listen to the beginning of the story at a very far distance first, then get involved in the ground-level scene. At the end of the narration, the last scene shows UFO approaching the Earth and fade the scene away for a transition to the middle of the ice field.

When we open our eyes, there is a gap time allowing us to observe and appreciate the beautiful nature around us rather than immediately continuing to depict the story. After looking around for a while, we will see a little bunny far away coming out of the small hole. Suddenly the eagle chirp causes us to turn around and follow its flight toward the bunny. This technique makes us keep an eye on the protagonist bunny and stay well focused and interested in the story. Moreover, all characters movement and appearance in the film never makes us swiftly turn our head, so nausea is very unlikely.

This film works very well with sound effects and background music. The warm background music comes with the foot step sound of the bunny, while the dangerously sounded music comes with the arrival of UFO and fighting between the aliens and the bunny. The sound effects allow us to infer the location of the characters and turn our heads accordingly.

Moreover, the fighting between the bunny and two aliens is funny. The directory does not provide any supernatural power to the bunny to fight with those laser-headed aliens; instead the wise bunny can defeat them by making their actions harm themselves and finally abandon the plan to take over our Earth.

This film is realistic not only due to the natural scenes and the skills all characters have but also the reasonable interaction. We see the bunny fearlessly approaching and sniffing at us which is not normal interaction between humans. This makes me look down to figure out who I am and find out that I am another cute white bunny. Although we cannot interact with other characters, I still feel very involved and acknowledge my presence when the bunny friend keeps interacting with me and protecting me from the alien.

At the end, we fade into the same space scene showing the list of names of director and producers that appear not to follow our eyes, but the next text will appear in front of our eyes. This is another good technique to make text easy to read (no moving text) while it can follow users’ eyes at the same time.

Overall, this short film is very impressive even though it is not interactive. This is now my most favorite VR film and I really hope to immerse in this world with my bunny friend more.