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REVIEW: Oculus Story Studio’s “Henry”

REVIEW: Oculus Story Studio's "Henry"

I was one of the rare invited few to get an advance look at Oculus Story Studio’s new film, “Henry“, today in Beverly Hills.

This is the latest of a series of experimental films created to explore the possibilities of the Oculus Rift virtual reality player – this one a children’s “cartoon” – created by a band of experienced character animators, recruited mainly from Pixar and Dreamworks/PDI, working out of a small studio in San Francisco.

Henry is a cute little story of a hedgehog who loves to hug – except for his thorny spines which prevent anyone from wanting to hug him back. In the story, we visit Henry’s home on the day on his birthday. A group of festive balloon animals are particularly afraid of getting too close to Henry, but surprise him with a new friend, a turtle, who’s protective shell allows them to hug. 

This was my first real experience with virtual reality and I was skeptical about it going in. Within a minute I was hooked. “Immersive” is a word you hear involved with this technology – and its the only word to describe it. Less a film (there are no cuts, no editing) and more a theatrical performance, Henry is representative of a future new path for animation. 

It won’t replace movies, television or video games. It won’t end Hollywood CG blockbusters or hand drawn traditional animation techniques. Instead, it’s a new market for the talents of experienced animators, and the imaginations of young dreamers.  

It’s impossible to show a photo or run a clip to demonstrate the film – but here is a promotional video that gives you a little taste.

Here are the credits for Henry

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