Henry (2015 film)

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Henry
Directed by Ramiro Lopez Dau
Narrated by Elijah Wood
Production
company
Running time
12 minutes

Henry is a 2015 virtual reality film created by Oculus Story Studio which premiered on July 28, 2015. The film was created in Unreal Engine 4 and narrated by Elijah Wood.

Henry won an Emmy Award for 'Best outstanding original interactive program' in 2016.

Plot[edit]

The film starts with the narrator (Elijah Wood) explaining that Henry is a hedgehog who has no friends because he likes to hug everyone. The viewer is then placed inside Henry's home on his birthday where, after a short time, Henry appears from the kitchen with his birthday cake. Sad at being alone on his birthday, Henry lights the candle on his cake and makes a wish before blowing it out. At this point a group of animal balloons come to life and fly around the house, before one approaches Henry for a hug; the balloon pops as Henry tries to hug it. Terrified, the balloons dart around the room trying to get away from Henry before flying out of the door, leaving Henry alone. Shortly afterwards, a knock at the door reveals that the balloons have returned, bringing with them a turtle. The turtle hugs Henry, without being hurt by his quills, and Henry is happy again.

Production[edit]

Oculus Story Studio began creation of Henry envisioning it as a comedy, eventually deciding to create a story that viewers would find engaging through their empathy for the main character, rather than from action or suspense. To achieve this the creators made Henry look at the viewer during certain moments, especially those in which he is feeling strong emotions.[1] The creators incorporated "discoverables" to make use of the virtual reality medium - if the viewer looks in particular directions small events will occur, such as a ladybug crawling into view.[2]

Henry was created using Unreal Engine 4, but following the creation of Lost, Oculus Story Studio moved from using the stock engine to modifying it to suit their requirements.[3] Following the film's premiere, the studio publicly released the Unreal Engine code and assets used in its creation to aid other filmmakers.[4]

Release[edit]

The film premiered in Los Angeles on the 28th July 2015,[5] and was publicly released in early 2016.[6]

Reception[edit]

In Polygon, Ben Kuchera described Henry as "perfect for anyone who wants a gentle and warm introduction to virtual reality".[7] Will Mason of UploadVR reviewed the film positively, particularly praising the emotional impact of Henry looking directly at the viewer.[8]

Emily Yoshida of The Verge, however, found Henry disappointing, saying that she found herself "incredibly aware of, distracted, even, by [Henry's] status as a rendered object", preferring photorealistic or recorded VR films.[9]

In 2016 Henry won an Emmy Award for Best outstanding original interactive program, the first Emmy awarded to an original virtual reality production.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Volpe (29 July 2015). "'Henry' is Oculus' first, emotional step to making AI characters". Engadget. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  2. ^ Steven Zeitchik (28 July 2015). "With 'Henry,' a cinematic leap into world of virtual reality". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Angela Watercutter (28 July 2015). "The Most Important Movie of 2015 Is a VR Cartoon About a Hedgehog". Wired. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Christian Nutt (29 September 2015). "Oculus Story Studio releases UE4 assets for Henry". Gamasutra. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Stuart Dredge (3 June 2015). "Oculus VR's second virtual reality film stars a hedgehog named Henry". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Adi Robertson (8 September 2016). "Oculus wins Emmy for VR animated short Henry". The Verge. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  7. ^ Ben Kuchera (28 March 2016). "The Oculus Rift Review". Polygon. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  8. ^ Will Mason (28 July 2015). "'Henry' hugs your emotions and doesn't ever let go [Spoilers]". UploadVR. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  9. ^ Emily Yoshida (3 August 2015). "Are humans allowed in VR storytelling?". The Verge. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 

External links[edit]