Here’s an actual good surprise for a change: Walt Disney Animation Studios released their stunning VR short “Myth: A Frozen Tale” for at-home viewing on Oculus Quest. Anyone with a headset should watch right now.
Acting as a sort of prologue to Disney’s record-breaking animated smash Frozen 2, and narrated by that film’s co-star Evan Rachel Wood, “Myth” immerses you in the world of the film and introduces you to the elemental spirits in a truly unique, spellbinding way. It was directed by Jeff Gipson, the skateboarder poet and one of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ brightest young talents, who previously directed the studio’s first VR short “Cycles” (you can watch a flat version on Disney+ right now), who understands the emotional power of plopping you into that forest and just letting you goggle at the magic that surrounds you. Production designer Brittney Lee, another one of Disney’s most exciting artists, gives the environment unique flair, inspired in part by such Disney legends as Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle, while creating a look wholly her own. (On a recent visit to the animation studio she told me she was also inspired by classic Disney theme park dark rides and nighttime spectaculars like World of Color.)
And if you think that VR, as a medium, is cold and remote, then get ready to feel something. Just as “Cycles” had tears spilling out from underneath our clunky VR goggles, “Myth” will similarly move you. The majesty and beauty of the images, combined with Joseph Trapanese’s soaring score, is just breathtaking. And now that we all know and love Frozen 2 so much, the short will undoubtedly mean even more. The fact that you can experience it over and over again is something very special indeed.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ next feature, Raya and the Last Dragon, hits theaters on March 12, 2021.