9 Movies that Will Inspire Your Next Augmented Reality Experience

Movies have used special visual effects to augment reality in cinema since George Melies did it first in 1899.

George was a French magician who took advantage of an emerging new technology – moving images – to invent a totally new experience in theaters.

Today we are on the verge of experiencing “special effects” in our field of view anywhere we go (see demos) thanks to emerging augmented reality technologies.

Walking backwards from 1907 to 2008, here are 9 movies to inspire your next augmented reality experience.

1) 1907 – George Melies – the Hilarious Poster

Characters in a poster come to life in this incredible movie from the inventor of special effects.

2) 1988 – John Carpenter‘s They Live!

This underrated sci-fi movie introduced bad acting and a classic AR story: a homeless drifter stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses through which you can see the world for what it really is. He can uncover the communist aliens that control the world.

3) 1988 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit

The first movie to mix the real and the loony. Bob Hoskins has never been seen drooling like that, not even in Super Mario Bros.

4) 1996 – Space Jam

A second attempt to mix the real and the loony, this time with a stretching Michael Jordan.

5) 2002 – Minority Report

User interface for navigating vast amounts of data that span time and places.

6) 2003 – Terminator 3

Get real time data about people you meet. A very useful application when you’re looking to borrow cloths that fit. Here is the Girl’s Night version from the third installment.

7) 2003 – Pirates of the Caribbean – the Curse of the Black Pearl

Watch minute 0:30 to 0:50 for a spooky AR effect I’d like to try someday.

If the movie doesn’t run click here.

8) 2007 – MUTO by Blu

This one is real reality and took tremendous effort. An incredible inspiration to overlay the world with art (which could be made easier with AR).

9) 2008 – Iron Man

Augmented Reality for (very) rapid prototyping, now for bringing peace to earth.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Arthur C. Clark famously said “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” which brings us back to the magic of George Melies.

Which movies inspire you to create new augmented reality experiences?

*** Update: Reader contributions ***

10) 2006 Stranger than Fiction

From Robert Rice: How an augmented life of a person obsessed with numbers might look like

11) Denno Coil

From Jonas Hielscher: Animated, but visionary take on a world with pervasive augmented reality

12) Fight Club

My son reminded me of this “virtual furnishing your apartment” scene in this brilliant anti consumerism movie

7 Responses

  1. Hi Ori,
    have a look at Dennō Coil, a Japanese animation science fiction series depicting a near future where augmented reality has begun to enter the mainstream. From the perspective of a group of children, that are on the search of their lost virtual pets. It is an very interesting view on how people deal with advanced AR systems in daily life…


  2. Thanks Jonas!
    Indeed I consider Denno Coil a visionary depiction of augmented reality. I have captured it as a link in the right column under “vision”.
    Maybe I should add it to the list and make it an even 10…:-)


  3. Yes, Denno Coil is a must for the list. Inspiring to me anyway.

    Also, how about “Stranger than Fiction”? with Will Farrell? Start around :40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLPUmYiVgbw The whole movie is loaded with little things like that in an attempt to show how he things and sees the world around him.

  4. Yay for Denno Coil :)
    That was really the thing that solidified my person vision of AR.

    Another suggestion;

    Very short add for the sci-fi channel. I can imagine people in an AR world standing in front of their mirrors and switching between various clothing/avatars.

  5. […] See also:  9 Movies that Will Inspire Your Augmented Reality Experience. […]

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