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Trailer Remix: The Science Fiction Behind the Apple Vision Pro

As the lone faculty member teaching Virtual Reality in UCLA’s film program, all week, people have been asking me what I think about Apple’s promotional video for the new Vision Pro system. I created this video in response, using clips from more than a dozen VR films dating back to 1983 and highlighting largely fictional but characteristically euphoric visions of the technological utopia purported to lie just over the horizon. Apple’s nine+ minute, superlative-filled video recycles dozens of tropes and cliches drawn from the last 40 years of cinematic and televisual imaginings of virtual reality, holographic projection, and gestural interface. This would be more understandable — even forgivable — if not for the VR industry’s orchestrated and insistent refusal to acknowledge the history of the medium, which dates back more than 50 years. I find it unfortunate that Apple’s ahistorical self-promotion continues the industry’s pattern of disavowing the past in order to inflate its own breathless claims of innovation, some of which are actually deserved.


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