When I think of “virtual reality” I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger strapped to a char with his eyes bulging out of his head.

To me, reality is the key word in this technological craze, and to this point I’ve yet to see it used in a way that really blew me away or lived up to the actual part where anything felt, you know, real. I even tried one of those crazy VR headsets in Hawaii once. One of the fancy new ones that puts you in a move where you’re just constantly getting barreled. I’d spent that entire day getting inside barrels then failing to make it out of any of them…I think I was in a good state of mind to attest that the virtual version was very unlike the real version.

Now from an entertainment perspective VR is going to be integrated into any and every production you can imagine in the future. It’s another concept I can’t wrap my head around: how you can effectively tell a story when somebody is busy waving their head up and down, spinning in circles and looking to the sky like an infant trying to pop bubbles.

Valen’s Reef doesn’t have that problem. The imagery is amazing, diving through the Bird’s Head Seascape with local fisherman-turned-scientist Ronald Mambrasar. Ronald narrates the film, telling stories to his son, Valen, about the history of the reefs his generation will inherit and their responsibility in protecting them.

Watch it once to read the subtitles. Then watch it again and do some exploring of your own. It’s awesome.