Werner Herzog Doesn’t Like ‘Pokemon GO’ And Hates Virtual Reality

Werner Herzog is one of those filmmakers who can say almost anything and it will be held up as a stroke of genius. This is true even when the legendary director is talking about rather silly things like Pokemon GO.

Werner Herzog recently sat down for an interview with the Verge, where he talked about the mobile game, film school, and a whole host of other topics. It was his comments about Pokemon GO that are the most interesting, if only because his disdain for the game shines through the most.

When the director was asked about whether or not he had ever played the game, he gave the rather terse response of “no.” The interview became rather humorous once it went down this path, with the interviewer having problems getting a word in edgewise.


At one point it was almost explained to him, and that’s when Herzog interjected that one of the reasons he didn’t understand the game is because he wasn’t one who understood phones all that much. He then began asking about the game and showing some signs of being a bit of a Luddite.

“You’re talking to somebody who made his first phone call at age 17. You’re talking to someone who doesn’t have a cell phone, for example, for cultural reasons, he told the website.

The absolute best part of the talk about Pokemon GO was when the famed director started asking just how the game worked. It seemed to be innocent at first, but then Werner Herzog took it to a place only he can go.

When he was trying to get details about the game, he began asking what the little Pokemon do. These questions eventually turned to thoughts of murder and mayhem.

At one point, he wondered if the people “bite each other’s hands? Do they punch each other?” The interviewer was clearly confused because he asked whether Werner was talking about the creatures or the people who were playing using their phones.

The famed filmmaker didn’t seem to understand the users don’t square off in some test of strength. Instead, they simply enjoy themselves as their Pokemon fight each other digitally.

The conversation then turned to augmented and virtual reality, and the resident Luddite once again made it clear he was not a fan of the new technology. He also made it clear he did not feel as though this kind of technology was something that brought people together no matter how often someone else had made that claim.

“No, nothing that has convinced me that there is clearly a type of content that we should focus on. Still, it makes me uncomfortable. You have this… how do you call it? This mask on, for more than five minutes. I feel uncomfortable, and no content whatsoever has taken this discomfort away from me.”


When the rebuttal was given that virtual reality could be used as some “empathy machine,” his response was about what you might expect. The famous director responded that people could learn to feel empathy for other people by doing something like reading a book or interacting with one another in the real world.

Death and Taxes Magazine reports that he went on an even longer rant about technology and whether it’s good or bad for society as a whole. Werner Herzog certainly seems to think there is a debate to be had on that topic.

“The question — is this technology good or bad? — is an incompetent question. It’s humans who are good or bad… The internet has many ramifications worldwide, and so you can quantify certain things, but you cannot endow it with qualities like good or bad.”

[Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]