Hey, it’s the weekend and between homework and life, you should watch something and relax for a little bit. I recommend Bandersnatch. It is the latest thing from the Netflix original series, Black Mirror. I say ‘thing’ because it is difficult to describe what Bandersnatch is. Netflix’s description is ‘an interactive film’.
The story is set in 1984 and follows the character, Stefan Butler, played by Fionn Whitehead. In the movie, Butler is creating a video game based on a choose-your-own adventure book, of the same name, Bandersnatch. Like the book, the game is developed with the branching paths that lead to different scenes and revelations. The movie Bandersnatch also features branching paths and different endings.
During the movie, you can direct Butler’s actions. Some have minor-to-no consequences, while others lead you to a variety of endings. Officially, the movie has five hard endings where you can to choose to view the credits or return to the story and try for a different ending.
The ability to choose your path is incredibly well implemented. As choices arise, you have 10 seconds to make a decision. Watching on a game console, such as PS4 or Xbox One, the controller vibrates more intensely as time runs out. After making a choice, the current scene plays out and smoothly transitions into your path choice. Other projects similar to this, are not so smooth; transitions will immediately cut to the next scene, resulting in missed dialog and awkward pacing.
The story line is the weakest part of the film. I believe the consequences of breaking up the narrative is that there is no solid theme or message unlike other Black Mirror films.
In conclusion, Bandersnatch is an incredible demonstration of the, choose your own adventure, technology. I am looking forward to seeing how Netflix advances this kind of story telling but I have to say this is worth exploring despite its flaws.