I have just played and watched Black Mirror’s latest episode Bandersnatch. If you don’t know what Black Mirror is then I feel very sorry for you. Black Mirror is an anthology series on Netflix and from all the shows that I have seen on Netflix there hasn’t been a show that has made me think and feel as disturbed as Black Mirror has. But we’re not here to talk about the show but the recent movie they’ve just released.
So if you were confused when I said the word ‘played’ that’s because this is an interactive movie. So basically like one of those choose your own adventure books or games. You’re given a series of choices to make and they all branch off into various paths, giving you multiple unique endings. (But if you’re playing a game that all depends on how much effort the developers put into the game.) Netflix has released games like this in the past for young children but this is the first one for adults and I think it was a genius idea to make Black Mirror into a choose your own adventure story and watching this I can see just how creative the series creator Charlie Brooker got with this very interesting concept.
I guess I should finally mention the movie game. So back in the 80’s we follow 19 year old Stefan Butler a young man who really wants to adapt his favourite book (Bandersnatch) into a video game and how ironic that the book is a choose your own adventure book. So very early on it introduces us to the main mechanic where you get your TV remote out and you just hover over your choice until the little timer goes out and the scene just carries on from there. (It’s as simple as doing one of those online personality quizzes.) It starts off very easy like choosing which cereal you would like for breakfast, but eventually these choices get more intense and make you feel quite distressed and uncomfortable which could lead to you getting an early game over and then if you want another go the game will give you another chance to choose the correct path. I think this is a really great way to get to try out everything that this movie has to offer.
As for the actual movie part I found myself quite engrossed. Like many Black Mirror episodes it made me think how bleak and meaningless the human race really is. Black Mirror has always been great at making you think of certain viewpoints that you would have never otherwise considered and this episode mainly focuses on the possibility of multiple realities, parallel universes and if we even have freewill to begin with. Also there are some easter eggs to previous episodes, so if you want to know what those are then you should definitely watch the show.
Again, like most Black Mirror episodes, it’s very well shot and looks like an actual movie. The actors all give really great performances, the most noteworthy is Fionn Whitehead who plays Stefan and Will Poulter as Colin Ritman. I found these characters a great addition to the Black Mirror universe. I’ve got to hand it to Charlie Brooker for the amount of effort he must have put into this story, so props to him. It’s a very interesting story that kept me engaged for the whole ride and this is where it leads into my negatives.
Where my engagement in the story finally died is when I messed about with the different paths and the endings you could take. That was when I saw it as just a fun experiment and I went through the movie again a few times. I was disappointed that most of the endings kind of lead into the same spot but it still made sense and it fits with the themes of the episode, but it did taint my interest in playing it again. It reminded me of the Stanley Parable, it’s a game where you follow what the narrator says but if you want you can disobey the narrator and the fun of it is searching for all the different paths you could take, but after a while the interest starts to die really quickly. This issue isn’t just limited to this movie but multiple other stories in this genre.
So in the end I don’t see myself watching it again as much as the other Black Mirror episodes but I still think it’s a fantastic movie game that doesn’t disappoint and I’m going for a 9/10. If you’re a fan of Black Mirror I highly recommend it and to anyone else who finds this interesting, then go for it.
Well that’s it for another shorty, I’m the Blog Complainer and I hope we cross paths again in the near future.