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Bandersnatch’s claims of control are in fact just an illusion.

In 1984, a complex video game, advertised as a revolutionary concept, was never released and helped its creator, Imagine Software, go bankrupt.

The game gives the name and inspiration for the new Charlie Brooker Black mirror film Bandersnatchproject which, while in no way threatening the heritage or future of this exemplary science fiction series, also seems to be a concept that was much better in theory than in performance.

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On Friday, when you needed a bit more fanfare than a trailer a few days ago, Netflix made the movie Choose Your Adventure, Apart from the upcoming season 5, these are the stars of Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk) Stefan Butler, a young programmer from the London of the 1980s, working on an interactive video game.

Stefan refers to the giant Tuckersoft, owned by Mohan Tucker (Asim Choudhry) and where rock star designer Colin Ritman (Will Poulter) lives, who is quite impressed to agree to release the game. being Black mirror This, of course, is the beginning of a nightmare.

During the film, viewers are invited to decide how the plot develops by choosing the answers that appear on the screen. “Frosts or puffs?” Is the first choice that brings a completely new meaning to the idea. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Later decisions begin to influence the plot more directly, leading you to different narrative paths.

There are no questions, viewers were intrigued. During few hours Bandersnatch After posting on Twitter, flowcharts surfaced showing a maze of routes you can follow, proving that Netflix hit gold by choosing the time of year when everyone has a lot of time.

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The only problem is that it is simply not very good – either at the most interactive level (which is forgivable), or as a convincing story worthy Black mirror name (which is not).

At the most basic level, tooltips, although fun at first, have a paradoxical effect, pulling you out of the story. What the movie was supposed to make “exciting” has the opposite effect when you spend the next scene, wondering where another decision might be made.


Even if you set it aside and connect to the interactive element, you will not need much time to understand that no matter what choice you make, you will not be able to deviate too far before going back to several specified routes. Reach the final and you can just start over and make another choice.

The story should never have left the writer's room.

This is the same problem as the Steven Soderberg interactive series. mosaic suffer from. The show would be much more convincing and risky if viewers were allowed one shot to the final, and not a series of repetitions.

That's where the limitations of the hybrid of the game film become apparent. Netflix filmed within five weeks in about two and a half hours of the script – much longer than it takes for one episode – and even this many hours of footage does not take into account what seems to be a wide range of possibilities. Many of the options give the same result in a roundabout way – for example, if you do not decide that Stefan takes LSD, he still gets drugs from Colin.

These restrictions are recognized in the plot itself. Make the wrong early choice and get Stefan to work on creating his game, and he ends up producing a poorly proven game that is too limited in scope. These meta-nods — and many of them, along with some of the fourth wall breakthrough that Netflix refers to — are all very clever, but they don't make the film more enjoyable.


In the film, endless "Easter eggs", by reference to previous Black mirror episodes such as “Nossediv” or a character appearing in “Polar Bear” and from the moment of the broadcasting of the website “Takersoft” popped up on the Internet with a section with layouts of vacancies. These hidden keys are fun ciphers for Reddit communities, which they can analyze, but in the end nothing adds to the story and leaves Black mirror the franchise seems to be too pleased with itself to slip into it.

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But here is the real problem. The plot seems to be thin like paper, because it strains from having to adapt to many different turns, and as a result you cannot help but feel without the interactive aspect, this story would never have gotten out of the writer's room. The background of Stephen is stamped and undeveloped. Poulter is a really exciting British actor after casting in Revenant and Detroit – turns into a party of a gambling god with an annoying nasal tone, clearly improved from viewing Richard Ayoade in IT Crowd.

Brooker's prophetic series warns of the dangers of technology long before it penetrated our (real) news feeds or became de rigueur for anti-utopian dramas. But in the best cases it has always been focused on humanity at stake, a vital element is missing here.

From the therapist, whom you offer a chance to fight a dead father, whom you can cut, Bandersnatch's two-dimensional characters pale in comparison to Bella in Metalhead or Kelly in San Junipero.

Bandersnatch Black Mirror


In an interview with New York Times, Coauthor Annabelle Jones said Bandersnatch was “conceived as a cinematic experience,” while Brooker argued that “you are making decisions. You are actively leading it. ” Their lack of consensus is obvious, and in an attempt to become at the same time a game and a film, he finds himself caught in the unsatisfactory gray area between them. Not manageable enough to be a game, and not cinematic enough to be a movie. Let's hope series 5 – an old-fashioned set of linear narratives – will come back Black mirror its impeccable standards.

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