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Review of Netflix’s Original Film, Bandersnatch

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Review of Netflix’s Original Film, Bandersnatch

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*Spoiler Warning*

 

The recent release of Netflix’s Bandersnatch has opened a gateway of cinematic entertainment by allowing viewers to control the plot of the movie, later leading to the possibility of diverse endings. Currently, the interactive film has proven to be very controversial, regulated by the individual’s opinion mainly pertaining to the ending. However, most everyone has found a common ground of appreciation to the first choose your own adventure Netflix movie.

The movie follows a troubled teenager who is an aspiring game maker, and through the viewer’s decisions, spirals into insanity. Throughout the movie, he gains a growing knowledge of the possibility of him being controlled by an external force.

Although most people are intrigued by this new idea of individualized endings, there are still plenty of criticisms. But despite the doubts, viewers hope that Netflix continues on this path to eventually create a great interactive movie.

 

Hannah, Kelly, and Bennett:

The movie Bandersnatch is a unique take on the standard ideas of film. Although the intent of the movie is refreshing, the execution could have been improved. The viewer is immediately thrown into an unsteady relationship between a father and son. Not only is the father’s development lacking but we were also disappointed in the main character, Stephen’s character development. We are closed off from most important pieces of background knowledge about the characters. We also don’t get any reasons that point to why Stephen is so aggressive with his emotions. For that matter, the viewer never really learns much about any character.

The decision making seems futile because it feels like no matter which decision you make, the story will take you back to pick the other decision. For example, in the beginning, you have to decide if you want to work with a game company or not. If you pick that you do want to work with them, it rewinds and you have to pick the other option. It makes the decisions feel weightless, and it kind of ruins the idea of a choose your own story episode. We do realize that this is not accidental as the film’s intent is to have the characters fate decided for them, but the decisions were not as satisfying as they should have been.

Overall the idea behind Bandersnatch is impressive, but the execution of character and plot development could and hopefully will be improved in the near future.

 

Onate:

In short, the answer would be no, not really.

Bandersnatch, in typical Black Mirror fashion, does not disappoint in terms of creativity. The whole thing is extremely compelling, and while Stefan comes across as slightly two-dimensional, I still found myself invested in his story.

What Netflix makes the mistake of doing, however, is capitalizing on this investment and bestowing the viewer control of Stefan himself. Through the use of timed-decision options (i.e. click A or B in the next ten seconds), we assume control of Stefan’s thoughts and actions. While interesting in theory, this system falls short of expectations in a few ways.

For one, the decisions you make don’t impact the story as much as one might think. Between my three viewings, I ran into about twenty or so dead-ends where Netflix throws you back in time to rethink your choices. While this, of course, makes sense (it’s not as though Netflix can let you run through every single possible scenario in this very limited sliver of reality!), it certainly detracts from what is an otherwise intriguing story. Back and forth, back and forth; I think Bandersnatch would have been better off without the actual “choose-your-own-adventure” concept, which comes across as more of a useless gimmick.

And again, as much as I was intrigued by Bandersnatch’s cast of characters, there is a certain lack of characterization between them. Each is fairly two-dimensional, with little more to them except tags such as “distant father,” “enigmatic video game designer,” and “therapist with a terribly apparent lack of communication skills.” Even Stefan feels more like a secondary character, even alongside the designated secondary characters. While this can all be perhaps attributed to it detracting greatly from its purpose by forcing the characters to conform to the viewer’s decisions, leaving them less than they could have been otherwise.

The new system also distracts Bandersnatch from what Black Mirror does best: dark, gritty social commentary, with no punches pulled. There is no gut-wrenching twist here, ladies and gentlemen; you expect and anticipate every moment of Bandersnatch within the first thirty minutes – about the same amount of time it takes other episodes to make you laugh, cry, question your existence, and roll the credits.

I am a strong proponent of the belief that Bandersnatch is a great concept with a compelling story to tell, interesting characters, and mind-bending visuals that were brought down by corporate tampering with something that was far better off being left to its creators.

 

McKenna:  

Bandersnatch is a great first attempt at portraying choose-your-own-adventure-books through interactive film. Cinematic advances are constantly evolving and are produced in popular movie and t.v. streaming services, like Netflix. One of Netflix’s original series, Black Mirror is known for creating science fiction short films, but their ability to make a completely different form of film should not go underappreciated. I believe the points in the film where viewers are timed to choose between two choices are perfectly placed. Viewers get enough plot detail to make a thoughtful decision that furthers the storyline while also increasing the complexity of the film. The importance of where the choices are able to be made in the film makes the rest of the plot successful.

 

In honor of the film, Bandersnatch has earned 3/5 stars from us at the Patriot Press.

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About the Writers
Bennett Abeson, Staff Writer

Hello! My name is Bennett Abeson, and I'm a junior at Liberty. This is my first year in newspaper journalism. I am extremely into rap music, and I enjoy...

Kelly Levering, Staff writer

Hello readers! I'm Kelly Levering, a junior here at Liberty and am so happy you have decided to read our articles! In my free time I play A LOT of basketball,...

Hannah Karr, Staff Writer

My name is Hannah Karr, and I'm a junior at Olentangy Liberty High School. My job here is to inform, enlighten, and expose. I love my dog and that is all.

Matthew Onate, Staff Writer

Hey! My name is Matthew Onate. I love to write, particularly fiction (most of which you'll be able to find in the Art and Literature section of the website!)...

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