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Poll: How did you feel about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch?

Do you want to see more Netflix titles like this?

Screen-Shot-2018-12-25-at-11.35.23-AM Source: Netflix

A DAY HAS passed since Netflix released the new interactive Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch.

It’s only been a day, but that’s worth a week in Christmas Holiday years. If you didn’t watch it yesterday, chances are you’ll probably get around to it at some stage this evening. If that’s the case, don’t worry. There aren’t really any spoilers below. 

Black Mirror Bandersnatch Source: Netflix

Bandersnatch is unlike any Black Mirror episode in that it’s interactive and has a running time of about 90 minutes (it could be considerably longer if you really wanted to get everything out of it). Reviews were mixed. The Guardian hailed it as “Charlie Brooker’s meta masterpiece”, and lauded how seamless the movie was. “When options present themselves (you chose with a click of your mouse/remote/console controller), there’s no lag or buffering to endure. If you don’t make a choice, Netflix makes it for you. As such, it is identical to watching a film. As an experience, it’s remarkable.” 

Having watched (or played?)  Bandersnatch, I would be inclined to agree with all of that, right up until the point where they call it remarkable. You have to give them credit for putting Bandersnatch together so well. It must have been extremely frustrating for not only the producers and editors, but the cast, too. The delay in the movie which allows you to make a decision is unobtrusive and doesn’t interrupt the flow of the film at all. Is it remarkable as an experience though? Not really. 

Bandersnatch Black Mirror Source: Netflix

Growing up, I was obsessed with any books and video games that offered you a decision that would even vaguely alter the story-line. From Goosebumps Choose Your Own Scare books, to games like Heavy Rain, I have always been a sucker for that kind of stuff. However, with this Netflix film, it just doesn’t feel the same. It was hard for me to pinpoint the exact issue I had with Bandersnatch, but it was summed up towards the end of this review by CNN. It’s when you make the wrong decision that things become frustrating. 

While the producers encourage the viewer to try different options and explore potential avenues of the story, the manner in which the narrative keeps circling back on the main through-line becomes numbing and repetitive the longer the experience drags on. 

And oh boy, did the experience drag on. I was completely unsatisfied with my first ending, so I backtracked a bit to try see what the other endings were like. The end result of this was that the last 15 minutes of the film was comprised mostly of the rewind montage, which was pretty tiresome.

Black Mirror Bandersnatch Source: Netflix

I held on so long because I wanted to find the “happy ending” for Stefan’s story, but it soon became apparent that this wasn’t going to happen, since it’s Black Mirror after all. 

Eventually, I gave up. Out of curiosity, this morning I looked up the endings to see all of the other potential outcomes for the story which I had been too lazy to find, and it turns out that I had actually seen them all without realising. If I hadn’t gotten bored at that stage, I could have ended up wasting a lot of time making slightly different choices, only to receive the same endings I had already seen.

How did you feel about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch?

Poll Results:

I haven't seen it yet/I don't know. (670)
It was pretty good - I don't regret the time I put into it. (655)
I thought it was quite boring.  (518)
It was amazing. (423)
Meh, very average. Wouldn't bother playing anything like it again. (382)
It was awful. (228)

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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