“Sugar Puffs or Frosties?”
I began to panic as I realized that I was about to make my first choice in the choose-your-own adventure interactive narrative “Bandersnatch,” a Black Mirror Netflix original.
Not only was I panicking, but I was growing angry because I shouldn’t be panicking. My enjoyment for a new Black Mirror installment should not start with a mental breakdown over a choice of cereal.
Black Mirror is a Netflix original series with independent episodes that center around the idea of societal subservience to technology. “Bandersnatch” is the newest Black Mirror installment that was released on Dec. 28. Made into its own movie, “Bandersnatch” would be revolutionary as it is the first time the idea of an interactive narrative will be panned out into a movie.
As the movie progresses, the main character has to make choices. Those choices appear on the viewer’s screen and you have to decide in a certain time frame, or a choice is made for you. Once you make the choice, the movie continues smoothly, as if nothing happened at all.
The enthralling concept follows the basic storyline of a teenage programmer (played by Fionn Whitehead) who adopts a choose-your-own adventure book into an interactive game by the name of “Bandersnatch.” As he is programming this game that is supposed to be his breakthrough, the audience makes a majority of his decisions, acting as a parallel between the plot of the story.
While watching it, I thought it was perfect. Of course a Black Mirror episode about the madness of being controlled would have the extra element where the audience experiences the madness of the main character. It is a such a Black Mirror move, I could only applaud it.
However, as I reflected back on my experience, I realized that I didn’t really enjoy the movie. Sure I loved the premise of making decisions for the main character, but the exhilaration of the decision making definitely detracted from my experience with the plotline. I fell down a rabbit hole, constantly rewatching scenes to get through all of the main five endings. After about four hours, I exited out of the movie in frustration as I grew tired from the strenuous and scarring choices that I had to keep making.
As an avid Black Mirror fan, the plot was not at par with the typical Black Mirror storyline. If it wasn’t interactive, I would not be interested in it.