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Netflix revolutionizes movie-watching with “Bandersnatch”

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Netflix revolutionizes movie-watching with “Bandersnatch”

Bandersnatch loses quality to be an interactive film.

Bandersnatch loses quality to be an interactive film.

Netflix

Bandersnatch loses quality to be an interactive film.

Netflix

Netflix

Bandersnatch loses quality to be an interactive film.

Eli Achtzehn, Staff Writer

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Netflix has never been a stranger to innovation, as its ideas have shaped the way that people watch movies and television today. Its newest endeavor, the Netflix original film Bandersnatch, is an attempt to continue this pioneering trend.

The film incorporates a choose-your-own adventure element to the viewing experience as the audience has the ability to make decisions that impact the story.

Though Bandersnatch is the first adaptation of this idea to film, this form of storytelling is anything but new. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Bantam Books published a gamebook series called Choose Your Own Adventure. The books included options that the reader could choose, with each decision correlating to a different page number where the story would continue and be impacted by the choice.

Bandersnatch proves that, similar to the books that were released 30 years ago, this form of storytelling in film can be very entertaining. Yet it will remain a novelty and not a regular occurrence.

Part of the reason that Bandersnatch works so well is that the idea that the viewer is deciding things for the main character contributes to the plot, because the movie explores ideas of free will. Bandersnatch is a part of the Black Mirror series, a Netflix show that focuses on dark examinations of society, and the creators very smartly used the choose-your-own adventure format to expand themes of the show.

Those making the film understood that stopping a movie to force the audience to make a choice can ruin pacing and greatly disconnect viewers from the story. Instead of letting this disconnect occur, they incorporated the decision making into the movie’s storyline.

The darkness of Black Mirror allows it to use this idea in ways that many other genres could not. A similar style when added to a sitcom would not work nearly as well, as the audience could very easily lose connection to the show and become annoyed that it is continually pausing in order for a decision to be made.

A big draw of Bandersnatch are the many possible endings that viewers could see. Since this movie is the first of its kind, many enjoyed rewatching Bandersnatch to reach each conclusion, but if this type of entertainment became common, that enjoyment could quickly become boredom.

Bandersnatch had more than five hours of possible content for one to view. That amount of entertainment can seem like a chore to those watching, and the creation of that much content can be even harder on the creators.

With much more to film and organize than a traditional movie, the workload could be enormous for filmmakers. Even further, despite the amount of work being put in, directors can have less control over their films than with a normal movie. It is much more difficult for creators to achieve their vision for a story when audiences have a say in what the characters do.

The choose-your-own adventure format can be very fun and entertaining, but most often the cons outweigh the pros. While Bandersnatch is an interesting and enjoyable experiment in filmmaking, it will likely not start a trend.

About the Writer
Eli Achtzehn, Staff Writer

Eli Achtzehn is a junior and second-year staff writer. He enjoys playing the drums and can be found on the lacrosse field or in your heart.

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Netflix revolutionizes movie-watching with “Bandersnatch”