“Sugar Puffs, or Frosties?” | ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Review (SPOILER FREE!)

Black Mirror – The sort of horror, sort of sci-fi- no, hell I can’t describe Black Mirror to you…

Black Mirror – Charlie Brooker’s bewildering series of shorts, first appeared on our screens in 2011. It has been a major attraction of the streaming giant Netflix for many years. It’s last full season, appearing on New Years Day for most worldwide audiences, was a big hit, so it’s no surprise that Brooker came back for more.

And we wouldn’t want it any other way? Or would we…

BANDERSNATCH differs from the rest of the series, in that it is an interactive episode – much like the recent Netflix production of ‘Minecraft: Story Mode’ – it allows players/viewers to make decisions with their controller in order to control the sequence of events that follow.

This medium was re-popularised in 2012, with the release of ‘The Walking Dead Season 1’ game, in which players played through an alternate story to the show, featuring artistic stylings much closer to the comics. This too allowed players the control over many trivial conversations and one or two big decisions which ultimately change the outcome of ones ending slightly.

Of course, “Bandersnatch”, is a lot more ‘in-your-face’ about being an interactive episode. Without going into spoilerific (I coined that terms myself) details, it is the story of a young lad in the 1980’s struggling to make a game based on the popular ‘choose-your-own-path’ book of the era, Bandersnatch.

And though, in a world where old things become new things all the time, this is not a new medium, Brooker and the team did do an excellent job at creating something beyond what we previously thought about interactive television.

Despite its overly gruesome nature – which at times feels like unnecessary Mortal Kombat akin violence – it does have an intriguing story, with a decent array of options to chose from. At times it feel like you should be making a decision, but there isn’t an option, but considering production value, this is a given.

It has to be said that there is some excellent cinematography, which does the actors justice, as some of the lesser known cast seem to struggle a bit with the more challenging scenes. In this regard, it is a little bit stale, but the post team have done an excellent job in hiding this with clever editing.

As I write this article however, I find it interesting enough to mention, despite my lack of knowledge on the issue, that actor Will Poulter, who has a major role in this feature, has quit Twitter amidst what is supposedly a considerable amount of abuse via the social media app. It begs the question, why are people so horrible?

All things considered, I think Bandersnatch is good; just good. It’s nothing spectacular, despite some critical claims, but it’s not god awful either, despite many angry fans claims over Twitter. It’s a good re-introduction (to most) to an otherwise struggling genre. Netflix seem to be real big fans of this medium to, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more interactive bits and pieces throughout 2019.

Rating: 3.5/5

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