Why Is Everyone Talking About Netflix’s Bandersnatch?

By Komal Malik
January 16, 2019
4 minutes

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is Generation Next?

As viewers take to Netflix to find out ‘What the Furore’ is Bandersnatch all about, a small company by the name of Chooseco has chosen to sue Netflix over violation of their trademark.


Black Mirror, Netflix, Chooseco, Bandersnatch

The movie “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” opens with a scene in which the main character refers to a book as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Chooseco accuses Netflix of using its trademarked phrase without a license or authorization. Also, the dark nature of the movie has offended some parents who buy ‘Choose Your Adventure’ books for their children and have approached  Chooseco to ask if they are somehow affiliated with Bandersnatch. All this has not gone down too well with Chooseco. Who will win the battle? We don’t know, but the media hype will definitely spike the curiosity of viewers who haven’t watched Bandersnatch yet. So if you haven’t watched it yet, THIS is what the movie is all about:

What is Bandersnatch

Black Mirror is a Netflix series by Charlie Brooker. The show examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technology. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea as some episodes are pretty dark, and many viewers may find the show disturbing. Overall, in my opinion Black Mirror is entertaining, clever, thought provoking, humorous and different. The portrayals of dystopian technology use are surprising and dark. However, all the episodes are not the same. Black Mirror realistically deals with issues that are timely and important. The writing is sharp, direction is solid, and the acting is spot on.

Recently, Black Mirror released Bandersnatch, which is an  “interactive movie.” There have been mixed reviews about the movie. Some Netflix viewers found the content boring, dark and disturbing. I, on the other hand found it brilliant! Bandersnatch is entertaining, and definitely worth the hype. Being an “interactive film” it models itself after those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books we all loved as kids of the ‘90s. We, the viewers makes choices for the main character, Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), who’s caught up in the creation of his game adaptation of the fictional adventure novel Bandersnatch . It allows anyone watching it to drive the action, and includes a number of different endings, which we get to choose. As viewers, we get an opportunity to make some simple decisions for Stefan, for e.g. which cereal he will have for breakfast. Eventually, we have to make more difficult decisions which can leave the viewers feeling bad, as there are different outcomes which will change the whole plot/ending of the movie.

The Viewer Controls The Plot

You’re not just the viewer, you’re an active player who is in control of the story. When has that ever happened? Like EVER? You get to choose the path, and decide how it will end. This is revolutionary, it’s like playing an adventure game, and being in a movie at the same time. We are playing a game for the gamer creating a game; Ironic!

At one point, Netflix itself becomes a part of the movie, and that is when Stefan realises someone else is in control of his life. The message Black mirror is sending the audience through the TV show and Bandersnatch, is how technology controls our lives; how we’re ALWAYS being watched and how we let technology make decisions for us in our everyday lives. The same way we are making decisions for Stefan. This really makes one think about how we are not completely in control of our lives anymore, which was an eye opener for me, but  the experience may not be the same for others as Bandersnatch is a lot to take in, leaving one overwhelmed. This was also a great way for Netflix to slide in branding, and making Netflix itself a prominent character in this adventure, within an adventure movie.

The Social and Technical Engineering is WOW Worthy!

The social engineering is mind blowing, and it makes you wanting more which is never a bad thing.Throughout the movie we question ourselves about the choices we are making, and how much are we in control of our lives? The length of the movie depends on the choices the audience is making for the lead actor, Stefan. You’ll have a smooth time making choices as a viewer, when it comes to technicality, navigating, and the best part is, it’s bug free, without any technical hurdles.

You will be engaged throughout the movie with the actor, the story line and the game within the movie. You’ll have ten seconds to make a decision for him, and control what comes next. Some scenes/scenarios keep repeating, and watching those over and over again may make one lose interest after a while, and that may make the movie to be a bit of a drag but that wasn’t the case with me.  Kudos to the engineers behind this revolutionary interactive movie!

A Hard to Forget Experience!

Bandersnatch is a hard to forget “experience” whether you found it fascinating, or dark. It is nevertheless unforgettable. There are moments when the viewer realises they have to make the “correct” choice as it leads to a dead end. At this point you may question your own choice, and how your choices as a viewer are also being controlled. Do we really have the freedom to make a choice? Or is it the illusion of choice that makes us feel in control, when actually, we’re not – just like the tech savvy world that we live in. Scary, and fascinating!

With Bandersnatch, one cannot slouch on the couch and watch it, there are decisions that need to be made and your brain and heart are constantly engaged while you navigate the life of the main character in the adventure thriller. Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch will get some people’s attention, while it may not gel well with others.

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About Komal Malik

Komal Malik is self employed as a Fashion Curator, Stylist and Retailer. She has Vj'ed for Indus Music, acted in sitcoms and television serials, is a voice-over artist, a former stockbroker, a teacher, a certified Reiki healer, a Neurolinguistics programmer, and if that's not all...her crowning glory, in her own words, is her ability to 'Hoola Hoop like there's no tomorrow'! Komal is a self proclaimed fitness freak-a gymmaholic, (she coined the word for what describes her best). She secretly wishes we lived in a peaceful world. Her motto in life? 'God helps those who help themselves,...be humble and be kind always. Learn and grow from life experiences!' If you love to follow the latest on Fashion trends in Pakistan, look forward to reading more from Komal on FUCHSIA Magazine.

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