In December, Netflix released two movies that would take the entertainment world by storm. The first was Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, released December 13th. The film, categorized online as a “Drama/Thriller”, told the story through scenes in the past and present. In the scenes set in the past, Malorie is pregnant and experiencing the start of the apocalypse. However, in the present she has two young children she is taking care of in the post-apocalyptic world. The story is of a pregnant woman named Malorie during an apocalypse, where mysterious creatures attack the world. The creatures infest people’s minds, by taking on the form of their greatest fears, leading people to kill themselves. Due to this, a great obstacle in this film is for Malorie to keep herself and her children blindfolded so they cannot see the creatures. This is the conflict of the movie, along with Malorie surviving and protecting her children, while also overcoming her own fears of connecting with others, seen in the names of the children she takes care of in the film, who she simply called “Boy” and “Girl”.
On December 28th, 2018, Netflix released its second hit film, Bandersnatch. The film is part of Netflix’s wildly popular and successful series Black Mirror, which is expecting a season 5 release soon. However, Bandersnatch is much more unique because it is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” movie, which is what caused such a surge in popularity. The story is about a young game developer named Stefan Butler, played by A.J. Houghton. The twist in the story is that Stefan himself is coding a “Choose Your Own Adventure” video game. As he goes throughout the process of developing his own game, viewers get to make choices about his actions and decisions. The story the viewer can choose can be as dark and twisted as the they want, leading Stefan down many different paths. This new form of storytelling in film was a huge part of the project’s popularity, as this was something many viewers had never experienced before. I personally really enjoyed the “Choose your own Adventure” format for this movie. I found that viewing all of the different storylines possible was very entertaining, and was a way for me to have a unique story that I chose.
The two films were very popular at release, but experienced some mixed reviews. When asking people about Bird Box, they tend to either love it or hate it. Similarly, the movie scored a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While most positive opinions about Bird Box relate to the visuals and the challenges the characters face, most negative reviews focus on the movie’s similarity to other films recently released in the genre. I personally believe that the movie is unique to itself, as it dives deeper into the personal stories and lives of characters in a post-apocalyptic world, and does this very well.
It is especially hard to give a rating to a film with as much complexity as Bandersnatch, as it is almost impossible to rate it fairly. Although it’s 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Bandersnatch is honestly such a new and fresh experience as a project and film. There haven’t been any “Choose Your Own Adventure” films in recent times, and Bandersnatch was expertly pulled off after a year’s worth of planning from Netflix. The thousands of storylines possible for the viewer to experience is truly something impressive that I hope will become more popular in the industry over time. It has become not only a great entertainment piece, but has allowed people to connect and discuss their own unique versions of the film.
Both Bird Box and Bandersnatch have potentially laid the foundation for a new beginning for new forms of entertainment on Netflix. With new and fresh work coming out so frequently with such high quality, I look forward to what is to come from the entertainment titan.