Stefan is a young and upcoming computer game programmer. Stefan has a dream to turn one of his favourite novels into a video game for the whole world to experience. After a large company decides to invest in his idea and turn it into a new game, Stefan will try to meet deadlines and deliver a perfect game without problems or faults. As Stefan tries to develop his game further, his mind will start playing games of its own.
For those who are not aware, this is a “choose your own adventure” style movie- a first-time experience on Netflix. To watch the film, you, the viewer, will be required to make decisions which can alter the film’s plot and storyline. Netflix has also confirmed that you need a “modern device” (such as a PlayStation 4 etc.) to allow the feature/function to work. Some choices that you will be required to make are minor, and others are huge, which as mentioned can change the entire experience or the plot! So choose carefully.
Because this is not a typical film, my review score will is based on my experience of this new concept from Netflix and not the film itself. After long consideration, I feel it’s impossible to review this as a standard film. Since watching the movie, I have also talked with other viewers and discussed their experience of the film. Overall, I am somewhat surprised to hear people’s different results and what story others were able to achieve.
According to IMDb, the total amount of footage that is used to make this film is a total of 5 hours and 12 mins. The Netflix viewer can also view all of this footage, but to do this, it would require you to watch the film multiple times. On average, a viewer watching this movie would only watch approx. 90 mins of footage until you would need to start the film all over again to get a different ending.
As a personal experience, I watched this on the night of its release on Netflix along with my wife. The film and world that is created in the Black Mirror series is incredible. As selections were made, I was also surprised as to just how smoothly everything runs, flowing just like a regular film. There are no loading screens or delays when selections are required to be made. Even if you’re thinking about your choice, the film continues as it awaits your final decision. I can say that I have witnessed this type of concept before with selected PlayStation 4 video games, but even then I’ve never seen or experienced anything as smooth as this in regards to both loading times and its pace. Most games I have experienced also have actors that are slightly cheesy where this film has invested into getting proper, talented actors. As for the plot, it’s unique, and I feel many people will relate to the film, not to mention that I loved the 80s references throughout the movie too.
As an experience, though, it was a tad tricky. As I stated, the journey I was rather exciting, but around the halfway mark, sections of the film began to be repeated so I could choose a path that led to a final ending. Some of the time, I was happy to revisit the choice, but at other times I did find it slightly annoying. Once again, this will depend on the user and the selections you made. Out of the five endings, I have completed three different finishes thus far.
Overall, Netflix has supported a new film which I feel will be game-changer when it comes to movies. If you haven’t watched this film, I recommend it as I think it would surprise many of its audiences and you will find a good dose of entertainment as it is new and fresh (and fun!). Every person who watches this film will experience something different to others. Could this be a new fad? Imagine selecting outcomes on the next horror film. Like 3D, this fad could have its moment and then disappear. I enjoyed this concept, and I give full credit to Netflix’s effort to deliver something new to the world. I do wish the experience could have been slightly more positive in allowing me to conclude first viewing. Have you watched the film yet? What were your thoughts?
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Review Written by Peter Walkden