This week, Variety reports that Netflix has decided to "double down" on interactive movies, pioneered by Charlie Brooker's Dragon's Lair homage. During a keynote speech in Mumbai, production VP Todd Yellin announced that the company will produce a wide variety of such flicks over the next few years -- and not just for sci-fi nerds, either. "It could be a wacky comedy," he added, or "a romance, where the audience gets to choose -- should she go out with him or him." This could pave the way for a weird future in which speedrunners figure out how to end rom-coms in four minutes by avoiding all the wacky misunderstandings.
And despite many, many reviewers deriding interactive movies like Bandersnatch being mere short-term gimmicks, this could indeed be the future. Cinematic history is rife with fads, from hypnotism to smell-o-vision to even a previous brief go at interactive storytelling with the 1995 short Mr. Payback. Like Bandersnatch, all of these were experiments to promote audience engagement (two words that count as foreplay to marketers), but were just too fiddly, flashy, or expensive to be worth the hassle after the novelty wore off.
But a Bandersnatch doesn't need a modified theater or awkward 3D glasses to work; just a trackpad or a remote. This oozes that Netflix chill that makes it so easy for people to slump back and decide the fate of movie heroes like couch potato Roman emperors.