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Entertainment & Arts

What to know before watching the ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ interactive odyssey

Pictured - Fionn Whitehead
Netflix launched its interactive odyssey on Friday. Here’s what you should know before venturing into “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” starring Fionn Whitehead.
(Netflix / Black Mirror)

Look out world, the “Black Mirror” interactive experience is upon us.

As teased in a trailer Thursday, Netflix dropped “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” at midnight Pacific and social media has been abuzz in the hours since, attempting to untangle the twisted tale of a young man’s flirtation with madness.

Rather than go in completely blind, here are a few things to keep in mind before delving into the “Black Mirror” film.

What’s a bandersnatch, anyway?

First mentioned by Lewis Carroll in his 1872 novel “Through the Looking Glass,” a bandersnatch is a speedy fictional creature with powerful jaws, but lacking more definitive description.

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In “Black Mirror,” “Bandersnatch” is a choose-your-own-adventure story that Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) is attempting to adapt into an interactive video game, despite the author’s mysterious, murderous impulses while penning the original novel.

How long can I expect to spend on this adventure?

That’s really up to you. There’s a reported total of 312 minutes of filmed material contained in “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” over five hours of piping hot bandersnatch content.

In reality, Netflix suggests that the average run time is around 90 minutes.

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Asim Chaudhry, from left, Will Poulter and Fionn Whitehead in “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”
(Stuart Hendry / Netflix)

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Can I do what I did as a kid and find the best ending and choose toward that?

What? No! What is wrong with you? You’re going to ruin the narrative integrity of the entire project. Besides, there are five main endings – all containing variations – don’t you want to find them all?

Can Netflix really pull this off?

Believe it or not, it already has. “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” may be the company’s first foray into interactive entertainment for more mature audiences, but the streaming content creator has been playing in the children’s choose-your-own-adventure game for over a year.

“Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” launched in June 2017, followed by “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile,” “Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout” and “Minecraft: Story Mode,” proving that Netflix knows what’s up when it comes to branching narratives.

OK, but how are people reacting to their “Bandersnatch” complicity?

Not great, honestly. Check it out.

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Think you’re tougher than the rest? Choose for yourself. “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is now streaming on Netflix.

libby.hill@latimes.com

@midwestspitfire


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