TL;DR – An improvement on this style of story, but an odd juxtaposition holds it back.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie Review –
One way that Netflix has tried to differentiate itself in an increasingly bifurcated market has been the implementation of ‘choose your own adventure’ films. These echo back to an old style of storytelling, but while the nostalgia has been interesting, none of them has been able to nail the technique so far. However, if anyone has a shot at it, it would be Bear Grylls for the entertainment factor alone.
So to set the scene, we open in a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa, where we find Bear Grylls (Bear Grylls) running from a lion only to reach his car to find it locked. We then jump back earlier in the day to find Bear inspecting a fence to see that something had broken through and that the fence that should be electric is not working. You have to fix, the power, find a baboon, and stop a lion all before a storm comes in.
One area where you have to get used to is the overall style of the film. This is a movie in the style of Bear Grylls famous Man vs. Wild series with a running narrative to the camera. It puts Bear in ‘danger’ in this scenario and hits all those critical points like eating gross things and repelling down sheer cliffs. However, because it is all framed around this fictional story, it creates this weird juxtaposition, like both sides of the story are fighting each other. The fictional tale undercuts the documentary-style, and the documentary-style slows down the story as we sit through Bear’s expositions to the camera. For example, why is he eating a leach when he is within driving distance of food?
The one improvements this version has on all of its predecessors is that you don’t have to wait for the countdown to finish once you have clicked your option. Previously this dragged the narrative out to frustrating levels, here you don’t have to wait around and watch the time pass you by. This has the effect of keeping what narrative there is flowing at a pace that you need. The question then becomes which choice to you make in the film, and they do have a lot of options that just boil down to ‘do you want to make Bear suffer?’ there are even musical cues to let you know that the show knows that you picked that option on purpose.
Overall, this feels like one of those old educational video games made by people that do not understand video games. Because things happen not because they feel natural, but because the story needs to have an educational moment here. To add to that, there is a disclaimer right at the start that undercuts all the advice that he gives in the show which gives the feeling that this went through a very interesting legal release phase before they would let it air.
In the end, do we recommend Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie? Well, look. On the one hand, they have made an immediate improvement with this style by just making it flow better. However, the odd juxtaposition lets it down even if the film does give you the option of using Bear as human bait. If you liked Animals of the Loose, we would recommend to you Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie
Directed by – Ben Simms
Created by – Bear Grylls, Rob Buchta & Delbert Shoopman
Music by – Devon Powers
Cinematography by – Paul Mungeam
Edited by – Frank Grow & Jonathan Emerson
Production/Distribution Companies – Electus, The Natural Studios & Netflix
Starring – Bear Grylls
Rating – Australia: M;