Directed by: #BenSimms
Written by: #RobertBuchta, #BearGrylls, #DelbertShoopman
Film Review by: Alicia Moore
“The protective fence surrounding a wildlife sanctuary has mysteriously suffered a breach. Bear is called in to help rescue a mischievous baboon, track down a hungry lion, and fix the fence before any more animals get out.”
Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie is an interactive film on Netflix which takes its viewers on an exciting adventure, travelling with Bear Grylls as he is set to complete a number of dangerous tasks. Viewers are given the choice of what movements and decisions he makes throughout the film, ultimately deciding his fate on this escapade.
Visually, the film carries the same spark that can be viewed in all of Bear Grylls’ work — impressive camera work and well thought out sequences, and editing of these too. Here, viewers can see both from a third person point of view and a first person point of view, enhancing the evident suspense and intrigue throughout. Continuously switching between the two perspectives, from stable camera operating (Dan Bowring) to more frantic scenes filmed from cameras attached to Grylls, raises the viewer’s heart rate almost immediately yet still manages to keep the overall pace of the film greatly balanced as to not completely overwhelm the senses.
Although the tasks presented to Grylls in this film immediately sound daring and upbeat, the choices specifically given to viewers don’t seem to match up with this created atmosphere. This adventure can last from 45 minutes to at least 90 minutes depending on what choices are made, seeming to be that logical responses conclude in the shorter duration. I think to get the most enjoyment from the interactive element, the viewer should have a specific interest in the daring events shown; I’ve always enjoyed Grylls’ content, ever since I was young, but unfortunately you wouldn’t find me in the woods with a smile on my face now. Having that lively interest in such subjects would definitely lead to a more immersive and fulfilling watching experience.
On the other hand, during this lockdown period when staying indoors is of high importance, Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie would also be a great watch for families to enjoy together, especially when younger children can be included in the excitement it can provide. I liked watching Grylls’ work as I grew and explored because I was always learning new information that I would bank in my mind to tell those around me… even when it might not have been necessarily relevant in the moments I divulged it. It’s a wonderful idea to pass this unruly education to children today through a platform they are more familiar with — and in an interactive way that is sure to hold their attention.
Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie presents itself as more of a ‘game’ rather than a film which hasn’t actually applied to other interactive releases I know of so far. Other releases could still thrive in a theatre environment, but this film wouldn’t have the same reaction if placed in those surroundings, which I do see as a uniquely positive aspect in its making. Despite its flaws in general, audiences are truly given a thrilling ride alongside a nationally known, experienced adventurer.