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The graphic reproduced here is the script for Mr. Payback, the “world’s first interactive movie.” This is the future of entertainment—get used to it. Artists and writers should start working today developing their “authoring tool” skills toward careers as “bridgeplane producers.” Don’t believe it? Every major corporation, including the phone company—repeat: including the phone company—is striving hard to merge computers with television with audio with theater into one big everything-on-demand technology. Based on preview screenings, what audiences demand—and what Payback shamelessly delivers—is the very definition of “lowest common denominator.”
We have blocked the last portion of the chart so as not to give away any of the exciting conclusions, but one can clearly grasp why Mr. Payback has all the spontaneity of an industrial film. The dialogue and characters are entirely subservient to the technology. The purpose of every scene is to provide information so that audiences can make choices, rather than emotions or ideas so that audiences may respond. Though the technology is impressive, so are the workings of a microwave oven.
Writer/director Bob Gale worked a similar trick with the interlaced “Back to the Future” films. In those cases, keeping the audience away from editing decisions yielded a livelier result.
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Mr. Payback is currently playing at Sony Theaters Wheaton Plaza.