If you’ve spent any time on social media lately, odds are you’re aware of the viral Netflix original movie, Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock as Malorie, a pregnant artist with very few friends, besides her sister.
Bird Box chronicles the story of Malorie and a band of other survivors who take refuge in a house following the invasion of a dark apocalyptic force that drives individuals to commit suicide. The force leaves burning cars, dead bodies and destroyed infrastructure in its path. People who view the force with their eyes succumb to its suicidal influence and end their lives. As long as survivors don’t visualize the outside world with their naked eyes, they remain safe and sane. The force also causes those who are already mentally insane to hunt down survivors and force them to view the outside world. Fortunately, Malorie carries a box of birds with her that warn her when danger is near.
Sounds interesting, right?
The whole internet sure thought so, with tons of Bird Box memes and gifs flooding social media outlets in the days leading up to and following Christmas. My Twitter timeline was so infested with Bird Box tweets and jokes that I felt like I was missing out on some great cinematic masterpiece. FOMO got the best of me, and on Christmas day I sat down to watch the movie with my family.
I was met with disappointment.
Though initially captivating and suspenseful, Bird Box left a lot to be desired plot wise, in my opinion. So many questions were left unanswered.
What was the dark force? Where did it come from? What are the backstories of all the survivors who somehow made it to the house of refuge? Why didn’t Malorie die after locking eyes with her sister as she committed suicide? What happened to the two survivors, Felix and Lucy, who snuck out and stole the car while the other survivors in the house weren’t looking? Was the entire world affected by the force? And most importantly, what happened in the five years Malorie and her love interest Tom were left in the house together? How did she not become pregnant again?
Had Tom, played by Trevante Rhodes, and I been trapped in that house for five years, there would have been at least four more children born, one for each year we were trapped.
These lingering questions weren’t healthy, thought provoking cliffhangers, but rather omitted details essential for simple plot and character development.
As a viewer, I felt as if my intelligence had ben insulted. I was left wondering how this movie even went viral. What was the hype? Sure it was entertaining and suspenseful, but there were so many omitted details that I ultimately found the movie quite anticlimactic. I felt bamboozled.
The onslaught of Bird Box tweets, memes and inside jokes littering my social media feeds had successfully pulled me into the Bird Box hype, much like how the psychos in the movie physically pulled survivors to the windows to succumb to the destruction around them. Other survivors were lured by the voices of those they held near and dear to them.
I was lured to Bird Box by social media, my friends and even my own desire to be in the know, to comprehend all the Bird Box memes (none of which I found funny or particularly creative).
As someone who consistently does the most, I began thinking about my feelings towards this movie more deeply. I wondered how often I’d allowed TV and movie streaming services to consume my attention with mediocre story lines and lackluster character development.
Are we slowly being lulled into complacency by the easy accessibility of countless hours of shallow entertainment while our dreams and hopes for the future sit collecting dust? Do we jump from one viral TV series to the next, chasing some sense of belonging that comes from being abreast of trending topics?
Sure, it’s not that deep to a lot of people. Who says entertainment should also have substance? Some have even argued that Bird Box offers its own takeaways, themes and motifs.
My point here is that we’re all susceptible to mindlessly buying into the hype from time to time. We should all aim to be more conscious of how much we allow social media and trending topics to influence what we watch or spend our time consuming. Have we given the people we care about or our future goals the same amount of attention?
Let’s not become birds trapped in a box of mindless TV/movie consumption.
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