I'm roaring with approval for this interactive sequel, of sorts, to "The Bear," the 2012 Grand Prix-winning commercial from BETC Paris and French movie channel Canal+.
In the original, an ursine auteur sinks his claws into a big-budget medieval action film, fussing like a temperamental Hollywood diva over every aspect of production, from the script and direction to the special effects and score. Ultimately, the spot pulls the rug out from under viewers' expectations with an inspired visual punch line.
Now, with "Being the Bear," users can play director and take over a film set, choosing among several genre types to complete a dramatic scene (shown in the first commercial) in which a woman kneels over a wounded warrior who has been shot through the chest with an arrow. Naturally, some of the selections work better than others, but the writing and on-screen details are sharp throughout, and they reward multiple viewings. (The approach reminds me a bit of Tipp-Ex's pick-your-own-adventure videos—work from France that featured a goofy, scenery-chewing bear. It also recalls the "Film, TV and Theater Styles" game from Whose Line Is It Anyway?)
My favorites in the new Canal+ campaign include the "Porno" option, which lets the actors have a ball, and "Horror," a gloriously yucky exercise in spit-screen technique. The "Independent" selection yields the kind of self-obsessed, overly-probing dialogue only an audience of film majors (or Woody Allen) could love.
I wish they'd included a "Wildlife Documentary" option, because it might've given the bear—who stays behind the camera this time (we just glimpse his paw)—a role he could really sink his teeth into.
See the original spot below.