Is You vs. Wild: Out Cold Scripted or Real?

‘You vs. Wild: Out Cold’ is a Netflix live-action interactive film that follows Bear Grylls, the renowned adventurer, documentarian, and TV survivalist, as he battles the harsh environment of an icy mountainous landscape, deals with temporary amnesia, and evades dangerous wild animals while trying to find his friend and pilot, Captain Joe Raynor. The third entry in the ‘You vs. Wild’ franchise, ‘You vs. Wild: Out Cold’ follows the ‘You vs. Wild’ series and ‘Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie.’

Like in the previous projects, Bear directly speaks to the camera in this film, asking you, the audience, to make all the pivotal decisions during his journey. As with any other interactive content, your decisions dictate which paths Bear will take in the film, in what chronological order he should perform his tasks, and what insects he should eat. The film is a quintessential Bear Grylls project. It celebrates nature while demonstrating the indomitable spirit of humanity. If the documentary-style narrative of the film has made you wonder whether it is real or fake, here is what you need to know.

Is You vs. Wild Out Cold Fake or Real?

‘You vs. Wild: Out Cold’ is a complex mix of real danger and movie magic. Considering the narrative, there are significantly more hints of the presence of an actual script with this project than any of its predecessors. We can safely assume that Bear Grylls didn’t jump out of a crashing plane and then traversed his way through a hostile environment to rescue the pilot. Because if he did, it would have made international news. In the same way, equally impossible is him having temporary amnesia.

The aforementioned aspects of the special are most likely present to add additional layers of conflict to the story. Interestingly, they work splendidly. As you guide Bear through the challenges, you become completely immersed in the plot and desperately want him to succeed. On the other hand, some of the dangers Bear faces during his mission seem to be quite real, especially those involving climbing.

‘You vs. Wild: Out Cold’ was filmed in the Dolomites, a tricky mountain range to traverse even for an expert climber like Bear, who summited Everest at the age of 23. Furthermore, the adventurer has to enact all the scenarios that he encounters due to the audience’s choices and endure the consequences of the poor ones. However, as for the scenes involving animals, they were probably filmed in an extremely controlled environment.

The Netflix interactive special has the same team of executive producers as ‘You vs. Wild’ and ‘Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie,’ comprising Delbert Shoopman (The Natural Studios), Rob Buchta, Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Ben Silverman, and Howard Owens (Propagate Content). Therefore, whatever rules the team came up with for the original series have likely been followed in ‘You vs. Wild: Out Cold’ as well.

A good comparison for the special is pro-wrestling or sports entertainment, where, like in the film, the storyline is scripted, but the dangers that the athletes face are quite real, even if they are performed by an expert in the presence of other experts. Ultimately, ‘You vs. Wild: Out Cold’ tiptoes the line between fake and real. It’s not 100% genuine because there is a script. At the same time, it’s also authentic because the presence of a script doesn’t eliminate the danger associated with Bear’s actions in the movie.

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