Mosaic from Steven Soderbergh – Watch It How You Want To

Developer – HBO/PodOp Experience

Price – Free

Mosaic Has the Heavy Hitters

Mosaic is a mobile mini-series murder mystery app currently available only on iOS devices (it is being released shortly on Android) directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Sharon Stone and released by HBO.  The project had a reported budget of over 20 million dollars and was in development for 3 years.  The app or really mini-series, in this case, is similar to the 1980’s science fiction choose your own adventure children novels. To refresh your memory every few chapters you were presented with a decision and depending on your choice you jumped to different sections of the novel. Anyway, back to Mosaic. Even before the release, the mini-series boasted both huge budget and a group of collaborates never before seen for a release of a mobile app.  We have Academy Award winning Best Director, Steven Soderbergh (for “Traffic” in 2000), shooting the project. He is also known for the “Oceans” trilogy series, “Erin Brockovich”, and “Contagion” to name a few.  Superstar Sharon Stone is the lead and her credentials are well known with “Casino” or possibly the first 30 minutes of “Basic Instinct” as probably being my favorite roles of hers.  Most readers will probably rank either “Game of Thrones”, “The Sopranos”, or “The Wire” as one of their top HBO television shows so before even downloading the app, my expectations were through the roof.  I plan on locking myself in my room with a large pizza, 12 pack of Busch beer and binge watching this beast.

Mosaic Plot (no spoilers here)

I will keep this brief as to not ruin it for the audience. The movie follows a famous children’s author who visits a lavish ski resort and someone is murdered. (DUN DUN DUN DUUNNNN!).  The mini-series can be viewed primarily from two separate people’s perspectives.

Mosaic Concept

As I waited patiently for the app to download, I was excited to see how this mini-series would impact the entertainment industry. I thought of it as a video game mashed with a movie and my decisions would change the outcome. It would offer great repeat value as I would re-watch it revising my choices. After burning through the first few episodes, I was discussing the mini-series at the work coffee bar. (No one talks at water coolers anymore.)  I was rudely informed by a colleague that our path through the mini-series does not affect the plot outcome.  While disappointed, I continued depriving my family of my attention as I plowed through the mini-series.  Knowing we can’t change the outcome, you are at least given the ability to choose how to view the plot.  You can choose one of two character’s perspective through the mini-series after the first episode.  As the saga continues, you are presented little additional bits of information referred to as discoveries.


Mosaic Final Thoughts

I praise the idea with being cutting edge, but found the lack of my power to control the outcome disappointing and found the plot line to be a little loose and hard to follow. I believe this is the result of picking your viewing options.  I completely understand the hope was after finishing the story you would re-watch it from other perspectives, but I just lacked the desire.  I also commend HBO for not using the app as a sales tool where you watch free teaser episodes, get hooked, and then require a subscription to finish the mini-series.  I also think anytime a project of this magnitude is featured for free, the consumer is the winner.  I am glad to hear Soderbergh has two more similar projects in development, and I fully expect the following projects to keep the Mosaic concept, but add what we want which is the power to change the outcome.  The biggest take away for me is the time and money spent on a mobile app. This will encourage even greater investments in the free mobile app market making us tech nerds the true beneficiary of this project.  On January 22, 2018, HBO will be releasing the complete Mosaic footage in chronic logical order.  I will watch the complete series for the sole reason of deciding the better format to enjoy the Mosaic experience.


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