The Secret Dancer is a "game" commissioned by Tate Kids, an initiative by the Tate Galleries to interest children in art. It was directed by Martin Percy, and is currently up for a Webby Award (god help us).
In part, The Secret Dancer is a charming short film in which Degas's The Little Dancer, a statue, comes alive and is pursued by a security guard working at the Tate. When I say "charming," I mean it; it is well conceived, well acted, touching, and has a little frisson of encounter with the fantastic. As a short film, it is admirable.
It is apparently a "game" however, because at various times an alert pops up on the screen instructing you to "click on the Little Dancer". If you do so in time, the movie continues. If you fail to do so, you lose (with a short ending clip showing your loss). There is one additional bit of "interaction:" a "jigsaw puzzle" in which you must reassemble a torn-up note left for you by the Dancer.
Now, in part this is a reflection of the fact that "interactive video" is, always has been, and will for all time to come be a stupid idea. True interaction requires multiple paths, the inherently linear nature of filmed video means that algorithmically determined outcomes are infeasible, and therefore we get a branching structure -- which, because of the explosive nature of branching and the high cost of filmed video means that virtually all trees of the branch must be culled. In other words, we end up with a video version of the lamest of choose-your-own-ending books -- a single linear path with "you lose!" cul-de-sacs off to the sides.
Or to put it another way, this product, whatever its merits as a film, exhibits an utter ignorance of, indeed a willful contempt for, the techniques of the ars ludorum and the power of the game as a form. If film were the more novel form, I would now, pace Ebert, start to pontificate how film will never be an art, because it cannot match the explorative, variable, challenging character of the game, and every attempt by film to approach the game's strengths in any degree always fails.
Which serves, I trust, to point out the vapidity of Ebert's claims. But in the case of The Secret Dancer, we are left with the question: What in God's name made you think that forcing people to click occasionally improved your little video? This does not deliver anything like a plausible game, and simply breaks the immersiveness of the movie.