Guys, we need to talk about books being adapted into movies. Specifically, we need to talk about splitting the last movie of a franchise into two parts. Is it necessary? Are the movie guys seeing a market that will pay whatever they can to see their favourite character on the big screen, and getting a little greedy? Are audiences not wanting to let go and forcing people to split up a story into two parts?
Let’s begin here, with the 7th book of Rowling’s series being split into two movies.
Did it need to be two movies?
In my opinion, NO. If they were going to break any of the seven books into two movies, it should have been Order of the Phoenix. I’ve been told reliably by a few people who haven’t read the books (they do exist!) that it the movie of Order of the Phoenix makes no sense without having the context of the book. It’s apparently disjointed and assumes the audience knows about lots of things that happen off-screen, except that people who haven’t read the books DON’T KNOW THAT.
There’s quite a lot of material to get through in the fifth book, and it really is one of the more emotional books in the series. In contrast, there are large chunks of Deathly Hallows where nothing happens, which the movies deal with by having long montages.
So in my opinion, the seventh Harry Potter book didn’t need to be made into two movies.
There is not enough material in that book for this movies. Yes, it’s a long book, the longest of the series, but in terms of real content that could be taken to the screen, there isn’t enough for two movies.
One of the things I hated about the Twilight movies is the heavy breathing and long pauses between the lines the actors said – it felt like the franchise was based on artificially extending each scene to make the movies longer.
In the Breaking Dawn book, there’s a lot of internal stuff that Bella goes through, but in the movie I think it just got ridiculous how everything was stretched out to fill two movies.
I love Middle Earth. I spend a significant part of every year re-reading books Tolkien set in the world. I speak Quenya (THE THINGS y’all don’t know about me!), but maybe not very well.
There was enough material in The Hobbit, The Unfinished Tales, The Lost Tales and the Histories of Middle Earth in this time period to make two solid movies. There is not enough material, in my opinion, to fill three movies.
I love watching the original three The Lord of the Rings movies. I have the extended versions. I have the soundtracks and the scores and the complete recordings. I love what Peter Jackson did with those movies.
I don’t like watching the movie adaptations of The Hobbit. Every single scene feels too bloody long. Everything happens for longer than necessary. If we’re walking, we walk for a few minutes more than I want to watch. If we’re setting up the scene, there’s one or two more shots of mountains or grass or rivers than I want to see. If we’re fighting, I tend to get BORED watching the fighting because it’s gone on too long.
When we’re talking about extending movies artificially, we have to acknowledge this is one of the worst offenders.
We know that Mockingjay will be split up into two movies. I’m undecided about how I feel about this.
Mockingjay is written so there’s a fair bit of action that happens without Katniss, and maybe there is enough material there to warrant splitting the movie into two parts. I guess we can all judge when Part One comes out. However, my gut instinct is that the move is unnecessary.
It’s been announced recently that Allegiant will also be split into two movies. Allegiant, Part 1 will be released March 18, 2016 and Allegiant, Part 2 will be released March 24, 2017.
I don’t really think that’s necessary. I mean, in a way I realise that in a film, the world will need to kind of be introduced again. Everything is different and maybe a chunk of that movie will be about re-establishing the characters in the changed world. There’s also a bunch of stuff left out of Allegiant that could provide source material.
But, I don’t think there’s more going on in Allegiant when compared to the other two books, so if the other two are fine as one movie each, why is Allegiant being split into two?
And yeah, I get that the producers would probably want Roth to contribute to the expansion of stuff that isn’t in the book, but that’s kind of silly because usually you’re cutting things out of an adaptation, not frantically looking to add things in.
Why does Hollywood suddenly think that we all want two movies of the last book in a franchise? Because it worked for Harry Potter? In my opinion, it only “worked” for Harry Potter in the sense that people went and saw both movies, even those who like me, thought it was unnecessary.
Honestly, my reaction when hearing Deathly Hallows was going to be split up was to say that the production company could see their gravy train leaving the station and they wanted to hold on to it for just a bit longer. Which is terribly uncharitable of me, but the more that this happens to book adaptations, the more I think I was close to the mark.
It seems it’s Lionsgate and Warner Brothers who are doing this. They own most of the YA franchises these days and they’re the ones deciding that we need two films when the franchise is finishing. The Hobbit movies can be put down to Peter Jackson’s love of Middle Earth (and his hubris), but Summit did the Breaking Dawn movies and is doing the Divergent adaptations, and the Hunger Games movies are by Lionsgate, who merged with Summit a while ago.
So maybe it’s just Lionsgate/Summit?
I think it’s unfair of the companies to do this if it’s not warranted. I don’t agree that all these book-to-movie adaptations needed two movies for the last movie. I think the target audience for these movies is in most cases too young to pay to see it for themselves. It’s one thing if I want to go and watch The Hobbit in three movies, but quite another when a kid between 12 and 16 wants to go see an adaptation of their favourite book, and their parents and guardians are walloped with having to pay to see two movies when the story have been told well with one. But of course, a successful business model looks at where the money is coming from, and then tests to see how far the target market will go. In this case, it’s pretty obvious that people, and their parents, will pay to see two parts of a movie.
I also don’t think boycotting or refusing to see/buy these movies is a positive solution – they’ll just stop making YA adaptations, and it’s great to finally see movies being made especially with this grossly overlooked audience in mind. I wish they had more respect for that audience, but baby steps, I guess.
I am looking forward to see how Allegiant and Mockingjay play out. Considering that these are the first split-the-book-into-two-movies scenarios where I can see where the extra material would be coming from and how it would help tell the story in a visual medium, these two movies might change this hateful trend for the better.