Rachel Bache says:
Here's the problem with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - there's no real action. It doesn't leave you hyperventilating in your seat like the first two films did. And it's easy to see why: Part 1 is all filler.
The "filler" movie is becoming all too common. The Hunger Games and Twilight have done it, and even the final movie of the Divergent series, Allegiant, is set to be split in two. Spoiler alert: nothing interesting happens for 90 per cent of that book.
Can we not just cut out the pages that you likely skipped anyway and make a movie that is more than just okay? I loved The Hunger Games books, but that doesn't mean I want to see two hours of Katniss whining.
Yes, I know it's all about making mega-bucks for the film studios, but let's set that aside for a minute. Wouldn't you rather have one amazing movie than two average ones? Or in the case of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, one God-awful movie instead of two God-awful movies?
Even The Hobbit suffers from being broken up. Peter Jackson had to take from other parts of Tolkien's appendices to pad out the films, which can be justified given the lengthy history of Middle-earth. I can pretty much guarantee that I won't be the only one falling asleep during The Battle of Five Armies' ridiculous 45-minute fight scene.
The only instance when a movie split kind of worked was with the final Harry Potter movies. Why? Because there had already been six movies following beloved characters in an expansive world. It also helped that the story was intriguing enough to fill two movies satisfyingly.
So, unless your book-to-film franchise spans a decade or more, splitting your finale into two parts isn't the best idea.
Russell Baille says:
There are very good reasons why it's okay to split books into many parts for many movies. I say this out of enlightened self-interest. Because when you're running a weekly entertainment magazine, you live with an insomnia-inducing question: What's on next week's cover?
If nothing else, endless franchises of beloved books give me regular options. Yes, maybe that's lazy. But when you're a pop culture publication, you'd best not ignore stuff that's popular, even if it risks a little deja vu.
Now, I'm not saying that about this week's cover - the story that goes with it is a goodie, I reckon. And, unlike some, I am looking forward to the 45-minute battle of the five armies in the last Hobbit. Mainly because it should balance out the the 45 minutes it seemed to take for those bloody dwarves to meet, greet and eat at Bilbo's place in the first Hobbit.
Other reasons why book-splitting is a good thing? It lets the uncommitted skip to the end. I'm pretty sure I watched the early Harry Potter films until I realised those kids still couldn't act (after two or three). But I was more than happy to return to the finale derived from the divided last book.
In high-end television, they're chopping up whole books all the time to make good stuff: Game of Thrones, Olive Kitteridge.
But yes, this argument is about movies. So let me finish with a forthcoming movie that shows it's more than okay for Hollywood to slice up lengthy works of fiction. It's called Exodus: Gods And Kings. It's from a good book, apparently, but thankfully not the whole thing.
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