The Big Picture: Broken Movies

MovieBob

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Broken Movies

This habit of major film studios breaking films into different parts has some ups and downs.

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MatParker116

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I'll add James Gunn's opinion (agree with him by the way)

?Listen, I love big ass shared universes in movies, as well as huge franchises. But I?m a little worried about the numerous shared universes being planned by the studios, without having a strong base film to grow from ? or in some cases, NO base film to grow from. Star Wars had the original Star Wars, the Marvel Universe had the original Iron Man, the Dark Knight series had Batman Begins, even movies like Transformers and Twilight ? these were movies audiences loved, and the audiences demanded more from these characters. But these days studios are trying to grow trees without a strong seed. Execs and producers and sometimes even directors are focused on the big picture, without perfecting the task directly in front of them ? making a great movie. And studios are trying to grow franchises from non-existent films or middling successes. It?s like they aren?t taking audiences into account at all anymore.

I know George Lucas, Kevin Feige, John [sic] Favreau, etc, had ideas where their films would potentially lead in the face of success. But I don?t think it ever got in the way of making that first movie count as if it was the last, of making it something wonderful that people would love whether it led to other films or not.

In short, I think this new business model is flawed. I think filmmakers and studios should be prepared for the big picture, but never, ever let it get in the way of making a single great film. Be a little more experimental and see what works as opposed to trying to force success. And mostly, remember that we as an industry exist to serve the audiences, to communicate with them ? they have a voice in what we create as well. We are not here to dictate what they want to see, mostly because that?s simply not possible.?
 

MovieBob

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Bob.. I like you but I swear if you dare pitch that to a studio and irt gets made. I will hunt you down and make you watch Food Fight on a 48 hour loop.

Now that said, Bob you optimism is admirable but we all know how this is panning out. Stretch one story across 3 films, it's the same thing that's turned many people away from comics. The fact that you have to watch /read 3 other movies featuring characters you don't give a damn about just to follow a single story concerning the one or two characters you do give a damn about.

Admittedly marvel is handling it well but the Hobbit is atrocious. Look The Hobbit was a short story, as in shorter than any of the Lord of The Rings books by a wide margin. By this logic we'd have had 9 Ring movies and we all know that studioes are essentiually using this as a critic shield. Because until the story is over you can't really give fair criticism of the story.
 

Rituro

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Sep 18, 2008
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In a morbidly curious kind of way, I want to see where this three(?)-part pitch of Green Eggs & Ham goes. Who's being cast? Is this part of a "Seussiverse" with cameos by the Cat and the Lorax? So many possibilities...!

...all of them bad. So, pitch it at Sony and watch them go ape for it?
 

Something Amyss

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I'm yet to see the book to movie adaptation where I thought "you know, I'm glad they split that into two parts."

Now, I like it so far in Marvel, even if the MCU seems to have added some filler to push extra plots (Iron Man 2 comes to mind). But part of the reason it seems to work with Marvel is that they're not identically adapting the source material in the first place. And I'm reasonably confident that Civil War and Infinity Wars will do the same. This means that they can build a movie in two parts. The individual MCU movies feel relatively complete. Even when they're based off a specific arc, or borrow elements.

With a book, you see largely linear interpretations, which do all the setup in the first and all the payoff in the second. Does it have to be this way? No, but if you thought "the book was better" snobs were bad before, wait until you start doing more than omitting Dobby and Kreacher from certain scenes.

I also think a big part of it is simply audience attention span. Especially for the books aimed at kids or young adults. We simply don't expect kids and teens to sit through longer movies, so we frame things in a way where people will still watch. That is, assuming the motive isn't solely profit.
 

Something Amyss

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Rituro said:
In a morbidly curious kind of way, I want to see where this three(?)-part pitch of Green Eggs & Ham goes. Who's being cast? Is this part of a "Seussiverse" with cameos by the Cat and the Lorax? So many possibilities...!

...all of them bad. So, pitch it at Sony and watch them go ape for it?
We're going to see hints of the Lorax's dark, troubled past before his own origin movie hits.
 

FPLOON

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But, I thought this has been going on even before the 21st Century... Granted, I'm thinking about the original Planet of the Apes movie series, the original Godzilla movie series (kinda), and that one french six-movie ensemble series centered around a dude choosing between two women as the overarching concept, alone, but I don't think this whole "Broken Movie" strategy has only been going on since this turn of the century... It has only gotten worrisome because now every suppose "stand-alone" movie has to leave a [more prominent] reference or two to either remind viewers that this is part of a similar timeline/universe as the other movies that came before or will come after this one or, worse, you can tell that the movie cannot be viewed without watching the movie that came before or after it, even if there isn't anything that connects them together outside of the character roaster, maybe...

Overall, this only seems to be more fixated in the type of movies that only get nominated for "Best Special Effects" or something like that and not something that would get nominated for "Best Picture" or something to that effect... Now, if this business trend does seep into the type of movies that are usually nominated for "Best Picture", for example, then we might have a bigger problem in our hands... But, I digress, for the most part...
 

MovieBob

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Ack Bob! Don't even joke about that! You know what happens when Dr. Seuss and Hollywood mix!
 

Kahani

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FPLOON said:
But, I thought this has been going on even before the 21st Century... Granted, I'm thinking about the original Planet of the Apes movie series, the original Godzilla movie series (kinda)
But those aren't examples of broken movies at all. There's a huge difference between making a sequel to a stand-alone movie after the fact, and deciding to make multiple films right from the start. If you watch Planet of the Apes and never even know it had any sequels, you still get a perfectly good experience from watching it as a film on its own. But as Bob says, no-one watches Deathly Hallows Part 1 on its own because it simply doesn't make sense to watch half a film. Franchises growing out of the success of a film are certainly not new, but planning entire franchises from scratch really is.
 

Bbleds

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Hmm I don't know, Bob's proposal could be what Hollywood needs to make a great Seuss adaptation. The problem being before that they do add characters and themes that were not present in the original stories and take little time as possible to shallowly address the original's themes and characters.

So of course they need to add even more themes and characters and expand a short story even longer between multiple movies because exploring simple yet thought provoking ideas in an interesting and imaginative setting is just ridiculous!

So you go Bob! My only question is that is the first film going to explore the obsession with the green eggs or the ham? I can't wait to see this come to fruition.
 

Evonisia

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Jun 24, 2013
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Well after The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax and (I guess) Horton Hears a Who, making Green Eggs and Ham will be kinda bad or awful and yet still make a pile of cash money.

Kahani said:
But those aren't examples of broken movies at all. There's a huge difference between making a sequel to a stand-alone movie after the fact, and deciding to make multiple films right from the start. If you watch Planet of the Apes and never even know it had any sequels, you still get a perfectly good experience from watching it as a film on its own. But as Bob says, no-one watches Deathly Hallows Part 1 on its own because it simply doesn't make sense to watch half a film. Franchises growing out of the success of a film are certainly not new, but planning entire franchises from scratch really is.
I actually think it's quite easy to watch Part 2 on its own, I just find that the camping bits in Part 1 go on for way too long on account of the fact that the book isn't very friendly to a film's three act structure.
 

vid87

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I've never really had a problem with franchising or series-building as far as storytelling possibilities - some of the biggest culturally significant moments came from reboots (John Carpenter's The Thing) and sequels (Godfather, Star Wars). What bothers me, aside from the obvious problem that everything is being recycled and originality is being pushed aside in favor of nostalgia, is that movie-going is getting damn expensive, both for consumers and producers, so we're left with either enormous bombs (Lone Ranger) or successes attributed to base spectacle (Transformers). Even worse, world-building can go horribly wrong with retcons and ransoming: this year alone I've seen Xmen DOFP and Cap 2, the former's sole achievement being "Hey, we fixed X3, everyone's alive, status-quo restored, wait until next time for something interesting to happen!", the latter demanding I see it before Agents of Shield if I didn't want spoilers.

It can be great and I really enjoy it when it all works, but, like the James Gunn quote above, it requires smart, creative showrunners and that's unlikely to happen as studios and brand increasingly take precedence over ideas and artistry.
 

Hutzpah Chicken

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With serialization returning to movie theaters, I wonder if it will turn full circle. I think seeing a remake of The Phantom Creeps might be cool, but only if Rob Zombie is involved.
 

Elijah Newton

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I'd like to quietly point out that the accusation of The Stand being 'unfilmable' was rendered moot when they made a tv miniseries out of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stand_(TV_miniseries) The running time of 366 minutes is comperable to four ninety-minute films so? I'm not sure what the milestone is as far as bringing it to the big screen. Not having to write to allow for commercial breaks, I guess?

Not that I object. The miniseries was good for what it was, but I'm sure there's room for improvement along every axis.
 

GamemasterAnthony

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LordTerminal said:
Ack Bob! Don't even joke about that! You know what happens when Dr. Seuss and Hollywood mix!
To be fair, I thought Carrey was AWESOME as the Grinch, but that was only because he was good at emoting. But, yeah...I agree.
 

Steve the Pocket

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Remember when Lord of the Rings was broken up into three books because publishers believed readers would be intimidated by a 1000 page tome, but had no problem with going "Psych! You gotta buy two more books to find out what happens!"

I wonder what would have happened if they hadn't done that. The story was originally broken up into six "Books", identified only by number. Would the film adaptation have been six movies instead of three? I bet Peter Jackson looks back now and wishes he'd had the clout to do that. I bet Warner Bros. does too.

Zachary Amaranth said:
With a book, you see largely linear interpretations, which do all the setup in the first and all the payoff in the second. Does it have to be this way? No, but if you thought "the book was better" snobs were bad before, wait until you start doing more than omitting Dobby and Kreacher from certain scenes.
Eh. Order of the Phoenix went from being the longest book in the series to being the shortest movie, and I don't remember anything significant being left out. They probably could have shortened Deathly Hallows into a single, long movie by cramming some of the setup into Half-Blood Prince, which was already not much more than setting up the finale.
 

Darth Rosenberg

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I'd just like to point out that, yeah, I did watch Deathly Hallows Part I on its own, without going on to Part II. I think the second part's a big letdown (especially the end), and I love the pace and time given to Harry and Hermione in the preceding film. I'd say Part I has some of the best scenes (or certainly my favourite) in the series, whilst Part II just blew away any sense of mystery and anticipation and left me slightly disappointed.

Other than that; agreed with James Gunn's take on things, as well as Bob's 'when it's done well, it's good' rationale (and that this type of media consumption is culturally contextually emergent, and not some big corporate evil).
 

Darth_Payn

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What's this? Bob's cautiously optimistic about the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe? Well, shut me down! But I agree, when done well and planned out in advance, serializing a story makes sense, because I see it as not just showing characters doing stuff, but creating a bigger world that looks and feels alive while we're following people who just so happen to live in it. Hell, serialized movies are way old, like Flash Gordon.
GamemasterAnthony said:
LordTerminal said:
Ack Bob! Don't even joke about that! You know what happens when Dr. Seuss and Hollywood mix!
To be fair, I thought Carrey was AWESOME as the Grinch, but that was only because he was good at emoting. But, yeah...I agree.
Robot Chicken had that explained:
And if they want to expand on Green Eggs and Ham, they can just ask "What makes them green?" and go from there.
 

RJ Dalton

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I think it really depends. There is something really beautiful about a singular, self-contained story where everything is perfectly crystallized and expressed within the frame of one story. But that's not the only way to tell a story. So, I kinda get the concern about the death of self-contained stories, but I don't think the rise of shared universe franchises is a bad idea, either. It's all a question of what kind of story you're telling, why, and how you execute it.