The Big Picture: Broken Movies

Ickabod

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It all depends. I like the idea of a universe just going on and on, so long as the material stays interesting.

The problem is that the universes must be fed, so studios will put whatever they can on the screen to keep justifying the making of each movie in said universe. That's why 3 movies was usually such a good number for good material. After that, you just run out of good ideas.

The only place where this doesn't hold up is the Marvel universe... The reason being is that they don't have to keep coming up with new ideas, all of the ideas are already in the comics and tested. So they know what material works and what doesn't. That allows them to use the main story points as islands within the universe and they can build bridges between each of those islands.

Making movies for the sake of making movies will make some money, but in the end it will never make the possible money that it can if the material just isn't good. Unless it's a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, then God help us all.
 

rbstewart7263

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You would be surprised how many people are opposed to actually picking up there phones and actually looking things up. Case in point: everytime im debating someone and something we both are unsure of comes up and they just show an unwillingness to google it. It literally blows my mind everytime.

Plus people would just *****, The film explains nothing.

I kind of see where your coming from bob but thats probably not gonna happen.
 

Darkness665

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I like your viewpoint and that you can see a good side to it. Between Netflix and google few would be shutout of the continuum of a shared experience and that is a good thing. The old ways of chopping a concept down to ninety plus minutes and many great moments that captured the audience of the book/novel/comic/graphic novel/kickstarter were never filmed and couldn't even be included in the deleted scenes from the director's cut.

Good piece, Movie Bob.
 

JCAll

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My favorite split adaptation is The Neverending Story. The movie adapted the first half of the book, and it was fantastic since the book feels like 2 completely different stories anyway. The sequel adapted the second half, and was crap, but the second half of the book was nowhere near as good as the first anyway, and their mutual sucking didn't drag down the brilliant first movie.
 

Piorn

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It's just so weird how nowadays, works are designed to be franchises, instead of developing into one.
Sure with the way Marvel planned it it worked because they're good movies, but then you see the way spiderman has been treated in his last 5 films and will be treated in the future, and it feels like the entire thing is only there because someone has made a contract at some point. And it still works just by the sheer number of people exposed to the marketing, and 3D inflating cinema prices.
 

Something Amyss

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Steve the Pocket said:
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.
Wasn't that the one where they left out all the James/Sirius moments that were supposed to lead in to Sirius getting his ass killed? I don't know what you mean by "significant," but that character building struck me as more significant than half the stuff they left in the movie.

I don't particularly care, mind. Though I would have liked to have seen more of Fred and George, and especially more chaos in their drop-out scene. And actually, that part I do sort of mind. There were some really cool scenes I would have liked to have seen, necessary or not, that were cut out of this movie (not that I particularly loved Order of Dark Phoenix), while other movies were longer, somewhat better structured, or in the case of Deadly Camping Trip, two movies. Not that this is a deal breaker for me, but I do care, even if just a little.

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.
They could have made Hallows 90 minutes, provided it was a cohesive film. I'm still not sure the result we got was cohesive, because I kept falling asleep.

Anyway, none of this has to do much with what I was talking about. I'm speaking to the difference between non-linear interpretations with a comic book story that borrows elements from established stories (considered acceptable) and doing the same for movies (where even the omission of tertiary characters is apparently a major sin--I personally liked the fact that Dobby's influence in a couple movies was replaced by Longbottom, as it makes it seem like he was more than just window dressing until he grew the beard. I'm pretty sure this isn't the standard opinion, though). The actual omission of things wasn't as important as the idea of rewriting large chunks of the books entirely, which I'm pretty sure would have led to millions of killing curses.

Going back to the first part of this statement, there's a big problem in interpretation. what I read in a book, say Order of Marcus Fenix, may be different than what you read in the same book. Not that there are different words (barring a George Lucas-like rewrite, which does occasionally happen), but different people latch on to different things. When the first HP movie came out, a week later a bunch of people were complaining there was too much Hermione, and another group entirely complained there wasn't enough Hermione. And given the way Hermione pretty much carries Harry's useless ass through the books, I'm more or less in the second camp, but for every choice they made, they split the fanbase. It's pretty much impossible to satisfy everyone unless you do a shot-for-shot deal, and even then you'll get complainers because the text doesn't necessarily meet their interpretation. Do we need every scene? Not really. I'd prefer the movie be cohesive. On the other hand, I would have liked to have seen the endcap scenes involving Sirius' gift to Harry, which to me drives home how phenomenally stupid Harry can be. Again, these are not dealbreakers to me, but I think we all have our preferences and that makes putting out a major book based movie already like disarming a bomb while someone sings ICP in your ear.

In any event, the whole point was why I thought it worked better in the instance of one set of adaptations over another. Comics are far from immune to bitching (see: Batman/Superman doesn't kill), but on this point, I have trouble seeing novel-to-film adaptations working out if they go this route. At least, until they enter into classics territory. Maybe in a hundred or two hundred years.
 

CrazyGirl17

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Sep 11, 2009
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Personally, I don't understand why movie versions of books keep breaking up the last adaptation up into two parts. Other than to make money, I suppose.

...Also, does anyone else but me want to see a dramatization of Doctor Seuss' career? Don't tell me that wouldn't be awesome!
 

Baresark

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I don't mind that everything turns into a series. I think it's great. But I also think the flaw here is doing things like they are doing with the last Hunger Games book. One boring movie and one good movie (like Bob's Harry Potter example). I don't like when a movie intentionally puts sequel bate in the film for the next because movie studios can't be trusted to make good movies all the time. Take Green Lantern for example. The film was not good. We all know it. I wanted to like it, but it just wasn't that good. But they did this world building as if they were going to do sequels. So we see a really really short training montage with Green Lantern Corp and we get introduced to those character only for the film to bomb and have no hope of a sequel. The flaw is laying down the expectation for a sequel and then that sequel never coming. We can always expect sequels for movies that do well. But when there is a great property and the movie doesn't do well, it's extremely frustrating.

I think the Marvel films are great series, but they also all work individually. You don't need the bigger scope or it doesn't need to drop hints about the sequels. They are good stand alone films that work by themselves. Mocking Jay part 1 is not a good film because it relies far to heavily on whats to come rather than what is good about that story. I'm not afraid to say that the first Hobbit was good because they work as an individual film. Though, I do take exception with them not killing Smaug at the end of the second movie, it was unnecessary and detracted from the film overall since that was the big conflict of the second film.
 

gorfias

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BigTuk said:
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.
Your comic-book analogy strikes a chord with me. I was DC all the way in the 1970s. They had complete stories in a single issue and in the day, I had to go to a cigar store to buy them and you never knew what they'd even carry month to month. Then one day around 1979, (long story short) I knew I could buy a to be continued comic as I would definitely be able to get the next part. Then specialty stores and I was on board with Marvel. DC followed suit with multi book stories. And they were great because they had stories that simply couldn't be told in a single comic.

Then came all the cross-overs. Rather than buy 12 Batman stories a year, I had to buy them and some other series. Not because it was necessary to tell a story but because I was being forced to do so. That pretty much was the end of my comic book buying days (in the 1990s).

I too hope that doesn't happen in movies.

As for the abomination of taking a short story and stretching it out over 3 movies (I'm looking at you Hobbit) that is a different sin. Boycott!
 

D.Strormer

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And, as usual, the pragmatic viewpoint is the correct one. I am a huge fan of world building and continuity in general so this kinda storytelling appeals to me. Hell, I was a big proponent of the (dot)Hack anime experiment from years back and I'd love to see that kind of cross-media storytelling grow out of this practice. Do I think Mockingjay and Breaking Dawn probably could've been done just as well if not better as single movies within their respective series? Yes. Does that stop me from loving how they wrapped up Harry Potter or the fact that they were able to pull in so much of the Tolkien world outside of the four books that everyone knows for the Hobbit? No. Good with the bad, I'll take the joy of seeing these things I love become more expansive any day, even if it comes pre-packaged with annoying, corporate sponge-wringing alongside.

I do admit that I wish more studios would take some chances with changing up the source material a bit. Marvel's been making huge changes to characters for their movie-verse and yet the fans are (mostly) placated by the little nods that they get to feel all smug about understanding when they first see them rather than when everyone else has googled them.
 

treeroy

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Steve the Pocket said:
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.
6 Lord of the Rings films, one for each book, would have been much better; although I don't know how successful they'd have been with the general audience, given that one or two books would be pretty devoid of battles, or largely consist of Frodo and Sam walking.

As a gigantic fan of the book, I only watched Lord of the Rings for the first time last month, and one of the most interesting things to me was how much Jackson had rearranged the plot to make it fit into being three films. The three volumes of the novel have no beginning/middle/end, no structure to them - which works fine in its original format, given that they were released at the same time. With the films, because they were released one at a time, they had to be written and designed to be independent films in their own right (which they certainly are).

Anyway, 6 films would have been really great. We'd have gotten a deeper exploration of the cultures and themes within the book, as well as not having to leave out certain plot points or stories (like Tom Bombadil, of course!).


As for splitting movies in general: honestly, I have no problem with it. Films are constricted by their run times, and making more films means more space to explore the content. If it's done well, then more is generally a good thing.
 

Phuctifyno

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treeroy said:
6 Lord of the Rings films, one for each book, would have been much better; although I don't know how successful they'd have been with the general audience, given that one or two books would be pretty devoid of battles, or largely consist of Frodo and Sam walking.
In nerdier days, I used to watch the films this way, skipping scenes then starting over for the other half. If you make the cuts in the right place (basically following the book as closely as possible), it really works great. Jackson has mentioned that as he was making the films, he basically wrote/edited/structured the story as it was in the book (knowing he would mix later) to make sure each individual piece was working on its own.

I'm not sure general audiences would have appreciated it though, because you would have one movie be about one group of characters, then the next be about an entirely different group. That would confuse and test the patience of many - especially at the time, when franchising wasn't as common a thing.
 

Battenberg

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It's a wonderful defense of the Avengers Universe for sure but most of what Bob said doesn't really address the issues I personally take with splitting films up. Those films with Captain America in are all self contained films, all worth the entry fee to see them individually at the cinema. Yes no one film contains the entirety of Cappy's story but they contain the entirety of a story. This is the kind of franchising or serialising or whatever you want to call it I'm fine with.

The Hobbit on the other hand has no place being split into 3 films and, at least in my opinion, it really shows when watching them. There's a lot of build-up interlaced with unnecessary filler and no real payoff at the end of either of the first 2 entries; they each basically serve as a 2 and a half hour trailer for the next. This kind of franchising just strikes me as straight up greed tryingto squeeze every penny out of a popular franchise. If LOTR or Hunger Games had only been low level successes instead of massive cinematics phenomena I very much doubt these films would be getting split into multiple parts that require multiple payouts for the customer. If I pay £10 to see a film I want to get £10 of entertainment. I don't want the value of that £10 (and my time) to be held to ransom behind having to pay out again for part 2 (and part 3 in this case).

The other, less common, kind of franchising that I'm not a fan of is this mindless belief that you can just transfer any story from one medium to another purely based on its popularity. They're looking at 4 films for The Stand. FOUR! What happens if the first film tanks? Those who do watch it then only get 1/4 of a story. Even if it is successful enough to last all 4 films that's 6 hours of screen time minimum. Why not go for a big budget TV series (given how much more successful these have gotten in recent years), likely making it more affordable and allowing greater flexibility with the storytelling? Alternatively why not accept that maybe that particular story is best left as a book and isn't practical to transfer to the cinema. Sure sometimes it works and that's great but in a situation like this where it's clearly impractical from the start why try and force it to work? Nirvana's Nevermind is a great album but people would laugh at any director who attempted to 'translate' it to the big screen. Pulp Fiction is one of my favourite films of all time but if someone brought out a video game of it my expectations of it being both good and actually related to the source material would be non-existent because it's just not the kind of story that would work like that. Some artistic expressions fit one medium and that should be fine. Instead some people decide it's worth bending and distorting them to be told a whole new way that was never intended for them.
 

Shjade

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BigTuk said:
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.
It gets better: he didn't even mention he's planning to have it be a prequel tie-in with earlier release The Lorax.
 

Redd the Sock

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I'd echo the long term problems with these projects: I mention the ready availability of information online and it still doesn't encourage people that are looking at something like comic books like it's not worth the trouble. Right now our interconnected universes are simple, or split into 3, maybe four parts tops. The test of the Avengers was based far more in logistics than in anything that might put off the audience. It'll be a bigger challenge if something from Avengers 2 leads into Civil War, or one of those Netflix series is important to an episode of SHIELD.

It's like something old as this has happened before. The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction had an actual crossover back in the 60s, and watching the BH reruns... well.. it's would be years before I learned that the station reruning things didn't miss and episode and they were showing flashbacks to a different show I wouldn't see for 15 years.
 

Drummodino

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When was the last time you sat down to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1?
Erm... last week. It's pretty great frankly. Although I will probably watch Part 2 sometime soon.
 

orangeapples

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But where is the 12 year plan where we find out that Sam I Am, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who, The Grinch and Cat in the Hat are all part of a shared Suess Universe? Where is the crossover? C'mon, we need sequels. We need the Cat in the Hat backstory movie.
 

RandV80

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The Hobbit gets a lot of crap for being split into three parts, and we'll know soon but I don't think this last installment deserves the criticism. I'm not a LOTR's buff, I first read the books 2 decades ago and am only re-reading them now. There's a lot of reference to the 'battle of five armies' and the events immediately after the defeat of Smaug in it, which of course was where the Hobbit ended.

If we went just by the books in a single movie that's where it would end, with Smaug's defeat. So why would any LOTR fan complain that we get a Battle of Five Armies movie? The way I see it The Hobbit is being overly extended in two movies, but this final installment should be great.