Jack McCann examines the new habit of the film industry - splitting trilogies into four parts
The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Twilight: Breaking Dawn are just four books that were turned into movies. A total of four movies would be what any ‘moviegoer’ would expect, but how wrong could one be.
When the final part of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay is released in November, these four books will have spawned nine movies. Of course, there are pros and cons to this idea, as there are with anything.
The last Harry Potter novel was the first to start the trend back in 2010, since then the idea has snowballed with film companies. Why have the production companies done this? The cynic in me says money is the main factor. What a surprise.
While Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the first movie to do it in the the twenty-first century, there was a movie in the late 80s called ‘Little Dorrit’ based off a Dickens novel that was nearly six hours long and released in two parts simultaneously. Let’s be serious, though - do any of us remember that?
Having never seen this kind of thing done before on the big screen (for the most part), part one of the Deathly Hallows was approached by most with a fair amount of ‘well they’ve probably made a mess of the whole thing’.
However, I was pleasantly surprised at the film. The splitting of the movie into two parts only helped to increase the tension, and was done very well. The producers did not cut it right in the middle of an important scene, they let the cut happen in what looked like a natural place to do so. Viewers weren’t left with the feeling of ‘well, that was abrupt to say the least’.
The split left viewers eagerly anticipating the second part of the movie, which ended up becoming one of the highest grossing movies of all-time once it was released in 2011. The splitting of the final Harry Potter movie was quite a success, this may have helped by it being the first movie to do it as well as the way it was edited. Kudos all round.
Fast forward a year and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made more money than the first two Lord of the Rings movies over their cinema lifetime respectively. If that doesn’t make it clear enough why the aforementioned books were split into several movies, nothing will. Money makes the world of movies go round. The more money a movie makes, the better it is for all involved, cast, crew and whoever else.
I saw the latest and final part of the Hobbit trilogy, the Battle of the Five Armies, and liked it, so much so I saw it again less than a week later. I really liked it, if that wasn’t clear, yet a small part of me did think that the third part of the trilogy may have over stretched the mark a small bit, not by much though.
It began with a battle, the middle was the aftermath of this battle and preparation for the last part of the movie, another battle. Not much else occurs, I really felt like it could have been added to the end of the second part, as a 45 minute segment.
Rotten Tomatoes nail the description of what seems to be a lot of people’s feelings:
“Though somewhat overwhelmed by its own spectacle, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ends Peter Jackson's second Middle-earth trilogy on a reasonably satisfying note.”
We can’t say much about the Hunger Games as the second part is not out yet and have yet to see the first, have to wait for the DVD. Regarding Twilight I’ll leave this, from Rotten Tomatoes:
“It’s slow, joyless, and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments, Breaking Dawn Part One may satisfy the Twilight faithful, but it's strictly for fans of the franchise.” (The slowing-down of the action towards the end of the saga makes for a dry,dull and humourless Breaking Dawn Part Two)
For the most part the splitting of books into more than one movie is working and doing what the companies want them to do, make more money for their coffers.
For moviegoers, it also provides more opportunities to actually go to the cinema, which is good for cinemas, in a very much online orientated viewing world these days. However, how long this trend will last is not clear -- though a trip to Easons will indicate that there’s life in the four-parter yet, with the shelves positively groaning with teenage thriller trilogies.