Friday, July 15

One Book = Two Movies?

Books get made into movies. A lot.

After all, if you have a great plot, why not transcend it to another medium? It's a win-win. Or not. There have been hit and misses, with different opinions as to what is on which side.

The thing I want to address is the boom in two-part films, where one book is split into two movies.

Is this an attempt to include more aspects of the novel without the audience having to sit through a six hour long film? Or is it just a way for film producers to squeeze more money out of fans?

The two-part boom is something that seems to be popping up in final installments these days. It's a new development and I'll admit that I haven’t seen any of these two-part films just yet. I'm torn as to whether it would give someone something to look forward to (don't sequels do that?) or if it would just seem tedious to have half of the plot torn away from you and then have to wait a year for the next part.

Here are some torn-in-two films that have come to my attention:

First off, there is The Hobbit.* My first reaction when I heard it was to be two films was something along the lines of, "Um…what?" I will admit that this is still my attitude towards this.

The Lord of the Rings is – if I am not mistaken – six novels in total, divided into three parts. So when they adapted it into three films, it made sense, even if I'm aware that they picked bits from The Two Towers and slotted them in the first and third films. It was meant to be three parts in publication, thus it made sense to have three films.

The Hobbit? It's small. It's a small book. At least in comparison to the others. No, let's face it. It's small in general. Why does it need two parts? I'm very confused. Where would the divide be?

Okay, so The Hobbit isn't really a final installment, since it chronologically comes before The Lord of the Rings...but unless they plan to make some of the more obscure Middle Earth novels into films, this might be the end of the road for the halflings.

Then, who could ignore the final Harry Potter film? No...that's not right. Harry Potter films. There's eight of them now...because there are seven books and it totally makes sense to have eight. Right?

I'm gonna go on the record and say I haven't seen all of the Harry Potter films, just the first five. I know that they miss bits out. It's understandable, yes?

Here's what I don’t get. If I'm not mistaken, this is the order of the Harry Potter novels, from smallest to largest:

1. The Philosopher's Stone
2. The Chamber of Secrets
3. The Prisoner of Azkaban
4. The Deathly Hallows
5. The Half-Blood Prince
6. The Goblet of Fire
7. The Order of the Phoenix

So 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' is right in the middle there size-wise. Do I think it's good to try and get all the little details in there? Sure! Do I think they accomplished it? I don't'd have to tell me.

I've heard from some people that most of the plot went into the first part, and the second one sounded like it was just going to be a major battle fest. I can also tell that a lot of people have been satisfied with the Harry Potter film franchise and were happy to have more to look forward to before the series had to end.

Moving on, I know that the final installment to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, is being made into two features. Unlike the films stated above, this one kind of makes sense to me. Not because it's a big book (and it is one big book) but because there is a clear divide in the plot, where I can see it being able to cover two different film tangents. Do I think it needs to be two films or should be made into two films? No. I think it could be accomplished in one.

The last two-part film that came to my attention, is not only a final installment of a book series, but it is one where the first novel in the series has yet to make it to the screen. I have only heard about this in passing but I read that Mockingjay, the third novel in The Hunger Games trilogy, is going to be divided into two parts also.

I have not read The Hunger Games yet, so I have no idea what dividing the last book will accomplish. I do know that The Hunger Games series is a big seller and has a lot of fans.

So...what do you think? I really want to hear some other opinions on this matter because I'm far from clued in. Do you think this slicing of books to make more films is a way to preserve more elements of the plot? Or is this just a way for film producers to squeeze more money out of an already established literary franchise?

*Spoke too soon. We are all now very familiar with the fact that The Hobbit will have three parts. Although, it has since been topped by 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' as the smallest book to be adapted into three films.


Emma Michaels said...

I haven't been able to make up my mind, personally. I love the movies (then afterward I think... wait where did this part go... or this one.) So I can't really decide because as you said,on the one hand it is still something to look forward to but on the other hand I normally don't go to see movies because I live on an island it take a lot to be able to go off and go to the nearest town with one. Normally we just decide to go an extra half an hour on our crazy adventure to the nearest IMAX because if we are going to do it then why not go ALL OUT on it. So who knows *shrugs* but I do know I will be seeing the last Harry Potter and we will see about Breaking Dawn.

EVILmyah said...

Well, I'm in two minds about this (lol) I do love the idea that movie makers are making an effort into at least decreasing the masses of book fans wondering "how in the world could they leave out this?" But... The Hobbit? Two movies when LOTR was one. You're right: that makes absolutely no sense. Which makes me wonder about the motivations of the producer of that movie. Harry Potter 7 I can understand being 2 movies. The books are just so HUGE and there's so many ESSENTIAL details that I kind of expected that.

I guess it all depends on the movie.

melydia said...

The Breaking Dawn movies are a silly idea - yes, there's a clear break between the two parts, but pretty much nothing happens in the entire second part.

Harry Potter 7 needs to be two parts if only because they started making the movies before the books were finished, and left out a bunch of stuff that would become important later. So now they have to fit all that into the last installment.

I don't understand why the Hobbit is two movies. Plain and simple.

Atlas Shrugged is supposed to be two movies as well. Yes, the book is huge, but personally I think you could get the entire plot and even much of the philosophy across in a 2- or 3-hour film. I dunno.

Skyring said...

Keri, your thinking mirrors mine. Actually, I think some of the middle HP books could have been two movies - or used an editor to trim out some of the detail. I watched the final HP movie yesterday. All the 3D and computer whizerry didn't lift the muted feeling. But it was good to see the Snape character explained in a very touching way.

As for the Hobbit, I just can't see how it can be two parts, not unless you drag in a whole bunch of "pre-history". Or maybe this will be The Hobbit as it should have been written, rather than the rather twee little tale Tolkien published.

But having said that, I'll watch and enjoy. The HP and LOTR books and movies have been a regular heartbeat in the lives of my children and some of our best family moments have been based around them. Always good to see New Zealand standing in for Middle-Earth. It's a magic land, exporting hobbitry.