'Money hungry games' to split third book in two
By Jon Lyus, HeyUGuys.co.uk
Last night’s news that Lionsgate have decided to split Mockingjay, the final part of The Hunger Games trilogy, into two films was met with a conspicuous lack of surprise, a faint murmur of disapproval at the avaricious intent and the familiar question of quantity over quality.
As with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Twilight: Breaking Dawn a two-movie swan song appears to be the accepted path for every franchise to bow out nowadays, taking a double slice of cash with them. But is this practice robbing the audience of a decent farewell to their favourite characters? Are we being rewarded or ripped off?
For every money-spinning franchise there is a dedicated core of fans who will pay to see their heroes on screen no matter what. The studios will chase this fanbase for their every penny. By splitting their adaptations of the final books in the Potter, Twilight and now Hunger Games series, the studios are claiming to reward the fans when in fact they are simply lining their pockets.
The problem is that each film has to work on its own. When it was finally announced that The Hobbit would be split into two parts the response was far more tempered. Speaking with Empire in 2009, Peter Jackson explained the split.
"It seems reasonable that the epic story of The Hobbit should play out over two films (and make twice as much money). The same cannot be said of Mockinjay."
“We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie. The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the [LOTR] trilogy.”
Given the financial turbulence Jackson and Guillermo del Toro had to overcome to make the films it seems reasonable that the epic story of The Hobbit should play out over two films (and make twice as much money). Clearly Jackson believed that two films, and four hours, are necessary to tell the story. The same cannot be said of Mockinjay.
"Harry Potter’s journey from beneath the stairs to saving the world was diluted."
There was a distinct backlash against the turgid pace of The Deathly Hallows Part One with the whipcrack pace of the best of the previous Potter installments grinding to a halt in the name of doing the story justice. Harry Potter’s journey from beneath the stairs to saving the world was diluted, in a small way of course, but diluted nonetheless.
Literary adaptations should illuminate the book while telling their own story, they should not bow in reverence to their source if it is to their detriment. Giving us an extra two hours of The Hunger Games may seem like a good idea to a fan (or a studio exec) but we should be wary of the trend if it means that we are paying too high a price.
Jon Lyus is the editor of Heyuguys.co.uk.
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