January 10, 2013

"A Trilogy in Five Parts"


No, I’m not talking about Hitchhiker’s Guide. Though, I do believe Adams was onto
something






Part of the humor of Hitchhiker’s Guide is referring to the novels as a ‘trilogy in five
parts’. With movies these days, that may not be too far off the mark. I am talking about
“splitting”.

Let’s have a look at some films that got multiple ‘parts’, some based on a novel:



Kill Bill

I’m not sure if Tarrantino made this as one film, or intentionally made two back-to-back,
but this is one of the first ‘two parters’ of recent history. It could have been done as one
film, although make it slightly longer. I’m not against there being two films instead of
one, just saying on the opposite side of the fence, it could have been one film. Perhaps it
may have been squished? Maybe it didn’t ‘flow’ right? Either way, it took two films to
tell the story set up in the first film.



Matrix Reloaded / Revolutions

Yes, both of these films were supposed to be one sequel to the original Matrix. Given the
length, it’s unsurprising that we got two films instead of one. With the script and story, it
doesn’t ‘seem’ to be a two parter, but they were initially filmed and made as one film, or
back-to-back.



Deathly Hallows

Now, we’re getting more current and with what I’m on about as two-part films. The
producers of the series thought of splitting a book into two films as far back as Goblet
of Fire. There’s just so much material to cover on screen that’s important to the story.
In Goblet of Fire, where would the ‘split’ (Part 1 ends, Part 2 begins) happened though?
What we got was a very fast-paced film. It was entertaining, but as an adaptation, because
so much was left out, it felt as if someone were fast-forwarding. To the book fans, at
least.

For Deathly Hallows though, the split was required. So much happens in that book, and
because it’s the finale, storylines have to be wrapped up etc. Many feel that because it
was the end of the Harry Potter series, Warner Bros. was after more money. That may
(in part) be true. However, if they were truly after as much money as possible, don’t you
think The Dark Knight Rises would have been a two-parter, another finale by the same
studio?



Breaking Dawn

Now here’s a split I don’t agree with. Not because I’m not a fan of the franchise, but
because, well, as far as I can recall from reading the book, it was a bunch of filler. Even
the novel could have been shorter. They could have made one film, perhaps slightly
longer the rest. Perhaps extra scenes were added into the films of New Moon and Eclipse
(I’d read all the books but only seen the first film) warranting a ‘larger’ finale. Even so,
I don’t remember there being enough story to cover two films. Those who have read
both Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn will know what I mean by more happening in
Deathly Hallows than Breaking Dawn.



The Hobbit

Peter Jackson & co did not adapt The Hobbit. Well, yes and no. What they did, was
create a prequel trilogy to the Lord of the Rings films with Bilbo’s journey (covered in
The Hobbit novel) as the ‘backbone’. Tolkien himself wanted to re-write The Hobbit
close to the publication of Lord of the Rings (I forget if it was shortly before, or shortly
after), but that never actually happened. My Tolkien scholar-y is a bit rusty though.
Either way, you get things on screen that happened in middle-earth 60 years before Lord
of the Rings. Sure, the shards of Narsil were never mentioned in The Hobbit, but since
they’ve been around for hundreds of years, why wouldn’t Bilbo see them while he was in
Rivendell? Many people are on the fence about this – a novel approx 300 pages gets three
films.



Possible Splits and ‘Multi-parts’ in the Future

So what movies could receive multiple parts in the future? I think perhaps Mockingjay
will, the finale of The Hunger Games. Enough occurs in the book to make it one film,
but if they add more scenes or show more of the districts in Catching Fire, and more
goings-ons beyond Katniss, Peeta etc, they could have material for a two-parter. Another
possible two-parter could be The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Either the film
will be really long, or the producers, writers etc may feel that there is too much story
happening in the adaption and make it a two-parter. If a movie of Fifty Shades of Grey gets made, you can almost bet that they would want to make Fifty Shades Freed a 2-parter.

Who knows, someday we may get a trilogy of something but with five ‘parts’. If ever the
14 book Wheel of time series gets filmed, It would take least two films per book (three at
the most) to tell the whole story properly.

What movies do you think will get multiple parts? Are there any you wish did (or didn’t) ?

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