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Nobody's mentioned - this year's movies are long, long, long...

With all the discussion of how good/bad the films have been for this awards season, I've seen no mention of how massively LONG so many of the movies have been.

The industry wisdom is that films over 2 hours are difficult to sell. For good reason - they allow fewer screenings at the cinema and therefore tend to disappear of the screens more rapidly.

But now look - The Master, Lincoln, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, Prometheus, Skyfall Dark Knight Rises, Zero Dark Thirty, even Marley, clocking in over 2 hours each, some of them way, way over.

These are good movies, excepting Prometheus, but can anyone really say they couldn't have been improved by cutting 1 hour each (in the case of the Hobbit 1 hour and two sequels)?

Marley's a documentary, for God's sake, but after 2 hours 10 minutes and finding that Bob wasn't even dead yet, I'm afraid I checked out first (as it were).

What's going on?

This is a lot of my life that's run through the projector gate this year, hours that I'll never get back.

Or is it just me?

  • Charles, you can't forecast whether you're going to love the film or not! If you do, 2 hours of enjoyment are not wasted. Think of women who wasted decades with a useless man! (no, not me)
    If one is bored, the cinema should refund people who leave after half an hour.
    I fell asleep half way through Dark Knight Rises. Sleeping is good for your health, no waste.

    6 years ago
  • Running time isn't an issue for me going into the cinema, but being over-long (or indeed too short) is vulnerable to criticism coming out in the same way as all the other components of the film.

    I don't agree that films should be shorter just for the sake of it. Filmmakers should take the time they need to tell the story they want to tell.

    Sometimes I'll disagree with their decision. To get specific, I think Peter Jackson was self-indulgent to make An Unexpected Journey nearly three hours long because there simply wasn't enough story.

    But it's different for every movie.

    6 years ago
  • Midnight's Children was over 2-1/2 hours, and when the end arrived I was surprised it had already finished and could have watched more. If a film's story and quality can be sustained, I'm all for it. If it's awful, I'll probably walk out after less than an hour, regardless of how long or short it is.

    6 years ago
  • Shakespeare had it right when he said '...brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes...’
    Many films do run longer than they should and interestingly from a performer's perspective, most of it is not, I believe, due to actors stretching out scenes with unnecessary pauses et al. We need sharper writing and more mindful editing!

    6 years ago
  • I think some stories do take a lot of telling, but that's not an excuse for making flaccid films. Even with short films. The shorts I've made usually come out between 8 and 12 minutes, but if I shaved 30%-40% off them they would probably be improved, watched by more people, and stand more chance of getting into festivals! The danger with having free-reign to make a film "as long as it needs to be" means the film maker can be self-indulgent and films "everything" rather than cutting before shooting - then it's all there to put in the edit and who wants to lose all that "great" footage? The Hobbit has been allowed to be 3 x 3 hours because the producers believe that's what the audience will expect and be up for. What we'll get (based on part one) is 3 hours of good film and 6 hours of dull padding. I don't need to see Christopher Lee sitting at a big round table chatting with a couple of elves for 12 minutes. Get on with the STORY...! I think that's the key: not telling us everything, but telling the story. We can fill in the gaps much quicker than those hours of film can...

    6 years ago
  • Not really certain that an actor can cause a film to go to 2.5 hours. Editors can do that in a blink of an eye. And while "brevity" might be the "soul of 'wit," that starts to sound like a rule best applied to comedy. To be simple about it, sometimes the audience and its expectations are the problem. In the end they are only owed the best that the filmmaker can do.

    6 years ago
  • To quote further from Shakespear. "Much ado about nothing"

    It must be self evident that a good film may be of any duration, just as with a bad one.

    6 years ago
  • Lincoln a good movie?? I fell asleep half way through and woke up as he lay there dead.

    6 years ago
  • It is all about the telling of the story - some people just do it more effectively and efficiently than others - I often feel 40 mins could have been cut even from a 90 minute movie but every director is different

    6 years ago
  • I would slash 45 minutes from the Master, easily. So it would be at least acceptable, instead of boooooring.

    6 years ago
  • Gone With the Wind, 3 hours, did not notice the length but I was very young.

    6 years ago
    • That's because Gone with the Wind is right for its length. Beautifully written, beautifully shot, and a story that justifies its running time.

      6 years ago
  • I have just seen The Master. I thought of you Charles, it was over 2 hours long.I stayed to the end because I was with friends but I really felt like wasting 2 hours of my life. The American language was very difficult for me and I found the psychology a bit cheap. I can't say whether the film was too clever or too stupid for me!!! I thought one can do better to talk about Scientology. I read somewhere it was about Scientology otherwise I would not have guessed. About a sect, yes, probably. Pity the actors were great.

    6 years ago
  • Taste is a funny thing. 20 mins into GWTW I felt I was watching the archetypal soap: "Another three hours of this? No way!"

    Skyfall is terrible. There's no real jeopardy. How could there be? It's Bond! And sooo predictable - like the moment the Scots crusty produces the knife and says "And we have... this!" it was clear how the villain would meet his end so everything up to that was Bond-style padding. Yawn.

    Loved Lincoln, despite several historical errors, but then I knew the subject matter.

    And how many times have I seen a long 'director's cut' and thought that I preferred the original? Lawrence of Arabia comes to mind.

    But don't I remember this debate coming up some years ago? Check out the lengths of the movies back in 2000

    6 years ago