Like some other recent franchises the final book in the Hunger Games series will be split into two films. Is this an artistic or a financial imperative?

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  • Comment number 77. Posted by Chris Done

    on 17 Dec 2013 17:04

    I've read all three books, in succession. The first was novel and decent. The second was very obviously from reading it a book that was written in reaction to an unexpected successful first novel, in the same way that The Lord of the Rings is so obviously a longer, wordier, meandering version of the original successful publication, The Hobbit. I liked the shift from a vaguely political violence story to a predominantly political revolution/guerilla warfare story with Catching Fire and Mockingjay, with a side-order of love triangle, even if it was predictable at every turn and quite clearly just popcorn material in book form after the success of the first book. Mockingjay is depressive throughout and especially at the end. There are pages and pages of melancholic agony and despair. All that said, what's great about the Hunger Games is what Katniss thinks of everything. You see everything from her perspective. Given that there's no narration in any of the films, the films are pretty much entirely unlike the books and missing their key feature. So in that sense, the films are free to do what they want regardless of the novels. They'll never be particularly special. Does Mockingjay deserve two movies? I don't think so. It could be done—well—in one movie. But I'm not complaining. One wouldn't be a masterpiece anyway, in my view, so two is fine.

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  • Comment number 76. Posted by madgirlipswich

    on 16 Dec 2013 16:39

    While of course the film studios decision to make 2 films is a financial one there may be creative justifications. beware mild spoilers

    1. the first book is an exciting teen adventure story set in a dystopian future. fun but slight. the final book of the trilogy turns the series into something much more profound and affecting.

    2. as others have said there is a clear split between the propaganda war and the real war.

    3. the final part of the story is brutal and horrific and pulls no punches, no fairy tales, no happy endings just pain and death and betrayal. i don't know how you'd make this into an 18 rated film let alone a 12a.

    4. Given the fates of some of the characters those actors need to age before it can be filmed in good conscience.

    i hope the film makers do the book justice.

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  • Comment number 75. Posted by SiouxZee

    on 6 Dec 2013 12:48

    In the Mockingjay book, as a consequence of life's dire circumstance: the games, the trauma of killing of innocent children (and later adults), the oppression, injustice, poverty and starvation, her severe injuries, and death of her beloved sister, Prim, Katniss experienced a long and painful period of hopelessness and depression.

    My presumption (or what I would do if I was writing the script) is that the third film will end after death of Prim and her own horrific injuries, and the fourth film will open to Katniss' recuperating, and suffering a severe state of post-traumatic stress and depression. He depression, her hopelessness, and her psychological trauma played a large part of the last book, and i'm sure the main reason why many found the book to be "boring". To place her depressive episode smack in the middle of one film would not only slow the pace of the movie down considerably, but the director would not be able do justice to Katniss' troubled mental state, her conflicting morality, or her strength and resilience once she has managed to claw her way back to a functioning form of sanity, and ultimately, finding her power and her will to fight for her cause.

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  • Comment number 74. Posted by Chris Sutcliffe

    on 6 Dec 2013 12:20

    I think that there will always be a financial part of film-making - the millions that they invest requires it - but, even if that was the reason that Mockingjay was split, it's not going to be the motivation behind the film-makers themselves.

    Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the great cast will be thinking about giving the best performances. The screenwriter and director will be thinking about creating the best story. The cinematographer will be thinking about how to best light the film; the composer, how to best score the film; the editor, how to best edit the film.

    Someone's thinking about money, but there'll always be people wanting to deliver the best film creatively.

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  • Comment number 73. Posted by Berba_Was_King

    on 5 Dec 2013 11:16

    Harry Potter books were fine reads BUT there was an awful lot of fluff in each one that just wouldn't have worked on screen, at least not for the mood the filmmakers were looking for.

    The Hobbit could've been one film but to fans of the LOTR trilogy that would've disappointed and angered most. The casual film fan wouldn't have cared but these films aren't made for them.

    A two-parter made artistic and commercial sense, three fills like one too many BUT nobody can really pass judgement on this until they have seen all three. Anyway don't like it don't pay to watch it, end of.

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  • Comment number 72. Posted by kaaliz

    on 5 Dec 2013 02:32

    There's a lot of naval gazing in the first third of Mockingjay which we could all probably do without on the screen (look how much fun it wasn't in Twilight: New Moon), but I have no problem with the last film being dark. The first two are pretty dark subject matter to begin with, but I hope the third doesn't shy away from some of the more violent elements of the last book (some are brutal).

    As for the splitting into two parts, yes, it's just a money-making scam and I think we all know that. If Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix can be made into one film without losing anything crucial to the storyline, Mockingjay, and definitely The Hobbit, are just milking a cash cow. If your screenwriter can't condense the book into one film, hire Michael Goldenberg.

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  • Comment number 71. Posted by Berba_Was_King

    on 4 Dec 2013 14:57

    Also don't forget in The Hobbit, Gandalf goes missing for long periods and Tolkien himself found this unsatisfying and appreciated this needed amending so understandable why Jackson would feel the same way.

    One three hour film wouldn't have worked, people would've ended up complaining about lack of character development and how it was too action-packed and just felt like a series of exciting but shallow scenes strapped together rather than an actual story.

    I imagine either way Jackson and co couldn't have won as far as some people are concerned, even going for two films would have caused some controversy and complaints.

    I do agree that the first Hobbit film was over-long so interesting that the second part clocks in at around 2 1/2 hours - I think it will be entertaining, fast-paced, have some surprises in store even for people that know the books, not be without it's flaws but overall better received than the first and set up the events in There And Back Again quite nicely.

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  • Comment number 70. Posted by Berba_Was_King

    on 4 Dec 2013 13:51

    Parzival - Lord of the Rings poorly and directed?! What the hell are you talking about it?!

    The Hobbit - two three or not two three that is the question! ;-) Personally I think when the 6-part Middle-Earth saga is watched as one whole all will make sense and Jackson will be exonerated. At this moment in time people look at the length of original story and think one 3-hour film would suffice. They would be wrong. A two-part epic? Makes more sense as you need time to breathe in the world and the characters amidst all the action but it would be difficult to link it to the Lord of the Rings that way.

    There's mention in the appendices in the LOTR when Gandalf talks about a 'chance' meeting with Thorin that starts the whole adventure of The Hobbit but also played an eventual part in the downfall of Sauron and the War of the Ring. Jackson and co have seized upon this idea and it's formed the basis of this trilogy. I think they will be proven right to have done so.

    To the naysayer's, don't go and see the films then.

    To the Tolkien/Jackson fans, bring it on! I'm sure 'Smaug' will indeed be magnificent and come the third part everyone will be up Jackson's backside again and once more hailed as a genius.

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  • Comment number 69. Posted by Juliette

    on 4 Dec 2013 13:27

    In the case of Mockingjay, like Breaking Dawn, there's a fairly clear division at the half-way point, so it could work and might keep the films a bit shorter than Catching Fire was. In the case of The Hobbit, I'd have liked to see one compressed version. Unlike many of my friends, I like films that adapt rather than just putting everything into live action. Bridget Jones is quite a good example, the film takes big departures from the book, but captures the spirit of it (the sequel, not so much).

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  • Comment number 68. Posted by Rach

    on 4 Dec 2013 09:16

    So, I have read all of the Hunger Games books, and out of all of them I found the third the hardest to like. Having seen and enjoyed the first movie I am now very excited to see the second. However, I do not think there is any justification in making two films based on the third book, the content is just not there!

    It may well be greed, but I start to suspect there maybe an element of trying to give fans of the books and movies more of what they want.

    For example, when watching the Harry Potter films, although you want to see how it all ends, you have been watching these characters develop over years (literally growing up in this case) and so to indulge in a 2-parter to see more development doesn't seem so bad. Maybe HP is a bit of a special case as it covers so many stories.

    As for the Hobbit, I can't really comment. I didn't go to see it as I was put off by the fact that it is three parts long (commitment issues?). On reflection, I have just finished listening to an abridged audio telling of the Hobbit, and that covered a whopping 5 CDs, so 3 movies could be justified. Plus from the book, Bilbo does go on quite an adventure. I might give it a go and see what all the fuss is about.

    I hope splitting books for movie adaptation is treated on a case-by-case basis judged mainly on the content (not all book series are as epic as HP).

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