October 5, 2012

THE HOBBIT: Here's Hoping It Flops

When The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie came out in 2001, we knew we weren't going to see the entire story, and we were cool with that. The Lord of the Rings was three books to begin with. Hence, three movies. Not a problem. Of course, it also helped that these movies didn't suck.

And I didn't really have a problem when Quentin Tarantino decided to split Kill Bill into two movies. They're kinda different in tone, anyway, and considering Tarantino's reputation, most of us appreciated it more as an artistic decision rather than a financial one. When you think about it, this was actually pretty risky, because while Tarantino's movies are mostly successful, they aren't really blockbusters.

And it didn't really bother me when Warner Brothers decided to break up the seventh and last Harry Potter novel into two separate movies, even though it was obvious to everyone but fantards that the studio was simply milking the franchise for all it was worth. Same with Summit Entertainment and Breaking Dawn. First, I never gave a shit about either franchise anyway, and second, those movies are aimed primarily at the audience with the most discretionary income (teenagers). Unlike cutting Kill Bill in two, there was no real risk here, because both studios knew damn well enough obsessive fans would gladly pay twice to see the conclusion of their beloved sagas.

Which they did...because they are suckers.

Right now, some of those very suckers reading this may be zealously arguing that the final novels in either series couldn't possibly be told in a single film because they are too big, too epic.

That's horseshit.

Once upon a time, there was a 1,000 page novel called Gone with the Wind, one of the biggest selling books of all time. Funny...Hollywood didn't have any problem adapting that one as a single film.

But now, the practice of splitting novels is being abused, and what truly pisses me off is that it's such an obvious studio ploy to bilk as much money from moviegoers as possible.

We were all excited at the news The Hunger Games trilogy would be adapted for the big screen, and like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, we accepted that it would be three movies. But then the first Hunger Games film wasn't just a hit, but a worldwide blockbuster. It wasn't long before Lionsgate announced that the last novel in the series, Mockingjay, would be two films released a year apart. This was even before the second movie, Catching Fire, even started filming.

I'm sorry, but what the fuck?

If my Gone with the Wind example wasn't enough, a two-part Mockingjay movie shoots the whole 'too big for a single movie' argument right out of the water, because each book in the series is only around 300 pages long. Lionsgate is simply doing it to rake in twice the cash from folks they know will pay twice to see a conclusion.

Recently, we've learned Peter Jackson, who did such a stellar job adapting the three-part Lord of the Rings trilogy, would be adapting The Hobbit as a two-part film. Hey, I've read The Hobbit, and although I think Jackson's a great director, I can't think of a single reason why a 300 page novel needs to be a two-part film. Even if you're totally enamored with Middle Earth, is there really enough story there to justify two movies?

But it gets worse...

Even more recently, Jackson announced that his adaptation of The Hobbit would now be three movies, all released a year apart from each other, just like The Lord of the Rings. I'm sorry, but unless he's planning on including every scene where Bilbo Baggins sleeps, eats and takes a dump, the whole Hobbit thing just reeks of money-grubbing. I dare you - no, I double dog dare you - to convince anyone this isn't just a cash grab.

All you Tolkien fans, do some math....

You love The Hobbit? Fine. You're happy to see that this classic has been placed in the capable hands of Peter Jackson, the same guy who gave you Lord of the Rings hard-ons? Fine.

Now consider this: In order to get your Middle Earth fix, you will be required to pay an average of ten bucks to see each movie in theaters (assuming admission prices won't increase, which isn't likely). That's thirty bucks. Throw in ten bucks-worth of popcorn and sodas each time (which we all do)...there's another thirty bucks. That means you're paying $60 to watch one movie, spread-out over three years. And if you bring a date, double that.

Has there ever been any movie in history worth paying sixty bucks for? Well, that's what Peter Jackson and the producers of The Hobbit are expecting you to do. At this point, I don't care if the first installment is good or not. I refuse to pay admission to watch a third of a movie.

As much as I like Peter Jackson, I hope The Hobbit totally tanks at the box office. I hope it has the worst opening weekend of any movie in history, because this trend has to end. And all of you suckers happily shelling-out your hard-earned cash to watch the second half of a movie you already paid once for need to stop. Stop now.

The film, Gone with the Wind, was nearly four hours long, but nobody complained, because it was a good movie and you got a complete story for your money. Who cared how long it was? There's an old saying...no good book is too long, and no bad book is too short. The same thing applies to movies. I can easily sit through a four hour movie if it's any good. And even if you are a die-hard Twilight junkie, wouldn't you have been happier watching Breaking Dawn as a four hour epic than waiting a year to see the conclusion? Is the conclusion of any saga really worth paying twice the price for?

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