Hey director, why the long movie?

16:00, Jan 27 2013

Long ones can make you fidgety, crossing and uncrossing your legs, bouncing up and down to get comfortable. But the shorter ones can leave you unsatisfied, with important parts sometimes ignored.

Lengthy ones are often a bit meatier, and usually get all the praise, but when they are smaller, it means you normally stay awake for the whole thing.

Does size matter? It's a question that has tapped away at the subconscious of mankind for more years than Chris Warner has been walking the halls of Shortland St.

But after much thought and discussion, I think I have decided that nope, I don't think epic long movies are all they are cracked up to be.

After what seemed like a solid run of smack-bang two hour flicks, cinema goers are being forced to enter theatres with a mindset equivalent to taking a packed lunch and an old-lady cushion, and controlling one's bladder like a camel. And I say "oh goodness gracious, why?"

From The Hobbit (2hr 49mins) to Les Miserables (2hr 38mins) and now Django Unchained (2hr 45mins), the three biggest movies of the summer are whoppers. If you watch the trifecta, that is more hours on the clock than the average work day (but please don't try and spend a whole day watching them, I don't want to be responsible for that).

Maybe they are big topics - an unexpected journey by a man with relatively short legs, the fight for redemption and a lot of songs to get through, and slavery with a hint of blood-lust - but sure it's nothing a bit of extra time in the editing suite could fix? I guess the editing dude was off work that day.

As my date to Les Mis said, it's not like these movies are Titanic. Maybe it says something about us, but watching a loved-up couple plunge to their almost-certain deaths is the only thing that will keep us happy for any great length of time.

And when the team behind the latest take on Anna Karenina (aka basically the world's longest book), can deliver something just a jot over 120 minutes, it's clear that it's possible.

Yes, they are a wonderful example of bang-for-your-buck (going to the movies is not a cheap night out anymore, after all), but is it wrong that I am longing for the days of intermission, when you are jolted out of the story but the pay-off is a toilet break, a chance to stretch the old legs, and to grab some more Jaffas? Think of that extra revenue, cinema owners, and think of the children (or just this fidgety, thirsty one).



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