Saturday, April 12, 2014

There Is Not Enough *headdesk* In The World...

They're splitting Allegiant into two movies. Sweet Mother of Rassilon - WHY?

And yet... no one can muster up the gumption to do a Wonder Woman movie...
I swear I read something a couple a weeks ago that said unequivocally that this was NOT going to happen (Can I find that article now? Of course not!) And I was quite relieved. Apart from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which actually had enough material to warrant a split (Goblet of Fire also should have been split, but let’s not open that wound today - since I already did it here), none of these YA novel adaptation movies have needed that extra film to tell the whole story. But I guess someone changed their mind. And I am really tired of this trend. It was good for the first one, but now it’s just stupid. I mean, they might as well just trot out promotional materials that say “We don’t give a shit about your favorite stories - we really just want all your money!” Usually I’m happy to give them my money if the product is good and I feel like I'm getting of quality in return. But when it’s so blatant that this is what they’re doing, it makes me nervous about the kind of movies they’re going to put out.

Let’s just break it down here - like I said, Harry Potter needed the split (more than it actually got, if truth be told). Breaking Dawn (fourth book of Twilight)... well, we could have a whole conversation of whether the fourth book was even necessary, let alone an extra movie (Full Disclosure: I only saw Breaking Dawn, Part 1, with the caveat that I would watch it with RiffTrax commentary. Even that couldn’t salvage the sheer awfulness of that movie and I didn’t even bother with Part 2).

The next one on the chop is Mockingjay, which is still baffling to me. I mean, they got all of the necessary material from Catching Fire into one movie. In terms of essential plot elements, Mockingjay does not have anything more than Catching Fire does. In fact, I would venture to say that Catching Fire actually has MORE in terms of story and would have needed the split far more than Mockingjay does. But it’s Mockingjay that gets the split, simply because the studios don’t feel the need to go out and find something else to fill that release date with. Or whatever the thinking is behind this stupid fad.

If The Hunger Games films don’t need this trope, the Divergent trilogy needs it even less. While Divergent the book and Divergent the movie were so good that it hurts - there is still a long way to go with these movies. Insurgent as a book suffers the most from being over-long (I’m right in the middle of re-reading Insurgent and I’m already finding places where the story could be edited down to be more interesting. It’s not a terrible book by any means - there are some very excellent scenes and character moments in this story. But material around them is padded down with a lot of excess that isn't needed and I’m hoping that gets worked out of the screenplay). Allegiant returns to the greatness of Divergent, but that ending is a sore point of contention with many of the fandom (personally, I see why it ended that way. I may not like the way it ended from an emotional standpoint, but from a storyteller’s standpoint it was a gutsy call and I applaud Veronica Roth in taking such a risk. And it doesn't bother me the way it bothers other people. Hell, I’m re-reading the whole series, aren't I?) Now that I think of it, Insurgent could probably be pared down enough to give some of Allegiant’s story to that movie! (There is precedent for such things - some of what happened in the book The Return of the King went into the movie for The Two Towers and vice versa. But that was a situation with timelines and plot-threads running through the whole series. Still - it works out in the long run).

The Divergent series does NOT need four movies. But it’s going to get them anyway. And the storytelling is going to suffer because of it. That makes me sad. Because the overarching story is SO good and SO worth your time, but the executives and the accounting eggheads just see dollar signs and want to bleed these franchises dry until there’s nothing left to enjoy anymore. Part of the fun of these things is that there is an ending and they don’t go on and on forever and they don’t overstay their welcome. We as fans may say “it’ll be sad when this whole thing is over” because we’ll have to say goodbye to our favorite characters and we love them a lot - but there is such a thing as too much. And if you had an endless supply of just one thing, it would become stale and boring and you’d get sick of it. And there is nothing more tragic than having something you once loved so much become stale and boring.

Obviously YA fiction is a viable market for filmmakers - maybe these efforts would be better suited to finding other YA properties that would lend themselves to good film adaptations. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier comes to mind, as does Matched by Ally Condie and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. In fact, I would sacrifice my left kidney for a good Shadow and Bone movie. As much as I love Divergent, Shadow and Bone is in the same class. But no, we have to keep beating the same franchises to death instead of trying to find something new and interesting.

C'mon, Lionsgate! You know you want to!
Well - at least we’ll always have the books. They don’t disappoint as easily.

Seeing as how a lot of my initial reviews of a lot of these books are on my now-defunct book review blog, I really need to keep up with my "Throwback Thursday" thing that I've let lapse AGAIN! (argh)

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