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What I’m Thankful For: The Two-Part Film


During the week of Thanksgiving, the Funkhouser family offers up the facets of pop culture for which they’re especially thankful. Today, Brennan English shares the object of her cultural gratitude: the two-part film derived from an original source material. Sorry, Kill Bill.

It’s Thanksgiving here at Funkhouser and presumably, in your home as well.  And what’s Thanksgiving without a little conflict? I’ve already had a Ferguson argument. In a Corbin gas station. Corbin.

I’ve read a wealth of articles (more like three) about the horrors of the rise of the multi-part film, typically, a film based on one book that has been made into two (or three!) full-length movies.

Filmmakers get to pull a Scorsese, neglecting to edit their film to a manageable length, whilst droves of Twihards and Potterheads get to dress up two more times before their fantasy worlds come crashing down.

Like the rise and the semi-fall of the 3D film, I, as a brilliant consumer know what’s happening here. I took micro AND macro in college.

“Twice the money!? Make one long film and split it into two parts based on one piece of source material that has a loyal and embedded fanbase?! GENIUS.”

But today is a day to be thankful, and I’m here to play devil’s advocate and say that I’m damn thankful I got to see half of a movie at Cinemark Movies 10 , Tuesday. What I am not thankful for–that woman who burped, cursed, and talked throughout the film. BURPED. It truly offended my delicate sensibilities.

Once I got it together to leave the theater after the tumult of burps and the effect of the film, Mockingjay (PART ONE), I couldn’t help but thank the J Law gods I get to pay to come back and do it all over again next year.

Why? Because as a fangirl, you just don’t want it to end, and there’s something satisfying about delayed gratification. Occasionally. We get one more year in which Tumblr or paltry releases on PotterWorld won’t be our only sustenance because.. another film is coming! Get ready for teaser trailers!!

Of course the other, major reason that I love the two-parter is the potential for “extra”, quality filmmaking and acting. Like a fine wine, YA actors improve with age.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

I was naturally an absolute Potter fiend in my youth, putting together the quadrillion piece Lego Potter castle one Christmas break led to several tearful breakdowns–“Where is that piece!? I’ve been looking for two hours–they are ALL TAN.”

So the end of the Potter series in 2011 was kind of the end of my childhood. No big deal. But more than that, I’d never even really liked the films because as someone who’d read the books again and again until my eyes bled, they always had to leave out so many important plot points. Not this time!!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was perhaps dull to casual fans as the grownup n’ sexy n’ better at acting Harry, Ron, and Hermione, wandered through dreary England and argued for the duration of the film; yet it was my favorite in the entire series as it captured the essence of that last book like no other film had. It was plodding and depressing and hopeless and perfect.

Then we got a second film that was not only angst-ridden, but filled with nonstop action and slaying. The entire movie was a climax! In a nonsexual way that wrapped up seven book series! #Blessed

I can’t speak to the Twilight fans because I haven’t seen the Twilight movies, but I’m sure I would have been thankful for them too.

Now Mockingjay Part One has arrived, and seen the lowest debut of any film in the series, but the highest debut for any film of 2014 (suck it Michael Bay) so what’s going on here? Do consumers truly not want to pay twice to see one super long movie? Or are parents afraid their children will take naked pictures (they probably will).

Combine these factors with the fact that Mockingjay was the worst book in the series (Suzanne Collins is more adept at writing about actual Hunger Games), and you may have your answer.

I’m not in this book…and why are my eyes this unnatural hue?

There is a saturation effect with a series for an ordinary fan, and no film has exemplified this like The Hobbit. This post wasn’t about being thankful for three-part films, after all.

A short book with dwarves walking, finding treasure, having a small battle, and eventually killing a dragon, has been dragged out into three terrible films with dozens of characters that weren’t even in the bleeping YA book. The Hobbit is a YA book guyz. We all read it because it was easier than tackling the trilogy. No shame.

So I am not thankful for you in 2014, Peter Jackson, nor your three boring ass movies.

But Mockingjay Part One? A gorgeous film that I will undoubtedly watch again and again, bringing out the high points of a rather so so book, and creating something even better, an accessible social commentary on war, government, propaganda, and the media. And we get a chance to see an absolutely absurd assemblage of talent do it all over again in Part Two, the movie with all of the fighting.

And I’m very thankful. Let’s just be thankful for once. Happy Thanksgiving.


Article written by Brennan English

Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. @BrennanKSR