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How long should the Netflix movies be?

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How long should the Netflix movies be?

Postby Cleander » Oct 22, 2019 6:19 pm

Hey everyone,
So lately I was wondering what a good running time would be for the upcoming Netflix Narnia movies. This topic has been alluded to on other threads, but I wanted to give it a fresh thread here. I always felt like the Walden movies weren't quite long enough (I'm sure a lot of folks would agree mainly just 'cause you can't have too much Narnia! ;) ). I realize there are often time constraints, and I definitely enjoyed what I saw with the 2 to 2.5 hours the Walden films got (well, most of them anyway :-s ). However, I believe that a full 3 hours couldn't hurt, or even 3 and a half hours for that matter. In my opinion a longer film would offer a chance for richer detail and character development, etc.; in Narnia's case, it would help with the insertion of scenes that the books only imply or leave out altogether (like Caspian IX's murder, the White Witch's army assembling, Uncle Andrew's descent into madness and magic, and so on).
I don't think a 3 hour runtime would hurt the movies as long as those 3 hours are well used. Go check out how Lord of the Rings did! ;)
What do you think? In the event that Netflix produces all or most of the books as feature films, what do you consider the optimal amount of time to tell these stories on screen?
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Re: How long should the Netflix movies be?

Postby Courtenay » Oct 22, 2019 11:55 pm

I agree, 3 hours wouldn't hurt for most of the Narnia stories!

Do we know, though, if Netflix is intending to make them into movies as such, or into a series or mini-series with several episodes for each? That would allow them to develop each story more gradually and fit more in (and it has the advantage of being able to end each episode on a cliffhanger, so that everyone has to wait and see what happens next). I think I'd like that better than individual movies.
"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed." (Prince Caspian)
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Re: How long should the Netflix movies be?

Postby JFG II » Oct 23, 2019 9:26 am

I’m a little TOO obsessed with this topic.
Great choice of topic, Cleander!

I haven’t a clue about Netflix Narnia until we know just what books they’ll adapt as movies. As I’ve said, I hope it’s the four books yet to see movie adaptations. Still...

The Walden and BBC takes on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a good place to start (Not specific).
Example: Walden’s “Where’s Edmund?!” scene in LWW occurs about 50 minutes into the 130-minute movie-adaptation of the book (10+ mins of end credits), but BBC’s “Where’s Edmund?!” scene in LWW occurs around 80 minutes into a 160-minute television adaptation of the book. In my own opinion, the former is too short and rushed, and the latter is too long and slow. Somewhere in between is preferable.

(Ever since I was in middle school I’ve scripted treatments of movie ideas that showed what their desired runtime would have been. I theorized that The Silver Chair and The Magician’s Nephew would benefit from shorter runtimes: 110 mins - 140 mins. The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle would benefit from longer runtimes: 140 mins - 170 mins. That is because HHB & LB introduce new cultures and/or characters that only appear in said stories, while SC & MN are continuations/prequels of previous stories with added characters and places.)

Prince Caspian was made into an action film so it should have been a shorter film, but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was a cheesy film so it wasn’t short enough! Hopefully Netflix Narnia will be just right: Faithful but not to the point of being dull.
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Re: How long should the Netflix movies be?

Postby icarus » Jan 04, 2020 7:38 am

Two and a half hours is plenty enough for any movie. Lord of the Rings is probably the exception to the rule, but most movies that go on for 3 hours or more tend to be hideous bloated messes or tedious slogs to get through.

It's an advantage of Netflix's approach to creative control that they don't tend to impose many restrictions on their creators, but boy could they have done with telling Martin Scorsese to cut an hour out of the Irishman - its completely devoid of any of the pace or energy that made his other crime epics such a joy to watch.

I also don't feel that any of the Narnia books have complex enough narratives to warrant lengthy runtimes (at least as far as a feature film format is concerned). They generally follow one set of characters on one single story. There aren't really any subplots, side quests or concurrent narratives going on.

In terms of a TV format, I feel 8 to 10 episodes is a nice number. Again Netflix have not been ruthless enough with their creators in this regard, and some of the Marvel shows were a real slog to get through at 13 episodes long. I feel like they are starting to learn however, with alot of the major streaming providers now doing seasons of irregular numbers like 7 or 9 episodes - essentially whatever the story warrants, rather than trying to stretch or squash the story into a pre-determined episode count.

As a side note, you might be wondering why I feel 3 hours of movie is too long, but 8 hours of TV series is just right, and that's because the viewing experience is fundamentally altered by the nature of the format. With a TV series each episode is it's own discrete entity, with a begining, middle and end. Each episode can have it's own thematic focus or character focus, and as a viewer you generally get some degree of emotional pay-off or resolution by the end of the episode. In a feature film however, the three acts are stretched out over the entire run time, and therefore you end up waiting a long time to get satisfying resolutions to character arcs and plot points which can be incredibly frustrating and tedious if you are having to go for more than 3 hours.
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