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An unwelcome trend: Movies with epic running times

By Kristina Dorsey

Publication: theday.com

Published January 02. 2013 2:00PM   Updated January 02. 2013 2:19PM

Want to see a movie this week? Well, I hope you have a lot of free time.

You plan on catching "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"? Set aside 169 minutes — yes, two hours and 49 minutes. Hoping to catch "Django Unchained"? You'll be in the theater for almost the same amount of time — just four minutes less.

Or maybe you'll aim for "Les Miserables," at 157 minutes (two hours and 37 minutes) or "Lincoln" at 150 minutes.

Have these filmmakers never heard of a little something called an editor?

This trend, alas, seems to be getting stronger rather than weaker. Even summer popcorn flicks have started clocking in at punishing lengths. This past summer saw "The Dark Knight Rises" at 165 minutes, "The Avengers" at 143, and "The Hunger Games" at 142.
Now, granted, some movies deserve a long running time. You could argue that "Lincoln" is one of those. But "The Hobbit"? Easily cuttable. And it's only the first in a trilogy — I dread to think how long parts two and three will be.

Some directors, like Peter Jackson, are repeat offenders. Yes, even good directors. Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy and "Inception" could have all benefited from a good trim.
I think that, as a given director gains more control over his work, he tends not to want to cut anything from his movie. You know: every second is a gem!

I'm sure some viewers like long films because they are, in a way, getting more for their money. But I prefer a sharply paced piece any day. Yes, an epic story still deserves an epic running time, but those kind of tales are few and far between. For most stories, two hours is plenty.

Whatever happened to the showbiz axiom of "Leave 'em wanting more"?

What do you think of movies with long running times?

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