AT a time when Peter Jackson has spent the last fifteen years working on six JRR Tolkien adaptations and James Cameron has mapped out Avatars 2 through 4 in his mind, it’s hard not to wonder what happened to the 90-minute film.
I’m not saying that all long films are terrible. Not at all. A couple of weeks ago, in fact, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was released, and quickly worked its way to the top of my films of the year list.
It’s more that filmmakers and studios nowadays seem to favour quantity over quality, especially when it comes to blockbusters.
You only have to look at this summer to see my point. Out of all the major blockbusters to be released, only a very small handful clock in at under 120 minutes. And even then that doesn’t mean they are any good.
Length doesn’t only work as a detriment to the film itself, usually requiring some extra padding that wouldn’t be necessary had the running time simply been cut, but it also puts audiences off, whether that’s right or not.
I’m sure most people would much prefer to see a timely 90-minute film than a three-hour slog, only to emerge dehydrated and with a numb bum at the end of it.
Recent films such as Gravity, Wall-E and even this summer’s Hercules have all earned their dues with critics and audiences (some more than others), all the while managing to stay within a respectable running time.
I may be speaking for myself here. And sometimes I think I am when I see how well Transformers: Age of Extinction, pictured, has done. But I always feel a sense of glee when I’m about to watch a film and I check IMDb to find that it’s 90, or even 100 minutes long.
It’s refreshing, and I certainly wouldn’t say no to more of it.