Movie length has become a reel problem

Sound off: Dave Leahy on… Yeah it was good, too long though

Zzzzz: At one of the recent instalments of a certain franchise there was much discussion and general consensus about how it was far too long and they could have done without two  superfluous subplots

Zzzzz: At one of the recent instalments of a certain franchise there was much discussion and general consensus about how it was far too long and they could have done without two superfluous subplots

 

The film director Edgar Wright suggested recently on Twitter that, with some exceptions, we should legislate to ensure no debut film exceeds 95 minutes. Perhaps somewhat facetious but it does seem, anecdotally at least, that movie length is increasingly being discussed among cinema-goers as something of a problem.

I would never go so far as to suggest a film should have a defined maximum length. It should of course be as long as it needs to be without outstaying its welcome.

Excessive duration never used to bother me that much until my son reached the age when, happily, trips to the cinema became a regular occurrence. It is with recent blockbuster movies where this problem has really come into its own.

It becomes about endurance, which is a great pity

After bringing him and his crew to the latest opus we settled in, watching the trailers and ads before the main event finally began. Around the hour-and-a-half mark the restlessness sets in. Against all odds, the bottom of the popcorn barrels have finally been reached and they’re now asking how long is left. From then on in, it becomes about endurance, which is a great pity. It never felt like this when I was a kid.

At one of the recent instalments of a certain intergalactic adventure franchise there was much discussion and general consensus about how it was far too long and they could have done without two specific superfluous subplots. They’re eight years old and even they can see it.

It would be nice to think that once the film ends we wouldn’t immediately be bouncing out of our seats, totally over it, and ready to escape. Not that you can do that because “Dad, wait! There’s another bit after the credits!” Of course there is.

Dave Leahy is the producer of Dublin Oldschool, in cinemas from June 29th (running time 94 minutes!)

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