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Features

Guess What, Sometimes Films Are Long Because They Deserve To Be

By Sarah Buddery / @sarahbuddery

The return of killer clown Pennywise in It Chapter Two has got people talking in more ways than one.

The conclusion to the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s opus sees the return of The Losers’ Club now all grown up, but still being terrorised by their childhood nightmares.

As expected when the source material clocks in at well over 1000 pages, It Chapter Two is nearly three hours long, but fear not!

We’re here to look at some of the films that have absolutely earned their long running times, plus those that make a case for the short and snappy as well.

Warner Bros.

No film should really have to justify their long run-time; it is after all the filmmaker’s vision, and how they intended us to see it is how it should be consumed.

There are certainly plenty of films across cinema’s history however that have proved a longer run-time is not just to ensure the director’s vision comes across clearly, but is essential in making the film work.

Let’s take a recent example with the culmination of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Avengers: Endgame.

Marvel Studios

Clocking in at around 181 minutes, the film undoubtedly earned its run-time, and in fact made sure that every second counted.

The result was that not a moment felt wasted, and after repeat watches, it is hard to think what could have potentially been sacrificed, while also allowing the film to maintain all its emotion, action, joy, and heart.

As fans of the MCU, we’d put in almost 48 hours worth of watching leading up to this point, and as the movie was billed as the end of this particular chapter, then it absolutely needed those three hours!

Marvel Studios

Going back a little further, films of the epic and fantasy genre are frequently long.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies are collectively just under 24 hours long, and both David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia and Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus are well over three and a half hours each.

When films have such a big story to tell, particularly if there is also the need to cover a great shift in time or an epic adventure, then there is a certain expectation that the movie will also feel like a journey; one which is exciting and earned, and puts you through all of the necessary emotions.

Columbia Pictures

As well as It, there are plenty of other book to screen adaptations that have boasted long running times.

When the source material is particularly dense, and with an already established fan-base eagerly waiting to find out whether the film can live up to the book, the pressure is on filmmakers to ensure the experience translates from the page, which is never the easiest of tasks.

Legendary author Stephen King packs a lot into his reads, with previous adaptations such as The Green Mile and The Shining clocking in at just over 180 and 140 minutes respectively, and It looks to continue this trend.

Warner Bros.

With the book itself covering a vast amount of time, it is no wonder that the film has ended up being in two parts, which in total will be over five hours of scares and thrills.

The first part focuses on a group of children known as The Losers’ Club, who are being terrorised by the embodiment of their nightmares, Pennywise the Clown. Now in part two, the Losers may be all grown up, but their fears remain.

With such a big story to tell, It absolutely feels like a movie that needs to be told in depth, but of course it isn’t true of all films, and there are many which make the case for shorter run-times.

Warner Bros.

Certain genres seem to lend themselves to the classic 90 minute run-time, particularly when it comes to comedy and animated films. It is a rarity to find a family movie that is over the two hour mark, and it isn’t just down to lower attention spans.

These films can pack a lot into a short amount of time, certainly something that is proven in the Disney Pixar classic Toy Story which is a mere 81 minutes long, and the more recent Inside Out which crams a lot of emotion into a 95 minute movie.

Indeed a lot of the very early Disney animated classics sit at around the 75 minute mark, and of course now are widely regarded as the classics that they deserve to be.

Disney/Pixar

Taking a bit of a left turn away from the wholesome movies of Disney, there are plenty of horrors which are able to leave a lasting impression in a short amount of time.

1981 zombie classic The Evil Dead is efficiently dealt with in 85 minutes, found-footage chiller Paranormal Activity is a mere 86 minutes, and currently showing in cinemas, monster movie Crawl will only take up 87 minutes of your time, proving to be short and snappy in more ways than one!

It seems more than ever that movie run-times are a hot talking point, and this certainly doesn’t seem to be going away as films continue to defy our expectations, and the previous confines of genres are no longer as prevalent.

Netflix

We find ourselves in a time where blockbusters such as Avengers: Endgame can be over three hours long, and where legendary directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese continue to stick two fingers up and unleash their epics upon us.

The beauty of film is that there is truly something for everyone, you can enjoy a 90 minute comedy and happily devour a large fizzy drink without needing a toilet break, and you can fully immerse yourself in a long and expansive adaptation of an iconic horror novel such as It Chapter Two as well.

Maybe just leave the large drinks for that one…

It Chapter Two will hit UK cinemas Friday 6th September.

Are you excited for It Chapter Two? Let us know on social media. 

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Team Zavvi

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