Saturday, April 25, 2015
Standard epic movie length
Two hours and 20 minutes.
That seems to be exactly the perfect length for an epic movie. It's long enough to prove how massive and important it is, but short enough that it doesn't send squirmy moviegoers running for the exits.
I hadn't really considered the utility of this running time until this week, when I came across it four times.
The first was when I saw Hook on Tuesday night, and nearly fainted when I realized it was going to go on for 142 minutes. So in that case, it definitely was too long, but only because the movie is so bad.
Then I was at the library on Wednesday, picking up my reserved copy of the Star Wars prequels, in preparation to watch Attack of the Clones with my wife this weekend. While having a coffee in the library cafe with my kids, I was looking over the package and noted the running times of the three movies: 133 minutes, 142 minutes and 140 minutes.
I guess we should count it as a blessing that The Phantom Menace falls seven minutes short of that 140-minute mark.
I suppose these are just four random examples, and the rule is violated by popular movies as often as it is adhered to. Even when splitting the 300-page Hobbit book into three movies, for example, Peter Jackon still managed to get only the final one to come in at this length, its 144 minutes paling in comparison to the 160+ for the first two movies. But it does otherwise seem like a pretty good benchmark. Here are some other examples:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day - 136 minutes
The Matrix - 136 minutes
The Matrix Reloaded - 138 minutes
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - 132 minutes
John Carter - 132 minutes
The Lone Ranger - 149 minutes
Since I have just realized there is nothing very profound about listing a bunch of movies that run between two hours and ten minutes and two hours and 30 minutes, I think I'll stop right there and call it a post.