April 16 2008

Movie Running Times

The JokerOver the years movies have been sitting firmly in the 90-minute running time to try to maintain the attention of the audience, and also to maximize the number of showings a theater could run during a given day. It’s been a sad trend, leading to movies far more concerned with their running time than any actual artistic vision, or actually telling the best story they can.

Luckily there are some people out there now fighting the trend, saying that it’s okay for a movie to run 2 – 3 hours; they have a story to tell and they’re going to tell it.

This all comes from the news today that the running times of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dark Knight have had their running times announced. Neither film is going the 90-minute route, and I’m thrilled.

Indiana Jones is going to click in at 140-minutes, 13-minutes longer than Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It is not difficult to imagine those 13-minutes will be consumed with jokes about Indiana’s advancing age, but hopefully not. I am still feeling some trepidation over this film, but I might as well face facts that I am going to see it no matter what.

The news I am really excited about is the running time The Dark Knight; current estimates put it at about 165-minutes compared to Batman Begins being 140.  Considering they will not only be dealing with The Joker, but the end of the film will see the appearance of a second villain (I won’t say which for those who wish to be spoiler free) to set up the third movie, it’s going to be a busy film.  All I hope is they handle the Joker correctly, because if they do, the nearly three hour runtime won’t seem like enough.

All-in-all, it’s looking fairly decent this summer movie season, but I’m sure something will disappoint me along the way… of course.

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