It takes years of planning to make a typical Hollywood film – and this can even stretch to decades, particularly where big budget blockbusters are concerned. As you’d expect, an incredible amount of decision-making is involved along the way, all to ensure that the best possible story ultimately finds its way into cinemas.
Amazingly, though, it’s often the last-minute changes made by filmmakers that determine whether a movie is a massive success or a bitter disappointment. Sometimes, these edits are made after the director has a “Eureka!” moment, realizing just in time what elements need to be amended for the final cut to truly soar.
In other cases, the circumstances are motivated less by artistic considerations and more by the commercial bottom line. Here, the studio financing the production will mandate alterations intended to maximize box office revenue – often based on feedback from test screenings.
Regardless of the rationale behind these edits, what makes them remarkable is just how late they’re implemented. Seriously: we were only weeks away from seeing very different versions of some of the most popular films of all time!
With this in mind, here are 10 Last-Minute Changes That Saved Movies (And 6 That Ruined Them).
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films arguably constitute the finest fantasy trilogy ever made. Accessible to newcomers while remaining largely faithful to J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, The Lord of the Rings movies married incredible spectacle and stunning visuals with genuine, heartfelt emotion.
When it was announced that Jackson would return to Middle-earth to helm a prequel trilogy based around The Hobbit, fan expectations were understandably high. Unfortunately, although the The Hobbitfilms were wildly successful commercially, the reaction from audiences was far more lukewarm this time around.
The more charitable verdict is that – although the films have their moments – they’re a misguided attempt to transform a brief children’s tale into a sweeping saga for adults.
To be fair, Jackson had his work cut out for him, as the The Hobbit is a deceptively difficult book to adapt. In addition to its lighter, more juvenile tone, it also has 15 core cast members, 13 of whom are near-identical dwarves!
Nevertheless, other issues with the films seem avoidable – and chief among these is just how often they flat-out fail the logic test.
With this in mind, here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About The Hobbit Trilogy.
Everybody makes mistakes from time to time – and that includes the heroes of the big screen! While even the most severe screw-up can usually be overlooked, sometimes even the good guys do things that are flat-out unforgivable.
There are plenty of reasons why an otherwise virtuous movie character might not deserve to have their sins absolved. Perhaps their actions have horrific consequences (unforeseen or expected) which are so terrible that even the most noble of goals just can’t provide justify things. After all, as they say: the pathway to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Or maybe they committed their dastardly deeds before showing remorse and returning to the side of the angels, which still ends up amounting to “too little, too late.” And then there are those instances where what has been done isn’t so appalling, but – for whatever reason – it affects another character so deeply, that character will never be able to forgive our hero for their actions.
Whatever the reason, the end result is invariably the same: no amount of apologizing is going to let these do-gooders off the hook with audiences! In the time-honored tradition of naming and shaming, we’ve pulled together this list of 15 Unforgivable Acts Committed By ‘Heroic’ Characters.
Everybody loves a movie tough guy or gal – powerful characters with a reputation for being able to win virtually any fight. Yet a surprising number of these iconic fighters have actually lost almost as many battles as they’ve won (at least based on what we see on screen).
Of course, a large part of this is down to the way that films work. In order for a story to be compelling, our heroes need to struggle – and even occasionally lose! – despite their incredible martial prowess. Similarly, in most instances, villains need to be defeated before the credits roll – which means that they are predestined to be second best, no matter how many times they’ve beaten the hero throughout the story.
That’s why most movie powerhouses earn their street cred by mowing down unfortunate redshirts, only to end up on the wrong end of a brutal beatdown when faced by an opponent at least as skilled as they are: because they’re really only as good at fighting as the story needs them to be at any given moment.
But even taking into account the mechanics of storytelling, you’d be amazed by just how patchy the win-loss record for some of cinema’s most well-known heavy hitters really is.
Don’t believe us? Then check out this list of 15 ‘Tough’ Movie Characters Who Always Get Defeated – we promise you: you won’t believe who made the cut!
Cliffhanger endings have been keeping movie audiences on the edge of their seats since virtually the dawn of cinema. Not to be confused with stand alone films containing ambiguous, “open” endings, this storytelling device sees films draw to a close without a true resolution, but rather with the promise of more events to come.
First popularized in serials of the 1920s and 1930s – famous for the “To be continued” text that rounded each instalment – cliffhangers have long proven divisive among cinemagoers. After all, by their nature, cliffhanger endings typically prevent a film from having a truly satisfying conclusion.
How can they, when they’re designed to build anticipation for a follow-up movie containing the story’s actual finale? Even so, when done well, cliffhangers can be a thrilling way to wrap up a film, dramatically raising the stakes even as they surprise viewers with shocking revelations and happenings.
As cinema history is filled to the brim with famous – and infamous! – cliffhanger endings, we’ve pulled together this list of 10 Amazing Movie Cliffhangers (And 5 That Are Terrible) for your reading pleasure.
Most movie cameos are easy to spot – indeed, a lot of the time, noticing these brief appearances by big names in the industry is entirely the point! But sometimes, these “mega star, minor moment” instances can fly completely under the radar.
When this happens, it’s almost always on purpose. The typical rationale for sneaking a recognizable face into a film is that the filmmakers want to do a favor for one of their high profile friends – and c’mon, who doesn’t want to be in a flick like Star Wars? – without distracting the audience.
Other times, it’s a case of those involved looking to have a bit of good-natured fun and hoodwinking the audience by hiding a major celebrity in plain sight.
Whatever the reason, spotting these often ultra-brief walk-ons by some of the biggest names in the entertainment world can be a surprisingly rewarding feeling – consider it the movie geek version of bird watching.
It also means that you’ll likely never watch certain scenes in quite the same way, knowing that guy or gal you thought was only an extra is actually a Hollywood A-lister in disguise.
So in order to totally rock your world – or at the very least, encourage you to revisit a lot of great films – we’ve compiled this list of 20 Movie Cameos You Completely Missed. Happy hunting!