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His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (WIP)

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HIS DARK MATERIALS: THE SUBTLE KNIFE

Since Series 2 of the BBC One/HBO show His Dark Materials ended, I started working on how these 7 episodes could work as a full-length movie.
(I’ve already broken Series 1 into two films which are still available through PM… although I am not quite happy with the end result and I am planning on re-doing them at some point).

THE PROBLEM & MY GOAL

While the series captures the essence of the beautiful themes and rich characters of Philp Pullman’s novels pretty well, pacing is a big issue throughout the episodes.
In this edit I intend to restructure some of the key plotlines and character moments, while keeping some of the greatest parts of the series and removing some of the parts that in my opinion didn’t work so well.
Since the series follows many characters in different places and worlds, my goal is to create one full-length film with cohesive chapters rather than present those plotlines simultaneously.
Ι used existing soundtrack and OST for merging scenes and smooth transitions and created two band new montages for the opening scene. I also added captions in every scene where a new location is introduced to give a better understanding of the different places and how they are connected.

CHANGELIST

SPOILERS AHEAD for those not familiar with the books or the series.

Restructured: Opening Scene

Sample: https://vimeo.com/496410584
password: fanedit1

Restructured: Lee meets the Witches.

Sample: https://vimeo.com/496415271
password: fanedit2

Restructured: Mrs Coulter interrogation of the captured witch.

Sample: https://vimeo.com/496445373

Removed: All Magisterium’s councils.
Removed: Most of Witches’ councils.
Removed: Dr Lanselius’ trial.
Removed: Will’s visit to his grandparents in Oxford.
Removed: Mrs Coulter and Thorold’s interaction.
Reduced: Lee arrives at Yenisei River and travels straight to Grumman’s cabin.

Sample: https://vimeo.com/496448353
(typo will be fixed)

Removed: Boreal’s henchman questioning Lyra in Mary Malone’s office. She just runs out of the elevator when he finds them.
Removed: Mary Malone’s family.
Removed: Serafina Pekkala’s daemon meeting with Iorek Byrnison.
Removed: Lyra and Will going to the movies in Oxford.
Removed: Boreal visiting Mary Malone’s office.
Restructured: Lyra and Will searching for the Tower of Angel’s entrance.
Removed: Will’s first attempt on using the Knife.
Removed: Tullio captured by the Specters.
Removed: Mrs Coulter in Will’s Oxford. We only meet her later when Will breaks into Boreal’s house.
Reduced: Lyra and Will planning their break in.
Reduced: Witches traveling with Lyra and Will.
Reduced: Mary Malone in Cittàgazze.
Restructured: Mrs Coulter and Boreal in Cittàgazze. Boreal dies from the Specters that Mrs Coulter summons.

Sample: https://vimeo.com/496603494

Removed: Mrs Coulter learning about Lyra’s destiny.
Restructured: Will meeting his father and Mrs Coulter finding Lyra.

The film is currently sitting on a 2hour and 57minutes runtime, which is fine by me, although it could loose 5-10 minutes. I didn’t want to split the series into two films again and I was trying to avoid the 3hour limit.
The project is in its editing process and I am very pleased with the result I am getting.
I am open to suggestions and/or notes and I will post an update as soon as my cut is ready.

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I’ve only just discovered this edit-in-progress (and season 1) and am extremely excited to see. The series so far have been excellent, but struggled structure-wise to make it true to the book AND so that noobs to the story will want to tune in each week. And there’s no way you could condense the plot into 3 2-hour movies (ahem cough cough Golden Compass). Looking forward to seeing your first season edit (will PM) and especially this season!

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chrisvilla said:

I’ve only just discovered this edit-in-progress (and season 1) and am extremely excited to see. The series so far have been excellent, but struggled structure-wise to make it true to the book AND so that noobs to the story will want to tune in each week. And there’s no way you could condense the plot into 3 2-hour movies (ahem cough cough Golden Compass). Looking forward to seeing your first season edit (will PM) and especially this season!

Thank a lot!
Will’s origin was a tricky plot to pull off, that’s why I removed it completely.
And I think I am keeping it that way for this edit too. The viewer learns about Will’s past as Lyra is gathering information about it.

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Yeh, I agree with that. I think they only included so much Will plot in Season 1 for TV continuity and not wanting to just introduce such an important character in Season 2 almost as a surprise. That’s not how the books are though is it? I much preferred your Golden Compass edit to the originals. The thing about the whole will thing is you don’t need his backstory do you? What really matters is how he interacts with Lyra and what he does when he becomes a main character. Good luck with this either way, I know I’ll be checking it out.