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.
SPOILERS AHEAD for those not familiar with the books or the series.
Restructured: Opening Scene
Restructured: Lee meets the Witches.
Restructured: Mrs Coulter interrogation of the captured witch.
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.
(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.
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.