賺到盡 Maximising profits
自從 Twilight 電影系列第一集於2008年驚艷登場，導演 Catherine Hardwicke 的神來之筆把 Stephenie Meyer 的殭屍 fantasy 變成了眾少女（或還以為自己是少女的女子）的當代 fairy tale。那些觸動少女神經的場面（Bella 發呆的偷看 Edward，Edward 背着 Bella 於森林中穿梭），充滿詩意的畫面，加上由 Debussy 跟 Muse 相交的配樂，及最後的英雄救美令這看似平平無奇的殭屍故事變得驚為天人。看罷電影，再追看原著小說，一星期內讀畢四部曲，幻想着哪天有一位亦正亦邪而又對自己死心塌地的有錢大帥哥在自己生命出現，平淡的生活好像又添了幾分姿采。
自從 Hardwicke 被飛（或是有其他內情而離開），沒有少女情懷的 Twilight 的電影系已經沒有靈魂，也不再好看，但因「睇戲睇全套」，才勉強捱到電影版的大結局的上半部。
說「捱」並沒有誇大。自問十分喜歡看電影，也極度迷戀 Twilight 故事裡的俊美殭屍角色，但看電影途中我竟如坐針氈，不停的 check email 及 Facebook，理應不該這樣。Breaking Dawn Part I 是Bella 及 Edward 的婚禮，honeymoon 及生孩子，是無數少女所幻想得到的結局，但竟跟浪漫沾不上本點關係，故事推進緩慢，乏味無邊，連 Edward 也不再俊俏。Part II 的故事我也再不敢想像下去。
好端端的一個完整故事，為何不用一套電影而要一分為二作 Part I/ Part II？Breaking Dawn 不是Harry Potter 的 Deathly Hallow，人物角色故事複雜情度差天共地，根本沒有足夠 material 去把故事一分為二，但首次充當監製的作者Meyer ，沒有好好的保護自己的創作不特只，更參與賺到盡行列，寧可多拍一部電影，多賺一部電影的錢，也不惜將自己的作品親手毀掉。觀眾看了不喜歡，感覺受騙，是觀眾自己的事；錢袋落了她自己的荷包，觀眾粉絲要管也管不了。
幸好 Tom Cruise 還不至於如此，Mission Impossible 拍到第四集當然是要賺到盡，但至少 Ghost Protocol 是上乘的荷李活動作電影，而靚佬湯也捨命陪君子，搏到盡親身於世界最高的Burj Khalifa上飛舞。
I know nothing about business, but it appears to me that "maximising profits" has become the golden rule of running a business. Whatever you are selling - food and beverage, newspapers, electricity and even movies, the greater the scope your business is, the more crucial it is to maximise the profits. The most commonly heard explanations from corporations range from guarding shareholders' interests or a surge in production costs. It doesn't matter if workers cannot have a share of the results from the hard work they have contributed over the past year in the form of pay rise or bonus. It does no harm to destroy the legacy built by the past generations either. Whatever you do, as long as the profits can be peaked, you seem to be on the right track. China Light & Power's unreasonable demand for charging more for electricity consumption despite earning a staggering profit is one example. And the other one that I can think of is the first part of the final installment of the Twilight Saga.
Here's my confession: I became obsessed with the painfully gorgeous and unrealistically romantic vampire Edward Cullen after I watched Twilight made its screen debut in 2008. Director Catherine Hardwicke gave her golden touch on Stephenie Meyer's vampire fantasy (which is essentially a piece of chick lit), turning it into a heart-wrenching romance that conquered millions of girls (and girls-at-heart) around the world. Hardwicke seemed to get everything right: the music of Debussy and Muse, the journey of how Bella and Edward found each other and how they survived the crisis in the ending made this seemingly ordinary romance extraordinary.
After watching the film, I finished all four Twilight books within just one week, fantasising one day, a bad-good boy would appear in my life and proclaim his never-ending love for this tired soul. It was a silly fantasy, but the idea really made my lackluster life more hopeful.
But after Hardwicke was dropped after the success of the first installment, Twilight Saga has lost its spirit. The subsequent installments Eclipse and New Moon were rather soulless. But just to keep watching for the sake of watching, like many other Twilight fans, I still made it to the final installment Breaking Dawn - Part I. But sitting through it was a pain in the arse.
I wasn't exaggerating. As a fan of the series, I should've been enjoying every moment of the movie as Bella and Edward have finally come to terms with each other, getting married, going for a romantic honeymoon and making babies - a dream ending that many girls would wish for their reality. But all the way through I kept checking emails and Facebook. There wasn't a slightest connection with romance. The simple plot was extended into a pointless drag. Even Edward didn't look good any more! I couldn't image what would happen to Part II.
Breaking Dawn was supposed to be the great tight ending for this series, but why dragging the story on for no reason and dividing it into two parts? In terms of literary achievements, Breaking Dawn is no where near Deathly Hallow in the Harry Potter series (for which I'm also a fan). The story is so much simpler and simply there isn't enough material to turn Breaking Dawn into a two-part film. But the worse was that Meyer also took up the producer title of Breaking Dawn, and here as the creator of the series, she has committed two HUGE mistakes: not only did she not guard her creation properly, she also took up the golden rule of "maximising profits" by letting the studios to chop one complete story into two for the sake of doubling the box office earnings. If fans feel that they have been betrayed, it's their business. She has already pocketed the money.
I always believe that an author should be ethical. Betraying your creation and those who love what you have created for the nothing but cash is sinful. I don't know exactly what the deal was, but based on what I observed, Meyer was no difference from China Light & Power or any other listed companies - they all shamelessly maximise their profits.
Fortunately, mega star Tom Cruise hasn't downgraded himself to that level. As the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series, profit calculation of course is important to Ghost Protocol, but at least Cruise did not let down those who paid to see the movie. At least it was one fine action thriller with some very stunning action choreography sequences. And Cruise did not betray himself or anyone by performing his own stunts, swinging from some 100th floors of Burj Khalifa.