Prison Break -The Movie – Episode 1
My goal was to create an action and suspense filled movie about a genius attempt to break out of a maximum security prison.
At first my idea was to make ONE movie out of the entire first season, but this did not work, because too much important plot was involved to make the final escape happen. Characters needed introduction and interaction. Side plots were necessary for the main plot. So I decided to create more than one movie and put in each of them as much as possible to a) create an entertaining, fast paced movie and b) stay true to the show.
It was very difficult to achieve this for several reasons:
the show is heavily scored. If you cut somewhere, you always have to re-arrange or sometimes even create a new score to make it fit to the previous scene. Luckily I own the soundtrack and it sure helped a lot.
a TV show blends in the credits, when the show is running. Several scenes could not be dropped, where the credits are displayed.
TV shows air as episodes, which means that every episode has a beginning and an end, is a complete watching experience. In a movie it feels really strange, if it has an episodic touch. To get a continuity of the plot meant a lot of rearranging and sometimes restructuring of the scenes. I used quite some of the transitions that the show also uses, but a lot less of them.
of all because of the very thrilling and unique way it was told. The show constantly switches between the inside of a maximum security prison, where Michael Scofield tries to break out his brother using incredible wits and a fantastic plan, and the outside world, in which a huge conspiracy about the murdering of the vice president’s brother is revealed.
The fanedit contains the first 7 episodes and tells the story from inside the prison as if it was a movie. To create this not just as a condensed and way too compressed version, the entire conspiracy theme was dropped. I took extra care to find out, what is unnecessary for the flow and what is needed, so the movie can be continued with episode 2 at some day. The mass of changes makes this a rather different watching experience, especially because the episodic feel of the show is gone and many side plots are told differently. This also means, you cannot switch between the movies and the original show.
The timing of the movie is quite different. The TV show switches between inside and outside the prison all the time, which means that there can easily be a lot of jumps between days. In the movie this would have felt choppy, so I tried to add more plot to each day, combine scenes that were actually happening on different days. The result is a much more on the escape focused plot. I also cut a lot of delay features, which were necessary for the episodes, but would have just increased the length of the movie.
I would have loved to get rid of a lot more things, but had to consider the other 15 episodes and all the people involved in the escape. An example for that is the Pugnac scene, which would have been dropped if it wasn’t for C-Note’s appearance.
On a further note I should tell that the scenes I cut are not at all bad. The show is fantastic and a lot of good stuff ended on the cutting room floor for pacing reasons.
- the conspiracy plot is gone. Veronica appears as the attorney in the beginning, but that’s about it. All her investigating is removed, as well as agent Kellerman’s trying to prevent it. All the interactions between Veronica and the prison as well as Kellerman and the prison are gone, as they would have made no sense anymore.
- the governor is removed. Governor Tancredi, father of Sarah, is quite important in the show, since he has the possibility to stop Lincoln Burrow’s execution. But since this never happens and all the interactions between him and Sarah lead nowhere, his part is dropped (at least in Episode 1). This meant especially in the revolt to remove him from interacting, which worked really well. It now seems as if everything was planned the way it went.
- Abruzzi under pressure from the family is gone. Abruzzi had quite a lot of contact with mob members as visitors, who try to enforce him getting information from Michael Scofield. None of that was needed for his motivation.
- Marie Cruz dropped. Yes, Sucre loves his Marie Cruz, but even in the first seven episodes, this side plot is dragging. All I needed for Sucre’s motivation was his cousin telling Sucre that Marie Cruz is now with him. And it works really well.
- LJ Burrows is history. In the movie there is no mentioning that Lincoln has a son at all. LJ’s scenes were not needed for anything to support the plot.
- no cell test. Sucre gets tested for his loyalty by Michael in the show. This is done via a fake cell phone.Unfortunately this entire plot was rather weak and also had a flaw to it, since Sucre suddenly was in P.I., but at that time it would have been very unlikely. When he rejoins the escapees, his appearance in P.I. makes sense. To still have Michael ask Sucre about the escape plan, I had to rearrange a complete scene, split it, so it shows a development. It is short but really works kind of well.
- Haywire and the toothpaste, shortened. The appearance of Haywire was something I would have loved to drop, but since he is one of the escapees later on, it had to be there. I cut as much as possible from these long scenes that did not really support the plot, especially the part about the stolen toothpaste. Michael for sure could have toothpaste on his own and would not need to steal Haywire’s.
- T-Bag’s overacting. Quite a lot T-Bag’s scenes were toned down, because they were just too much. Robert Knepper is a good actor and he is for sure one of the most important characters of the show, but he tends to act a bit too mad at times. His scenes work well in the show, but in the movie, where less time passes between them, they seemed too much.
- Lincoln Burrows assassination, his past and other scenes. Lincoln is of course very important for the show, still his actor’s skills are not always the best. He switches between madman, sadman and slugger. I toned his scenes down, so he is more serious and bitter. The assassination plot is part of the conspiracy and had to go therefore. Several discussions of Lincoln with Pope, with Veronica and LJ were also not necessary for the movie.
- the revolt. The revolt, which is the biggest part of the Episode One movie, is a double episode in the original show. I cut a lot scenes to increase the pacing and remove the episodic feel, especially in the “Sarah locked up at sickbay” scenes, which were just too much. The ones I used were placed in a different order and at different times in the movie.
What a great achievement! I remember liking the first season of Prison Break (twelve years ago...), but this edit is better. Way better. So much fluff removed, yet it's still coherent and, above all, still thrilling! The video quality is what it is, but the editing is almost perfect. Once or twice there is a hard cut, but that's about it and it does not ruin anything. Audio editing is splendidly done, especially considering the re-arranging and the other reasons stated in the info.
CBB manages to create a fun, tight and exciting movie that is narratively reasonable, considering the amount of footage removed. Highly recommended for everyone, particularly those who want to re-visit PB but find the 22 episodes daunting.
I was extremely impressed with this. I've only seen this first part so far, looking forward to watching the other 2 in the near future.
I showed this to friends and family, some had never seen Prison Break as a TV series, some aware this was a fanedit, some under the impression it was a professional movie.
It was enjoyed and appreciate by all types. It worked very well as a movie, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat, not only because of the great editing, but also unsure how you had shaped the story.
There was only 3 areas that felt particularly rough. One, was a very brief out-of-sync issue when they are holding the wallet of the rookie cop.
Two, the brothers meeting. I assume it is because it was a cliff hanger there wasn't enough footage, but they basically talked about meeting, and then suddenly were talking, it was a little hard to accept, but my audience coped ok.
The 3rd issue isn't your fault, the element of time sometimes is a bit strange. It's clearly because when it was a show it wasn't an issue (despite the show supposedly covering a brief amount of time), but when the show was week-to-week it allowed accepting certain things had changed between episodes. An example that jumps out at me is a spoiler: after Schofield's interrogation scene where he loses a toe, within a very short time (5 mins?) he is walking around without any issue. The only time it's even really mentioned again is after Bellick steps on it again.
Also I think the point of time to end part one worked out quite well, although it was very abrupt, again not really your fault, you cant create footage where there is none.
Anyway, again I must say how very impressed I am. I was sucked in pretty quickly, and learned to trust your editing and narrative pretty much straight away. I was just along for the ride, like the rest of my audience. I can't wait for part 2 (but will arrange to watch it with the same audience again in a week or so).
I just wish you could do this for the other 2 tv shows that had good first seasons. Dexter, Lost.
I've had issue finding time to rewatch my favourite shows and with all the episodic cruft, talk myself out of it a lot. So I think this will now be my proffered way to rewatch Prison Break, and hope there are equally good fanedit movies of Dexter and Lost.