Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Top Trilogies

Here's the next top movies list: my top trilogies. Some of these trilogies will be familiar; others might be a bit more obscure. Hopefully there's some great movies here you'll recognize, and other greats you'll want to check out!

To qualify the movie must meet my basic movie criteria: creativity, story, insightful, and personal motives (to see a more comprehensive definition, click
here). For specific "trilogy criteria," there has to be at least three (3) movies in the series of films. At least two-thirds (2/3) of the films in the trilogy must be considered "quality" movies. So here we go!

The Lord of the Rings
(The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King) This three-year series is based on the J.R.R. Tolkien epic of the same name. These films are absolutely stunning in their cinematography. These films set new standard for set design, costumes, and special effects. The character of Smeagol is a top example of computer technology (as well as the consuming power of greed and sin). The spiritual metaphors and allegory of the story are also powerful themes--the conflict between good and evil, questions of morality, the power of friendship, the value of diversity, etc. Tolkien would probably be proud.

The Godfather
(Part One, Part Two, Part Three) The first--and only--series to win Best Picture Academy Awards for Parts One and Two, The Godfather trilogy tells a powerful story of the rise and fall of the Corleone family. While Part Three doesn't compare to it's predecessors, this might be one of the only examples where the sequel (Part Two) is better than the original. I really enjoyed the acting, the story-telling, and the dynamic characters. However, this is definitely not a trilogy for kids.

The Bourne series
(The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) Matt Damon leads some of the coolest actions sequences ever in these films. I would actually put Bourne Identity up there as one of my favorite movies ever. As action movies, these are amazing: they have excellent story environments with a complex plot-line, some of the most "realistic" fight scenes and car chases, and with each movie having a PG-13 rating, there's nothing sketchy. Jason Bourne's character is amazing as he wakes up without a memory and tries to figure out who he is before the CIA takes him out. Very cool series.

Indiana Jones
(Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade, upcoming fourth film?) In the 1930s, an adventurer seeks to uncover lost treasures while fighting Nazis, avoiding snakes, saving the girl, swinging from his trusty whip, and making sarcastic comments...all while wearing his sweet signature hat. It's hard to say which of the three films is the best (I personally like Raiders of the Lost Ark), but all of them rock. There's been talk of a fourth Indy film in the works for a long time, but if you click the link, it looks like it's really happening!

Three Colors Trilogy
(Blue, White, Red) These foreign films were written and directed by Polish film-maker Krzyztof Kieslowski. Each film follows different characters who deal with the deep concepts of morality, identity, and human relationships. I recently watched all three, and while the films are emotionally heavy and slow-paced, they are spiritually enlightening. These films have some of the most complex symbolism and characters I have ever seen on film. While each film follows different characters with different plot lines in multiple countries and languages, their story is through relationship and coincidence. (Note: these films are definitely not for younger audiences)

Star Wars
(A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) There is a strong possibility that Star Wars will appear on most--if not all--my top movie lists (unless I do a "top movies that never refer to Star Wars" list). While I am still unimpressed by the more recent episodes, these originals are classics. This is another example where the sequel (Empire Strikes Back) might be better than the original.

El Mariachi
(El Mariachi, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) This is where now-infamous director Robert Rodriguez got his start. The films follow an ex-mariachi guitarist who finds a guitar case full of guns and unwittingly becomes a hitman seeking revenge. El Mariachi is an extremely low-budget (entire cost around $7000) action film set in Mexico. Most of "actors" in the film are random Mexican bystanders given lines to say by Rodriguez. Desperado is the Hollywood sequel, and is a pretty sweet action movie. The final movie, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, is definitely nowhere near as innovative and exciting as the first two films. But it does have Johnny Depp spitting out sarcasm, so it's almost worthwhile.

(The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) The governor of California got his fame from the first of this trilogy by playing a stone-cold robot killer. The first film is very creepy and dark, and set a new standard for special effects; the second film is one of the greatest action movies ever made, also with some incredibly innovative special effects; the third one is only cool because Arnold is still ripped out of his mind at age 55. "I'll be back..."

Spiderman (Spiderman 1, Spiderman 2, Spiderman 3) Spiderman rocks. Enough said.

X-Men (X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand) While the final movie was disappointing for me, I really enjoyed the first two movies as stand-out comic book films. This is where the 2/3 rule comes into play! Hugh Jackman is perfect as Wolverine.

Runner-ups: Pirates of the Caribbean, Mad Max, Back to the Future, The Matrix, Blade, Die Hard, Shrek, Rocky, The Land Before Time (there are 12 of these now!)

Trilogies that were better off
as just the original: Jaws, Beverly Hills Cop, Saw, Scream, The Mighty Ducks

Trilogies that should
never have been made in the first place: Scary Movie, Look Who's Talking, and any of the Halloween , Jason, Chucky, or Freddy Krueger movies

Did I miss any of your favorite trilogies? Let me know what you like/don't like by leaving a comment below!


  1. Ah! You're making movie lists faster than I can catch up! I agree with you for the most part on your picks. I would leave the Bourne series out because they aren't films that I can watch over and over again, but I understand your reasoning for liking them. I've never seen the Three Colors trilogy. I'd have to add The Matrix because I love watching all three of them even though they weren't as fresh as the first one. And Die Hard, because I love 1, 3, and 4. Good list.

  2. Cam-
    I have lots of free time and lots of movies on my mind, so making lists of great movies takes up lots of my time. I would highly recommend the Three Colors trilogy for anyone who appreciates symbolism and depth in film. They are slow-paced, but worth watching. And I would agree about the Die Hard movies: the first Die Hard is one of my favorite action films. But Die Hard 2 was so bad, and Die Hard 3 only mediocre, that it just didn't cut it for me.

    Glad you appreciate the lists! Let me know if you have any requests for future lists!

  3. I was thinking about other lists, but they're all so easy. Then one genre dawned on me... musicals. I am not a fan of musicals at all, but I think I'd be able to make a top ten list.

    BTW, I am 4/5 of the way done with my sci-fi films blog. I had to do Top 20 instead of Top 10 because there are just too many good flicks that fall into the genre. It should be up tonight or this weekend, so long as Bethany doesn't not go into labor again. =P

  4. Cam-
    Musicals will definitely be a future list! I'm excited to check out your top sci-fi movies.

  5. After talking with my friend Brian about trilogies, I definitely forgot a great/silly one: Tremors. The first one has Kevin Bacon running from giant sand worms. It doesn't get much more weird than that.