TRILOGY TIME PART 2: That good middle part.

Welcome to part 2 of my 3 part examination on trilogies. Hopefully everyone enjoyed part 1 and will find part 2 to be a non-letdown! Haha! Does that mean this post is The Empire Strikes Back or The Dark Knight of the trilogy of posts? Uh probably not....so lower those expectations. Now if you need a refresher and are too lazy to literally scroll down the page to the last post you can just click HERE for part 1. In this post we will discuss side characters, worlds and plots. So let's roll. Thanks Amelia for the first banner and Courtney for the latter two.


THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY: This is another one of the strongest categories for this trilogy. There are many side characters and all of them are very strong and memorable. Appearing in all three films we have Michael Caine's Alfred, Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon. The second film does add characters, but mostly villains, and the third installment adds Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle to the mix as well as Joseph Gordon-Levitt's John Blake. All of these characters are solid, mostly complex and likable....especially my beloved JGL. If he was in all of these films I would have been one happy girl. He makes every film he's in better by being in it. The downside to the Batman side characters? The the two terrible incarnations of Rachel Dawes. No matter the actress, you can't make that character redeemable. Also, let me mention on an unrelated note (because this is not a downside...more of a 50/50)[SPOILERS] Aaron Eckhart was great and Marion Cotillard was a waste, and while they play both side characters and villains, I think I covered them enough in villains. Oh and Liam Neeson was good too. [/spoiler]

TOY STORY TRILOGY: Buzz was mentioned in the last post, but he is a very good #2. There's also Hamm, Potato Head and his wife, Rex, Jesse and a myriad of other toys (and humans...oh and the dog) that float in and out of the trilogy. Seriously...it's kind of endless. All of the characters are likable and funny. We definitely get to know them all. One of the things I loved about this trilogy of toys is that they took regular toys that kids already played with and brought them to life. Barbies and army men already existed but suddenly they were SO much cooler for having been in Toy Story. Not a ton of depth to them minus the leads...but that's kind of to be expected given the genre.

LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY: Okay.....there's a crap ton of side characters here. And because of that fact, it might have to win... (or will it?) It's not even a quality vs. quantity thing where the numbers are just winning....all of these characters are legitimately strong, good and necessary. Quality AND quantity. So I already mentioned Sam in the last post, who I just adore... but he is an amazing character in his own right, and his speeches probably have the most resonance (to me at least) of anything said in the whole trilogy. Then you have the rest of the fellowship: Merry, Pippin, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, Gandalf and Boromir. And then besides the fellowship you have Eowyn, Arwen, Elrond, Faramir, Theoden and Galadriel....to name but a few. Kinf of ridiculous really that all are VERY strong and manage to be incredibly important, I daresay indispensable to the story. SO many leads and hardly any throwaways. Very impressive indeed.

BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY: Christopher Lloyd's Doc is certainly an unforgettable character....maybe even one of the best and most unique in this entire contest. Then you have Crispin Glover's George McFly who gives a hilariously awkward performance. I said it before in some of my first posts on this site, but Crispin's McFly is a very underrated aspect of the first film, and I believe crucial to its success (unfortunately he didn't show up for the sequels). He has a great comic timing in this role that's unusual but delightful and makes a lot of stuff work that probably shouldn't. Leah Thompson is also great as his mother Lorraine. She really knew how to nail the "awkward chemistry," with her... ahem son, and in the hands of a lesser actress this part really could have made the difference to this film NOT being a classic and instead being incredibly creepy (MJF also helped in this area too.) She definitely sells the whole "innocent dumb crush thing" and being a somewhat airheaded, yet likable teen. But you see the problem here? I'm talking about the first movie again...not the trilogy. So let me think...other than that there's not too much to note except for Marty's other family members that keep popping up, be it his own children, his brother, sister or aunt and uncle (when they were children.) Or all the old-timey people in the Old West that happen to be related to him also. Oh and let's not even mention Clara Clayton.

INDIANA JONES TRILOGY: Okay, my brain is a little hazy here too because it has been awhile. But in addition to Indy's love interests who we briefly covered in the last post, we have Sallah, Short Round, Brody and Indy's dad. Quality side characters and just enough for what their films require...but like Back to the Future, probably not enough to be a huge contender. Each side character matches the tone of the films they're in. Almost all provide some sort of comic relief, but some is more...well...comic-y than others. I do believe they each served their purposes well....but aside from maybe Indy's dad, I would say we hardly ever think about the back story of any of these characters or wonder much about them.

STAR WARS TRILOGY: Okay here we go. You knowwww the movie has strong characters when Han Solo is your #2 guy. In addition to Han, Leia is an incredibly strong and admirable character too, and as a trio they are probably the best ever trio in film history (pfft Harry Potter you wish you could be as cool...) But besides them you have a galaxy full of strong side characters that have not only become iconic, but a part of pop culture. Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-wan, and Lando to name a few (those characters are kiiiiind of a big deal.) And like Lord of the Rings, every single extra has a name and a backstory...and all the die-hards even know it. And you gotta love that even those extras take full advantage of their shining moment. "YOU REBEL SCUM!!"

WINNER: TIE LORD OF THE RINGS AND STAR WARS. Had Rachel never existed, Batman miiiight have made it a three-way tie.

Which movie trilogy has the best side characters?
The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Toy Story Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Back To The Future Trilogy
The Indiana Jones Trilogy
The Star Wars Trilogy
I can't choose just one!
Create your own poll

THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY: In the world of Bruce Wayne, there's a lot of crazy cool gadgets and "bat toys." What's great too is how everything in their world is legitimately real. Nolan isn't big on CGI, so if it's in the movie it is most likely an actual prop, vehicle or machine. The batmobile is one of the coolest cars around (though the Delorean probably still has it beat. I mean time travel come on!) and bonus points for it becoming the motorcycle. The "bat" is pretty cool in DKR too. Gotham itself definitely has its own very specific tone as a city and I really like the mood Nolan sets for it. However, It's kind of shame we couldn't see more of the humanity of the city in the third one in how the Bane crisis affected your everyday, average people other than cops...

TOY STORY: Hmm...what's unique about Toy Story? Okay okay, I really gotta make a case for all of these..but...um...some toys that don't exist in the real world? Wait a minute....now they all do because of the movie! Oh okay, here's one: Pizza Planet. That restaurant looks all right. But in all seriousness, the world presented in the movie is everyday, yet with an unknown magic of which we are all unaware. Definitely a great premise for a children's film, and to THEM this world is probably every bit as magical as Middle Earth. If their toys were coming to life ANYTHING is possible and everything is magical.

LORD OF THE RINGS: In the way of objects: all powerful ring, glowy sword (not to be confused with the almighty lightsaber) and a magic crystal ball dealie. I think with Lord of the Rings it's more the WORLD itself that's unique than the objects in it if that makes sense. Middle Earth is a magical place and it's really brought to life wonderfully in these films. From the Shire to Rivendell, Gondor and Mordor...Lord of the Rings definitely has a specific feel to all of it...and it's certainly never dull to look at...definitely a place we mere humans wish we could be transported to I think (during peacetime of course!)

BACK TO THE FUTURE: In addition to the all-powerful Delorean that can transport you to anywhere in time..... Back to the Future offers lots of goodies: hoverboards, hydrated pizza, flying cars, a train time machine, shoes that tie their laces themselves, etc. The vision of the future in BTTF 2 is downright fun and made us all jealous of the fact that we should all be enjoying hoverboards right now. Each time period visited (ESPECIALLY the 1950's) is done very very well and is completely believable (yes even their version of the future haha.) If they didn't completely nail it, we wouldn't have been able to completely buy the concept in the first place. Without a doubt, Back to the Future gets the aspect of time travel the best out of any film I've seen (well at least in the funnest way.)

INDIANA JONES: Giant boulders, whips, mine carts, guns, boats, and a plethora of pests in the form of rats, snakes and bugs. Oh and all the stuff he's after: ark of the covenant, holy grail and the sacred stone thing in Temple of Doom. But it definitely has its own atmosphere and feel to the world that many films try unsuccessfully to duplicate. These films have their own magic that isn't so easy to master...they had all the right ingredients.  

STAR WARS: All I need to say is one word: lightsabers. The lightsaber is the coolest thing in the world and their existence makes for some of the most amazing cinematic moments ever. But besides that we have blasters and the death star itself in the way of weaponry. As far as vehicles go there's the millenium falcon, star destroyers, TIE fighters, X-wings, land and forest speeders, AT-AT's and AT-ST's. And yes I actually know what all of that means. And they're all great :) Oh and then there's all the monsters and creatures too: the garbage compacter one, the wampa, the rancor, the sarlaac pit, taun tauns, banthas, etc. It kind of isn't a fair fight since everyone else has one world up against the several in star wars... The galaxy here was truly limitless in its potential and it is very much its own. As many space movies come and go, NO ONE's space can match George Lucas' lived in world he presented in The Star Wars trilogy.

WINNER: It's Star Wars. Come on.With Back to the Future and Dark Knight close behind.

Which movie trilogy has the coolest world?
Dark Knight Trilogy
Toy Story Trilogy
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Back to the Future Trilogy
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Star Wars Trilogy
I can't choose just one!
Create your own poll


THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY: Billionaire Bruce Wayne takes it upon himself to save the city of Gotham from various psychopaths as well as the mob. It's the same tale we have come to know throughout the years about the caped crusader, but Christopher Nolan sets it in a very real universe...there's nothing comic book-y about it at all. Like I said in the villains category, there isn't a central thread tying them together other than just the idea of a threat in general and that he's constantly trying to protect his city. It works, but it doesn't feel all that trilogy-eque. Kent and I discussed it (of Showtime Showdown) and the thing is the first movie is SO contained and very neat and tidy...because they didn't KNOW if there'd be more. Then comes The Dark Knight, that while it sets things up for a third film...it still doesn't feel like a middle act so much as a SEQUEL. A sequel that even then they had no idea what a hit it would be...so a third wasn't guaranteed. I think it is similar with the Indiana Jones trilogy too...where it's not so much a trilogy as dropping in on the same hero 3 different times during his life. Nothing wrong with it....just a matter of preference. I guess what I'm trying to say that while yes it IS a trilogy, it doesn't always feel like one...I see it more as 3 great films about the same guy. The third film did try to make it feel as trilogy-esque as it could and it certainly tied a nice little bow around the franchise though which I like and give credit to.

TOY STORY TRILOGY: The plot every one of us dreamed of when we were a kid....that when we weren't looking our toys would come to life. So what would happen if THE favorite toy gets a little competition with a new, cooler toy? Or what happens when one of them gets stolen by a crazed toy collector? Or how about when their owner finally outgrows them? The toy story trilogy answers all of these questions and through all 3 gives us a profound look at childhood and how quickly it actually goes. Like Batman, it is doubtful anyone ever thought this would be a trilogy, but somehow it works as Andy's life ties it all together. While the toys never change, HE does...so how they react to that change and roll with the punches made sense....and was actually very natural.

LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY: Now HERE'S a designed and plotted trilogy (yeah I know that's not fair since it was always designed that way..) It is very much like a play with three purposeful, intended acts. And the plot is simple, but oh sooo complex. After all...one does not simply walk into Mordor! Just throw a ring in a lava pit how hard can it be right? Well it's all about temptation and resisting the urge to give into evil. The battle for evil is represented on screen in a myriad of ways: by both the physical and the psychological. There's a lot of depth and symbolism to the story and it shows the complete spectrum of humanity from the absolute highs to the utter lows. Battle of good and evil right before our very eyes. VERY good story.

BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY. As a standalone film.....the plot of the first film is GREAT. As a trilogy... eh... there's always SOME problem that needs fixing and the only solution is a time machine.. So let's just discuss the first one for a minute. Marty McFly is accidentally sent back in time and unknowingly prevents his parents from the course of action that would lead to them actually getting together and thus threatening to have his entire existence erased from the universe!!! Whoa. That's heavy. Great great great story and solid all the way around. Seriously cannot say enough good things about that original film. Sequels plotlines? Not so much. And why? Well, you guessed it...sequels weren't in the plan...they just came with success and they had written themselves into a corner and had to pull a trilogy out of thin air. I mean they were still good and entertaining films that benefited from a great cast and cool ideas so they worked in the end...but the plots never reached the same standard of perfection the first one achieved.

INDIANA JONES TRILOGY. Professor by day, archaeologist  on crazy mystical quests during free time. Like I said with Batman, it really is kind of dropping in on this awesome character during 3 different adventures in his life. Since they are "quest" based the purpose is always defined in each film and we have a clear idea where it's going to go. Maybe it's the fact that every Batman film (though complete with the Nolan touch) each time around has a very different tone and pacing that makes them feel a tiny bit less unified and more unpredictable (to match the different tones of each villain). The thrills in Indiana Jones and sense of adventure is pretty consistent, and there's always nods here and there that connect each other.

STAR WARS TRILOGY. Two concurrent battles going on, the battle for the world..er galaxy and the battle for the individual. See the allegory here? Love it. The juxtaposition of this in Return of the Jedi as we see the Emperor battling both for Luke to fall, and to wipe out ALL of the good in the universe at the same time is pretty powerful. Like Lord of the Rings the story is very much all about good vs. evil and having the strength to overcome it. The coolest part about the story though? Finding out it was really more Vader's story than Luke's. What's most powerful is that in the end, one of the greatest villains IS able to overcome his demons and we see that no one is completely lost...there's always hope. 

WINNER: TIE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY & STAR WARS TRILOGY. My preference is still with Star Wars, but looking at it objectively I do think their stories and how they work as a trilogy are pretty equal and both incredibly compelling.

Which movie trilogy has the best story?
The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Toy Story Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Back to the Future Trilogy
The Indiana Jones Trilogy
The Star Wars Trilogy
I can't pick just one!
Create your own poll
Okay that's all for now, but tune in Friday for discussion on each trilogy's legacy, critical reception and musical score. Only then can we come to a winner. Til next time! In the meantime, take to the comments below to discuss your thoughts on my choices and to declare your own!


Kenny D said...

Even as a hardcore Batman loyalist, I can see where LOTR has its absolute strengths. It just outperforms those space movies in every way. But hey, at least I voted for lightsabers.

Joey said...

But I want a hoverboard!!!!!!!

Emily said...

In EVERY WAY? B please. Haha! I want a lightsaber AND a hoverboard.

StevenHamilton said...

I think series that have more than three films should be removed. The extra Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies ruined my nostalgia for the series. Now I'm really worried about what The Hobbit will do to Lord of the Rings. And it's a dang good thing the batman trilogy is the most recent in an otherwise disastrous movie history.

Emily said...

Steven if we went by that criteria wouldn't Batman be out too? The character has more films than just THAT trilogy? What's the difference? Yes yes different universes I know...but still. And since when do you people think this is a democracy? This blog is a dictatorship and what Emily says rules supreme.

Sarah said...

I 100% agree with you about Back to the Future. The first movie is absolutely flawless. It is exciting, funny, charming, suspenseful, etc. all at once. In a way, I'm kind of glad that they hadn't planned for a trilogy when they made the first film because I don't think the first movie would have turned out as great as it did if they had plans for future films. They might have held back and saved some ideas for the future movies rather than putting their whole heart and soul into it. The second and third movies are definitely entertaining, good movies. But they just aren't the first.

As for the side characters, when you discuss them side-by-side like that, I'm surprised at how this really is an area (for me, at least) where all of the side characters are just awesome. I think that's why all of these trilogies are contenders. So, kudos to the side characters.

As for worlds, I love them all. I would like to visit each of the worlds (though some would make for better vacation destinations than others...live snakes for dinner? No thank you, Temple of Doom).

But I think special mention should be made for Lord of the Rings. It is soooo hard to make a book adaptation. Especially when it is a book that has been beloved by generations. It really was an instant classic. People have imagined the world of The Lord of the Rings for decades. And Peter Jackson and company got it down perfectly. If you've read the books, The Lord of the Rings trilogy perfectly captures Middle Earth.

Sarah said...

Steven, I think The Hobbit is in good hands--even if a single book and the appendices to Lord of the Rings has now been turned into a trilogy (did you guys hear about that?).

Emily, maybe you'll have to do a movie series competition next. But what series would you include? Harry Potter and James Bond come to mind, but I would definitely have to think on it before I came up with more series.

Or you could even do movies that only have one sequel. Go Anne of Green Gables! Ha ha!

Emily said...

I actually will mention the adaptation aspect in the third blog, but should ALSO Star Wars be given a special mention since George Lucas himself came up with the whole galaxy from SCRATCH and made it beloved on his own? Hmmm? haha. Yes yes yes my bias shows far tooooo easily I know.

Movies For Lunch Guys said...

Wow, you sure make it difficult to choose what the greatest trilogy is by breaking it down this way. What sucks is that I love all of these movies but for different reasons so how am I supposed to make a comparison. As far as the story goes, it's LOTR just barely over Star Wars. I say that because the prequels are what made the saga truly about Anakin/Vader in my opinion, but that's arguable.

When it comes to the coolest world, let's give credit where credit is due - to Star Wars without question. Haters are gonna hate Lucas, but the man's a freakin' genius for creating it all. Not to mention that every time he changes something, he rakes in another billion dollars because all of the suckers whine and complain about it but still shell out $$$ for it.

As for side characters, I couldn't choose between LOTR and Star Wars. They are all memorable even if some of the characters in Star Wars only exist for show and the ones in LOTR had a lot more to do with the plot.

-Dan from Movies for Lunch Guys