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]
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.
WINNER: TIE LORD OF THE RINGS AND STAR WARS. Had Rachel never existed, Batman miiiight have made it a three-way tie.
THEIR WORLD AND THE THINGS IN IT:
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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!