Friday, July 06, 2012

Too Many Trilogies?

I just found out that The Amazing Spider Man is going to be made into a trilogy. This doesn't surprise me. The self-contained, one time only movie is a relic. If a trilogy isn't a part of the original conversation then you should be worried as a filmmaker. True, the stand-alones are still made, but they mostly fall into either one of two categories: suck or success. If there was a third category it be called forgotten. Especially with comic movies, it's trilogy of bust.

I'm not a hater of this idea. I like a good trilogy as much as the next person, I just want to see them done well. What I really like, though, is a good story, which is why Star Wars (the original three), The Lord of the Rings, The Bourne films, Harry Potter, and The Millenium Trilogy are good trilogies to me. They are good stories. Each film builds into the next as a large overarching story unfolds. The Lord of the Rings, I think, did it best. It's like watching a fourteen hour long movie and yet you can do it in three parts. You get enough resolution along the way so that you don't feel like you have to watch them all in a row every time, but you get really to know the characters, watch them develop, and live long enough in another world that you feel at home there. That's pretty powerful. There's a whole thing out there about how "we" as a culture have lost our ability to stay focused on one thing for a long time, thus, we don't write long novels or sit down to long films, generally speaking. Two hundred pages or ninety minutes is about all we got. Of course, Twilight and Harry Potter are the exceptions, or romance novels, but then there's a whole other thing going on there.

A trilogy, to me, is a long story. Most so-called trilogies are really just collections of films revolving around the same character without an overarching storyline. That's fine. I like those too: Sherlock Holmes, Mission Impossible, Die Hard, Indiana Jones, Toy Story (yes, I don't think it's a trilogy), and Back to the Future. I suppose I want the distinction because I really like a good story and I don't want people to be confused or unaware that there is a difference. Stand-alone's are fine but putting three of them together and calling it a trilogy doesn't mean that it's one story. I think there is and I think film has the ability to help us see just what exactly is the power of a good story, one that sucks you in as it gives shape and form to a whole other reality. I'd actually like to see people sitting down to write more trilogies, an eight to nine hour imaginative saga. How awesome is it going to be when The Dark Tower series comes to film!

I'm sort of ranting, mostly at the how flippantly studios throw around the world trilogy simply because we think that makes it better. We have to be smarter as film-goers. If the first movie was decent but not great and there's a second one on the way, wait until it comes out at Redbox, or borrow it from a friend. All they want is our money and we get tricked into thinking that a trilogy means it's better, with question.

Someone could probably argue the other way about trilogy and that's fine. I mostly want to see people go all the way with trilogy. Leave us hanging a bit after the first and second films for the grand conclusion. It's better that way.

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