The 33 Greatest Movie Trilogies 27 Sep Some of you plumped for pure three-somes, untinged by inconvenient further sequels; others specified which three films in a series you meant - and, where there's a coherent narrative to back you up, we've allowed it.
So here, without further ado, are the greatest film trios for your enjoyment And on that basis it's hard to surpass Kevin Smith's first three films, a more grounded group than his follow-ons and, in the case of Chasing Amy especially, a near perfect mix of foul mouthery, far too in-depth geek discussions and warm heart. Smith hasn't surpassed Amy yet, but we can only hope he keeps trying to at least equal it.
It just goes to show you don't need fallen angels, chimps or even Rosario Dawson to make a great movie. Mallrats, which didn't deserve the kicking it got on release but is also by far the weakest of the three. Wondering where the letters in the Clerks logo came from? He's only onscreen for 16 minutes, but such is his domination of the film that you'd swear it was two or three times that.
It's no wonder that studios kept trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle, recruiting cinema's best ever villain for a sequel and a prequel there's another prequel, not starring Hopkins and not included here which saw diminishing returns but which still benefitted from that uncanny, barely blinking performance.
So why not settle down with a nice Chianti and enjoy the cannibal holocaust? For perhaps the only time in history, we're going to argue that a Ridley Scott film is weaker than a Brett Ratner one.
Hannibal suffers from the world's worst last act in fairness, hamstrung by the source novel and improving slightly on it whereas Red Dragon is a decent if unexceptional thriller. Through A Glass Darkly charts a family's descent into madness on a remote island.
Winter Light sees a pastor in a spiritual meltdown and might be the grimmest film Bergman ever made and that's saying something. The Silence ticks all the art house boxes, depicting lesbianism, a troupe of dwarves, symbolism and Ingrid Thulin dying of tuberculosis; it was a surprise hit due its explicit for the time rumpy-pumpy scenes.
Each film is marked by eerie settings, minimal dialogue, great Sven Nykvist photography and superb performances from Bergo's stock company. If you're feeling a bit down in the dumps, however, best stick with Glee. Still compelling stuff though. When Kabi Laretei Bergman's wife at the time saw Winter Lights for the first time, she said, "Ingmar, it's a masterpiece. But it's a dreary masterpiece.
Through a Glass Darkly - conquered certainty. Winter Light - penetrated certainty. The Silence - God's silence - the negative imprint. Therefore, they constitute a trilogy. Is that the Keanu Reeves cartoon? Impossible II Mission: Impossible made it clear from the get-go that it was going to keep you on your toes.
And that's something that the series has largely managed since, with a succession of cunning disguises, plans-within-plans and daring heists unfolding in a way that may dizzy the logic but keeps the entertainment centres of the brain hopping. The second film suffered some setbacks, but JJ Abrams' third effort marked a return to form and some of the most intricate scheming yet.
We're still not sure it's possible to make silicone masks that convincing though. Impossible II, which takes the whole people-peeling-off-their-faces thing to ridiculous levels, and definitely places style and floppy hair over substance. At one point, Kenneth Branagh was set to be the bad guy in Mission: Quite Difficult though, isn't it? Because he keeps managing it. Romero loosed a plague upon the world.
Before his salvo, there was essentially no such thing as a zombie - certainly nothing in the mainstream, apt to spawn survival guides and HBO shows and twists on Jane Austen. But such was the power of the ultra low-budget Night of the Living Dead and its equally scathing, satirical sequels, that the zombie became the cultural powerhouse we all know and love. While the three zombie follow-ups Romero's made since have met with mixed receptions, there's no question that these three will gnaw their way into your brain and stay there.
Well, parts four, five and six actually; the original three are all rather brilliant. But if we have to choose, we'll say Day, which has suffered more than the other two from the endless imitations.
Need some fake blood for your black-and-white genre-creating zombie movie? Why, just buy some stocks of Bosco Chocolate Syrup! They're multiplying too rapidly! Like Evil Dead, the second film is more or less a remake of the first, and the moment when the series really hits its stride, but all three of them are stylish and improbably entertaining, what with the two-handed gunfights and the Mexican stand-offs of course and the thousands of squibs popping on every side.
It'll make you want to learn guitar, and then want to carve out the middle of the guitar and hide a couple of machine guns in there. The finale, which pays for its star power in narrative coherence and originality. The villain in the third film and the Chihuahua in the third are both called Moco, which means boogers in colloquial Spanish. What's nice is that the Swedes got a head-start on this, finishing their film trilogy while the English-speaking world was still waiting for the translation of the third book - and it's currently quite hard to imagine how David Fincher's film can measure up.
The first film is the best of these, but filmed back-to-back and with exceptional unity of style, they've set a very high bar for future adaptations of the series. Perhaps The Girl Who Played With Fire, which doesn't quite have the impact of the first film or the nicely rounded ending of the third. But they're all at least decent. Dolph Lundgren was offered the part of German giant Ronald Niederman, and had he taken it it would have been his first role in his native Sweden.
From the moment that Wesley Snipes growled his way onscreen and dusted a room full of clubbing bloodsuckers, it was clear that this was a strong, silent vampire slayer we could believe in. Originally paired only with Kris Kristofferson's equally gruff tech-guy, the series opened out to include del Toro's "Blood Pack" in the second film and the third film's Nightstalkers - which, it's fair to say, had mixed results. Still, the series always gave us imaginative vampire kills we particularly like that UV bow and Snipes was born to play the Daywalker.
By several country miles, Blade: With the exception of Ryan Reynolds' delivery of one of cinema's greatest all-time insults, it has very little to recommend it. Oliver Hirschbiegel was at one point in line to direct Blade: Trinity, but left to make Downfall instead when that came together. YouTube parodies or not, that's what we call a win. The Mighty Ducks D3: You were kidding, right? Or maybe it's just the nostalgia of a certain generation kicking in, or the fact that many people brought up on Dawson's Creek will forever love Pacey, or "Charlie Conway" as Joshua Jackson was known here.
Let's just take a moment and think about that - or, even better, let's not. And then let's draw a veil over this entire affair. It's hard to say, but D3 is generally regarded as the weakest, what with its been-done snob team vs. Like, OMG, Charlie in the movie says he is allergic to nuts because - get this! Wanna book our rooms now? Mike Myers dual performance may have paled from over-familiarity and a million pub mimics, but looked at with fresh eyes they're still genius.
As the series wore on, however, it became crystal clear that it was Dr Evil who was the real star of the show, stealing most of the films along with his inspired pantheon of henchmen and hangers on chief among them Scott Evil and Mini-Me; least among them Fat Bastard, an unfunny one-note effort.
Last we heard, Myers was talking about a Dr Evil-focused fourth film; we can only hope. Goldmember, where the smuttiness finally battled the cleverness into submission. The combination of the admittedly ace and star-studded opening number with Spielberg, Cruise, Paltrow and Spacey and Michael Caine almost saved the day, but couldn't quite make it.
That doesn't feel old to you? The sequel amps up the action and feels a little like a do-over as is practically the law for sequels to mega low-budget originals , while number three goes all large-scale and Hollywood - but also gives us Tina Turner as a sort of super-violent ringmaster and the theme song We Don't Need Another Hero, so what it loses in isolation and nihilism, it gains in glamour.
The fact that the trilogy also gave us Mel Gibson may account for its current position outside the top Depends on your tastes, really. Beyond Thunderdome usually comes in for the most schtick, but that's more because it feels bigger and broader than the other two rather than down to a lack of quality. In the first film, Max himself was the only cast member to wear real leather.
The rest had to make do with vinyl. I understand your pain. Throw another shrimp on the barbie! But what makes it unique is the even-handed way that both characters are portrayed, and the compassion the film shows for the impossible situation in which each finds himself.
The follow-ups, one a prequel and one a flashback-filled expansion on the original, expand on that theme but lack the simple elegance of the first film's structure. There's a little back-and-forth between the second and third films, but conventional wisdom has it that the second is just a smidge superior. Perhaps that's because the third film's tricksy time-jumping between past and present makes it overly complicated.
The first film's psychiatrist is called Lee Sum Yee, which sounds very like the Cantonese for "your psychiatrist". Terminator The Terminator Terminator 2: Judgment Day Terminator 3: Without it, we might never have known about the current Governor of California, for it was this film that broke Arnold Schwarzenegger and introduced us all to the Austrian Oak. It also gave us James Cameron, a man who's made by far the highest grossing film in the world - twice.
And it was, y'know, actually a good film to boot. You can get into a lengthy pub debate over the merits of the stripped-down original versus its bombastic successor, with Arnie reprogrammed as a good guy and Robert Patrick the new Most Sinister Thing Ever, but T2 is inarguably one of the slickest, most effective action thrillers the world has ever seen. And the belated threequel, Rise of the Machines, may not quite stand on the same level, but it's a respectable attempt.
That'd be Rise of the Machines, which is OK but further messes with the timeline, and really misses Linda Hamilton's steely presence. I mean, if he's only born because he sends his own father back in time, he can't possibly change that future.
The second film, however, delivered both human drama and mutant mayhem in adamantium buckets, showing just what director and cast were capable of, and all looked rosy for the future. But then Singer went AWOL to hang out with Superman, the studio decided to introduce a couple of dozen new characters and it all went a bit wrong in the still OK third film.