All of this celebrating of Edgar Wright’s thematic and stylistic trilogy got us thinking again. And then talking again. And a hearty discussion ensued regarding trilogies. They’re such a prominent fixture in the film canon that it’s difficult to come to any consensus on what makes a good trilogy, let alone to determine what is the best trilogy. So below, we take turns discussing some of our favorite trilogies, starting off with…you guessed it.
Travis Losh: Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy
The Cornetto Trilogy is the best thing to happen to the world since beer was invented. Each of these movies pays homage to their respective genres while establishing a comedic form that is unrivaled. The entire series is chalk full of hilarious cameos: Peter Jackson, Cate Blanchett, and Chris Martin. But even those explosive presences aren’t enough to make us forget about the effectiveness of the duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Wright’s unique camera work, along with the perfectly paced dialogue penned by Wright and Pegg, creates an ultra-fun atmosphere. Wright calls on his love of films and then gives attention to every minor detail. I can’t say enough about these films (obviously, none of us can say enough). But, what I can say is, thank you, Edgar Wright.
Sean W. Fallon: The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Dark Knight trilogy is very similar to the Star Wars trilogy (there is only one Star Wars trilogy). Batman Begins, like New Hope, could be a standalone adventure. It puts the pieces in place and introduces characters, settings, stakes, etc. and can be watched by itself and thoroughly enjoyed. Dark Knight is Empire. A game changer. A sequel that advances its predecessor with heightened stakes and a shocking ending. Rises is Jedi. Entertaining, if a bit shaky, it still caps the trilogy off in a satisfying way.
It’s a awesome thing as a devout Batman fan to have these three films that hang together so well with no duff notes (cough Spiderman 3 cough). They have great writing/acting/directing and are also respectful to the source material. Plus, I could watch Heath Ledger’s Joker all day every day.
Beth Reynolds: The Original Star Wars Trilogy
There’s nothing quite like the original, and there never will be. The Star Wars universe has been revamped, embellished, and watered down so much over the years that at this point it’s nearly unrecognizable, but nothing can dilute the quality and influence of the original trilogy. Star Wars has influenced not only every space movie made since, but also every single trilogy. Star Wars embodies the concept of telling an engaging story with a solid beginning, middle, and end. The Empire Strikes Back has set the standard which all sequels of every genre will forever be compared to, and it continues to stand the test of time as one of greatest films every made. This series is timeless. This is the box set you save to show your kids when you want them to understand the magic of movies.
Josh Rosenfield: The Three Colors Trilogy
Narrative trilogies are nice, and I’m a sucker for thematic trilogies (maybe that’s why I love Lars Von Trier so much), but you know what’s better than either of them? The two of them put together, of course! Director Krzysztof Kieślowski’s final work, the Three Colors trilogy tells the stories of three different people (a depressed widow in Blue, a divorced expatriate in White, and a compassionate model in Red) whose thematic and narrative connections are slowly revealed over the course of the films. Each film is visually distinctive, and the ties between the stories are very subtle, but once you’ve finished watching them it’s hard to imagine them as anything other than parts of a whole. Kieślowski constantly defies expectations, and refuses to let his trilogy be pinned down. Though ostensibly a trilogy about French ideals (the titular three colors representing both the colors of the French flag and the three ideals of the French Revolution: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity), only the first film takes place in France. Say what you will about Three Colors, but it’s never obvious and always entertaining.
Diego Crespo: Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Contrary to popular belief, there have been quite a few trilogies worthy of the “Best” title. Many point to Star Wars as the definitive trilogy. Few movies in general have captured the spirit of rousing adventure that not one, but three Star Wars films have presented. But what about the heartwarming adventures of Woody and friends in the Toy Story trilogy? The legend of Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy? Or the thematic perfection that is Cornetto? For me, it all comes down to the tale of one brave little hobbit. What Peter Jackson was able to accomplish with this trilogy is nothing short of an achievement in cinematic history. Maybe I just relate due to my short stature, but the idea that one person can change the course of the world, no matter their size, has resonated with me for over a decade since the films release. From Howard Shore’s beautifully composed orchestra humming along the shores of Gondor to the epic action on the walls of Helm’s Deep, this trilogy encapsulates everything I love about movies. And nothing turns me into a giant crying baby like Sam’s speech at the end of The Two Towers. Thank you, Peter Jackson.
Sara Grasberg (Redhead At The Movies): Raimi’s Evil Dead Trilogy
J.S. Shreve: The Before Trilogy
Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight combine to form a trilogy capturing a relationship from start to finish over eighteen years. Jesse and Celine meet as young lovers in Sunrise, reunite after nine years in Sunset, and deal with relationship issues nine years later in Midnight. Linklater did not intend to create a trilogy when Sunrise released in 1995, but what he ended up with eighteen years later is the most complete and honest chronicle of a relationship captured on film.
Grace Porter: Toy Story Trilogy
When the first Toy Story film was released in 1995, the buzz surrounded its technological undertaking; it was the first feature length film to be completely computer animated. Quickly, though, it was clear that Pixar was on to something much more. They managed to achieve an instant childhood classic that appealed equally to adults. Toy Story took on difficult yet relatable issues like abandonment, pride, and jealousy–by using lovable, flawed heroes–all while managing to steer clear of the heavy-handed, life-lesson-shoving nature of most children’s films. The films manage to accomplish something most trilogies can’t: they are good enough to stand alone. Most worthwhile trilogies suffer at least one flub, one film that that’s glossed over in its case for trilogy greatness, but each Toy Story film is as Great as the last. It ranks as not only one of the most popular trilogies, but also one of the (if not the) most critically acclaimed movie trilogies of all time. No trilogy ends more elegantly, beautifully, or perfectly than Toy Story.
David Shreve: The Mighty Ducks Trilogy
We’re talking favorites, right? Not best. I couldn’t sincerely say that I have enjoyed any trilogy in my teen or adult life as much as I loved watching The Mighty Ducks when I was a kid. To be fair, I haven’t seen any of the movies since, and I don’t want to. I don’t want to be embarrassed by any film that was once one of my favorites, even if it was one of my favorites before puberty (learned that lesson the hard way thanks to Space Jam). I remember enough. The ducks always beat bigger, badass teams, the refs always turned their damned heads, but nothing beats teamwork. And nothing beats Bombay, the Bash Brothers, and the flying V formation (which I’ve yet to see employed successfully in the NHL). It’s all unreasonable, for sure, but it was enough to get me away from the TV and out of the house long enough to skin my knees to shred learning how to skate. And I mean, come on, we can’t pick the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy twice…Can we?