Trilogies- A worthwhile trend? Or Hollywood’s latest moneymaking gimmick?
X-men, Shrek, The Oceans, Jason Bourne and of course the original Lord of The Rings. These are just a few of the many great film trilogies which have come into our lives over past two decades.
Trilogies have been popular since the 1970’s but have really made their mark over the past two decades. There is a problem with that though, now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good trilogy. I mean, who doesn’t want to see their favourite characters return to save the day again and again? The problem however, is that Hollywood, in their eternal quest for fame and fortune, have gone too far. This brings us to the purpose of this article.
Let’s take a look at one the favourites. Lord of The Rings. The Fellowship of the Ring-The Two Towers-The Return of The King. These three movies will always be a part of fond childhood memories, of those late night marathons in a quest to stay awake long enough to watch Frodo make his way back to the Shire after “simply walking into Mordor”. These movies were detailed in such a way that they truly reflected the wonderful books they were based off. One movie per book. That was how it was done. The directors introduce us to characters we adore, worlds we’d give anything to visit and stories that give us an insatiable intolerance for anyone who dares to speak at any focal point.
This brings us to the first and most common issue. A blatant lack of consistency. The layout often follows a particular formula. There is this magical brilliance which takes the form of the first film. A film so enjoyable that it creates a path to sequels. And so a second film is produced. However, some of that magic is lost. Partly because it’s a movie sitting in the shadow of a great predecessor and partly because it’s a different story but with the exact same quirks and peculiarities that made us fall in love with the first film. It’s a problem when we have a single main character that the story is focused on entirely and doesn’t deviate.
When the second movie comes out….it’s all the same. The same layout, the same characters and the same quirks. We get to see the same characters producing the same reactions to somewhat different situations. Now you’d think, hmmm…second movie didn’t turn out too well so we should cut our losses…but no. There must be a final instalment, a redeeming factor to soothe the director’s ego and fill some wallets.
Continuing with the LOTR example. Let us have a look at the next issues. Content: The original trilogy had at its minimum well over a thousand pages to draw inspiration from. Resulting in a total run time of around 680 minutes. The Hobbit is but a single three hundred and seventeen page story. Yet we see over 320 minutes of runtime between the two Hobbit movies currently available. While the Hobbit is a fantastic book written in Tolkien’s extensively detailed style, at best there is enough content for a duology. Even taking into account the fact that these films take place in a timeline prior to the original trilogy, the background of the LOTR universe has already been laid out. Three films is one too many given the amount of content .
Now, moving away from the books slightly, we get to the final problem with modern day trilogies. The follow up cast: All too often a film will have a cast for the first film. Then with the release of the second film we notice that the main character’s lover has magically transformed into a completely different person. It makes me wonder just how highly movie directors think of their audiences. Of course the thing to note is trilogies are not the only franchises which suffer from this issue. Any film which has even one sequel can be subject to this issue. I sat and wondered whether or not I was watching the same film when Cuba Gooding Jr. walked in as opposed Eddie Murphy. Not that Daddy Day Camp wasn’t a decent film or Cuba Gooding isn’t a worthy actor. It’s just that you don’t buy tickets to go see David Copperfield and instead get an America’s got Talent Finalist magician. The finalist is bound to be pretty good but let’s be honest, he’s no David Copperfield.
Personally, I’d rather watch an epic full length cover to cover movie as opposed to three substandard movies based the hollywood trilogy franchise. What do you think? Should Hollywood continue to make famous novels into trilogies? Or should they make a great epic film and leave it at that?