THN’s Top 5 Greatest Movie Trilogies

To distract us from the hideous excitement surrounding THE DARK KNIGHT RISES DVD and Blu-ray release on Monday we thought we’d take a look at cinema’s greatest threesomes. Don’t worry there isn’t a KEN PARK, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, or RITA, SUE, AND BOB TOO in sight, this list is clean and innocent.

5. BACK TO THE FUTURE

BACK TO THE FUTURE. Wow, what a series of movies. The first film in the franchise was released in 1985, and the two sequels, one which would take us to the future, and the other way back into the past, appeared one after the other in 1989 and 1990 respectively. The trilogy, in clichéd terms was one that pretty much defined a generation, and if you, like me were just a little bit young to enjoy the original STAR WARS trilogy on the silver screen, then BTTF was the series you remember from growing up. It hit people my age at the right time, and we all wanted to be Marty McFly and go off travelling to the future and indeed the past to create our own adventures and stories, though hopefully one which didn’t result in us  knocking off our mother. The great thing about the films is that their potential was vast, and while the last two films didn’t quite live up to the genius of the first, they engaged, delighted and left you wanting much more. They gave impressionable boys their first piece of movie time travel with colourful characters, complex plots and huge twists and remain what many other trilogies are not in this modern day, timeless.


4. STAR WARS ORIGINAL (1977 – 83)

Doth my eyes deceive me I hear you call. Number four for three generation defining classics? Yes, and here is why. The peak of STAR WARS is EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: multi-layered, horribly acted, and nice to look at, it set a mark that won’t be met anytime soon (even 2015). Either side are A NEW HOPE and RETURN OF THE JEDI, both great movies, but heavily flawed. STAR WARS makes the list for nostalgic purposes, many have lot of good memories watching STAR WARS as kids/young adults, but anyone who says they are better than our top three will be sent to Sid’s room because next we’re off to…..

 

 

 

 

3. TOY STORY (1995 – 2010)

1995 was an ok year for film. SEVEN, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, and GOLDENEYE appeared, but none made more of an impact than TOY STORY from Pixar. The first feature length completely computer generated movie it set the bar high, high enough that few films have ever reached it, let alone surpassed it like sequels TOY STORY 2 and 3. The appeal of TOY STORY is timeless; everyone can relate be it as a child, a teenager thinking back to more innocent days, or a parent seeing themselves in Andy. Helped by an incredible voice cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, Jim Varney et al. TOY STORY is the perfect family trilogy, but not our greatest. Next stop Middle Earth….

 

 

 

 

2. LORD OF THE RINGS (2001 – 2003)

Faithful, innovative, and damn impressive can be levelled at Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY. There has been a certain amount of consumer milking as regard home entertainment releases, but don’t let that detract from three of the most beautiful, lovingly-crafted pieces of work imaginable. Frodo and his mates Sam, Merry, and Pippin set off for Mordor to destroy the one ring to rule them all; their journeys entail talking trees, dwarfs, wizards, and orcs by the bucketload. Howard Shore’s majestic score deserves special mention for it’s ability to turn the darkest moment into a smile.

1. THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY (2005 – 2012)

Where to start: reinvented superhero movies, gave us the most memorable performance in years (Heath Ledger), and kept us glued to cinema seats to the tune of nearly $2.4 billion. Why is it number one? Behind all the explosions, the suits, the policemen, the panoramic views is story. THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY is the story of Bruce Wayne, not Batman, not any of his adversaries, not Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), Bruce Wayne. In a time when most filmmakers struggle to hold a story together for 30 minutes, Christopher Nolan manages it for three films with barely a fault on screen. For that alone it deserves our coveted number one, and did nothing to quell our excitment. Perhaps this will help.

One that didn’t make it.

BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE (2000 – 2011)

Martin Lawrence isn’t funny, but what is apparently funny is dressing him up as a fat lady… three times. Words fail me as I recall watching BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE on TV in 2001: tired, boring, and so unfunny it hurt, it is a wonder anybody paid to see the subsequent sequels. A stain on this glorious list, but a necessary lesson for those who think all good things come in threes.

 

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is released on DVD and Blu-ray Monday 3rd December and is reviewed here.

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Sam is a bloody lovely lad born and raised in Bristol (he’s still there and can’t escape). Favourite films include THE LOST BOYS, DRIVE, FIGHT CLUB and COMMANDO, well pretty much any 1980s Arnie film you can throw his way…even RED SONJA. Sam once cancelled a Total Film subscription after they slagged off Teen Wolf. He resubscribed 2 days later.

6 Comments

  1. Shatnerswig

    December 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Really ? Nolan’s Batman as the greatest film trilogy.I think you may have the word newest and greatest confused.

  2. ???????????????????

    December 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    What about, oh, I don’t know…THE GODFATHER?!?!

  3. Ranch

    December 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I do admire that you chose trilogies that were actual trilogies and not just three films made by the same director (Ingmar Bergman), though Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours Trilogy offers a strong argument. Also, for the most part you chose trilogies that were made with a beginning, middle and end and not just three films in a franchise (Mission Impossible, Austin Powers, X-men, Naked Gun), however The Dark Knight is a franchise and with The Dark Knight 4 should be removed. Indiana Jones misses the cut for being a franchise with a 4th film, otherwise we could include Sean Connery’s first three Bond films, and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky I thru III (which at least had a beginning, middle and an end – one could make a case that Rocky IV, V and Rocky Balboa was a separate trilogy of Rocky’s post-professional fighter life). Finally, I am happy you didn’t bow to adolescent violent tripe (George A. Romero’s Dead Trilogy, Robert Rodriquez’ Mariachi Trilogy, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Trilogy). If I were to dump another of your choices besides The Dark Knight it would be Lord of the Rings since it was basically one long (too long) movie split up into three parts and unlike the other choices none of the individual parts stood up on their own. My replacement would be Terminator 1 – 3 for the aforementioned reasons — yes, Terminator 4 gets in the way but this is the exception to the rule since it didn’t star Arnold. In response to someone’s comment about The Godfather Trilogy, the first two films were Academy Award winning classics while the third was generally panned, consider it a contender until it stumbled before the finish line. By the way, my favorite and most satisfying trilogy for reasons mentioned is Toy Story with a 3rd film that really tied everything together.

  4. brent

    April 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    you say Empire strikes back is horribly acted yet you consider Big Mommas House for the top 5… I’m confused, you make 0 sense

  5. Media Mania

    June 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I say LORD OF THE RINGS should be #1 hands down!!!

  6. Sam Carey

    June 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Big Momma’s House was one that didn’t make it. Not by a long way, it was included to counteract the praise lavished on the other five.

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