The Rule of Three

The Three Musketeers. The Three Amigos. The Three Stooges. The Three Wise Men. The Three Blind Mice. Three’s Company. The Powerpuff Girls.

Everything happens in threes. Some good (Rock, Paper, Scissors) and some bad (Diddy Dirty Money). So since I’m a self-proclaimed movie snob, I want to talk about some of my favorite movie trilogies.

Now making a good trilogy isn’t easy (see: The Matrix, The Mummy). Especially with Hollywood’s propensity to make sequels for no other reason than the fact that they know people will pay money to watch it (Saw 23, anyone?). It is a business, after all. So when a trilogy comes out that has a story that not only progresses through three movies but that is coherent in that progression, captivates the audience, and is generally awesome, it should be something to be honored. So here is a list of my favorite movie trilogies…

Star Wars  (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of The Jedi)
This, IMO, is the best trilogy ever conceived in the history of EVER! I may be a tad bit biased since The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie of all time and I love sci-fi, but this is my list so the entire thing is biased anyway. The story, dialogue, character development, special effects, and action are all so well done. I’d KILL to have been in theaters watching The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vadar revealed that he was Luke’s father. It must have been pure chaos. Mass hysteria, looting, and projectile vomiting. It is the quintessential trilogy for all nerds and has had a greater and longer lasting societal impact than arguably any movie ever made. Ironically, George Lucas, the same man behind this great feat is also the one behind what I consider to be one of the WORST trilogies ever made. The Star Wars Prequels. Ugh.

Back To The Future (I, II, III)
A time traveling Delorean. Enough said. This movie is the only reason that anyone even knows what a Delorean is, cause it was a pretty shitty car.  That won’t change the fact that I will pay someone a lot of money to recreate the Delorean from Back To The Future once I get enough money. And for all the cheesy messages and corny dialogue that the movie had, the story was so interesting and skillfully connected between the three movies that it’s a classic in most circles. It also gave us a very valuable lesson: time travel is dangerous. Your mom might end up wanting to do you.

Indiana Jones (Raiders of The Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade)
Now, some people have the opinion that The Temple of Doom holds the trilogy back from being considered great, but I’m not one of those people. Indiana Jones fought the Nazis so please show him some respect. Raiders of The Lost Ark was the best of the bunch (and has one of my favorite scenes of all time!), but the other two movies weren’t too far behind. The Temple of Doom was the weakest of the three, but still entertaining. The Last Crusade, with the help of Sean “Suck It, Trebek!” Connery, brought a great end to the trilogy (The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull doesn’t exist to me).

Die Hard (Die Hard, Die Harder, Die Hard with A Vengeance)
Now, I will admit, this trilogy doesn’t really have a coherent progression through all three movies. The first and third movies are weakly connected and the second one can stand on it’s own. But John McClane is a badass, so I had to add it to the list. I mean, he kills terrorists while barefoot. It’s simply a trilogy with action upon action and a protagonist who is comprised of one part sarcasm, one part asshole, and three parts badass. Yeah, that’s really all there is to it. Moving on…

Lord of The Rings (Fellowship of The Ring, Two Towers, Return of The King)
What made this trilogy so great is that the movies were based on books and, get this, stayed true to the source material. Peter Jackson was able to take the detailed world of J. R. R. Tolkien and make it one of the most visually stunning and wonderfully executed trilogies ever. The mammoth lengths of all the movies (all three movies run a little over 9 hours) is a testiment to how much detail was put into them. Some people find the trilogy boring and that is one of the inherit flaws of making a movie so true to the source material; it makes it harder to generate interest from those who aren’t familiar with it. Regardless, the movies were nominated for a total of 30 Academy Awards and won 17 of them, which is a record for any movie trilogy. The last movie in the trilogy won 11 Acadamy Awards by itself.

The Bourne Trilogy (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum)
This is a trilogy that flies under the radar for most people. I remember when The Bourne Identity first came out. I couldn’t fathom seeing Matt Damon as an action star. It was comical to even think about it. And then I watched the movie. O_O This dude kicked ass. These movies seamlessly flowed together and made for a great mystery/thriller. Did I mention this dude kicks ass? If I remember correctly, he beat someone up using a rolled up magazine….while the other guy had a butcher’s knife.

Dollars Trilogy (A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly)
Now, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never actually seen any of these movies (some movie snob you are smh), but I know that this is regarded as one of the best trilogies ever. Since I’ve never seen it, I can’t give you a breakdown of what made it so great, but I know that Clint Eastwood is in it. So, that’s a good place to start.

Honorable Mentions:
Alien
Terminator
Godfather
Spider-Man

The pattern that all of these honorable mentions meet is that they all have a great first movie, an even better second movie, and a shitty third movie that keeps them out of my best trilogy lists. I mean Godfather and Godfather 2 are regarded by some as the best movies ever, Aliens 2 and Terminator 2 are both huge favorites of mine, and Spider-man 2 was a great sequel to the surprisingly popular Spider-Man. But Alien 3? Terminator 3? Godfather 3? SPIDER-MAN 3??? Good Lord. Just awful. AWE-FULL!

But anyway, what are some of your favorite movie trilogies? Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Be kind, rewind.

-TDA

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16 thoughts on “The Rule of Three

  1. I would have had to add the Mighty Ducks trilogy (with D2 being my top pick of the 3), and also the Ocean’s franchise (11, 12, 13)…

    Mighty Ducks probably had a good 4 years of my childhood wrapped up in it…it made me actually pay attention to hockey, not to mention it made me want to actually play hockey…go figure. And Ocean’s? Some may argue that they sucked, but I personally loved all 3, and could watch them back to back…other than that, great list B!

    • I’d put the Mighty Ducks as an Honorable Mention because the third one sucked. I loved the first two though (the knuckle puck!). And Oceans was a decent trilogy. Definitely entertaining. I haven’t seen it in a minute, but I feel like they got worse with each movie. Might have to take another gander though.

  2. Good post! You covered all of my favorite trilogies. Marty McFly and Indian Jones went hard back in the day. You’ve got to check out the Dollars Trilogy. Out of all of these the Spaghetti Westerns in the Dollars series are my favorites.

    I’ve never seen any of the Godfathers so I can’t speak on them. Aliens and Spidey 2 are in fact the best sequels ever. Terminator 3 was so bad they pretended it didn’t happen on The Sarah Connor Chronicles by skipping ahead in time.

    I wish Tom Hanks and Spielberg would do another WWII miniseries to accompany Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Black GI’s have yet to receive their due so Hanks could do something with that.

    • The Godfather movies are long as hell, but have superb acting and directing. Check it out when you have A LOT of time on your hands.

      I agree with Aliens being one of the best sequels ever and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I believe Terminator 2 belongs in that same category. The great special effects, ethical and moral debates, time-travel, great action, and the huge twist in the beginning with T-800 being a good guy. One of my favs.

      Haven’t seen Band of Brothers or The Pacific, but I’ve heard nothing but great things. Have you seen Miracle at St. Anna? That was a movie about black WWII soldiers. I can’t remember how well that movie was received though.

      • T 2 was awesome! I wish Cameron would take that franchise over again. One of the few bright spots of last years movie was when Arnold made his cameo and John Connor/Bale realized that his worst childhood nightmare was standing in front of him.

        I saw the Miracle at St. Anna. It was okay but the historian/WWII nerd in me picked apart. The book was better. (No seriously.) If someone else made the movie instead of Spike Lee it probably would have been better. He Spike Lee’d the movie. The main characters did well but the Italians were random and we never got a clear explination of who they were because there was little focus on them unless they were interacting with one of the soldiers.

          • The action sequences were good.There was so many odd things about Salvation. I kept thinking Bale was Batman. Common wasn’t needed. How in the hell does a robot the size of a building sneak up on a group of people?

            The half man/half terminator did his thing. He and the cute fighter pilot girl displayed chemistry. (Her teeth were too damn white considering the world had basically ended.) They really should have linked the movie with the TV show to get some cross promotion going but Fox as we know has very little foresight.

          • When in doubt, Common is always needed. I didn’t get the whole ninja robot either, but I suspended my disbelief for that one.

            I was more upset about the recent cancellation (and leaving it on a cliffhanger) of T:SCC and the lack of cross-promotion. Eff a Fox, I gave up on expecting anything from them after that (and Dollhouse). I was still bitter over Arrested Development, which is exactly why they will never dupe me into watching a pilot again.

  3. I can’t help but notice that 3 of these trilogies (and one more soon to be added) have had other sequels/prequels/remakes in the last decade that have “ruined” them in hindsight. You can’t mention Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (or that you’re ignoring it) without mentioning Live Free or Die Hard. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about the 4th Bourne, but I likely won’t count it as part of the franchise. At least with the long-awaited Hobbit, its ties to LoTR doesn’t really effect the trilogy. Personally, even though I love both trilogies, I prefer LoTR to Star Wars.

    Also, I realize your a man and therefore can only add traditionally “manly” movies to this list and all, but having Back to The Future before the Toy Story trilogy is just silly.

    • Yeah, I wanted to keep it to trilogies or just the first 3 movies in a series if I really enjoyed them. Kingdom of The Crystal Skull and Live Free or Die Hard didn’t feel like they really belonged (even though I liked LFDH). I’ll feel the same about the 4th Bourne.

      AH! See, I forgot about Toy Story because I haven’t seen the third one O_O. I’m gonna get to that ASAP. And I didn’t even try to make the list “manly” lol, these are simply the trilogies that I love. I’m sure Toy Story will be up there once I see the last one.

  4. How are you going to forget the Toy Story Trilogy?!?!?!?!?!? The best kids movie trilogy of all time!!

    The Mighty Ducks trilogy is good and most of the trilogies on the list I’ve either never seen all of them or haven’t seen 2/3 but they seem worth checking out.

    Oh yea btw Back to the Future SUCKS (in case you forgot me saying all Christmas week lol)

    • “How are you going to forget the Toy Story Trilogy?!?!?!?!?!? The best kids movie trilogy of all time!!”

      RIGHT?! He totally failed. EVERY SINGLE ONE of them joints were great.

  5. i’m sorry. i’m going to have to go with lord of the rings as the best trilogy of all time. i grew up on the hobbit and lord of the rings novels. the movies were not disappointing. the fact that return of the king is damn near four hours and i didn’t realize how long it was until i left the theater is testimony enough.

    i like the bourne trilogy as well. could never get into star wars though.

    let me think of some more:

    the matrix?
    rambo
    superman
    jurassic park?
    x-men
    pirates of the caribbean?

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