Movie trilogies are becoming more and more extinct. Every day that goes by, some director in Hollywood appears to have their head chock-full of ideas. Hollywood films are constantly breaking records every year. The movie industry is showing no signs of slowing down. There are constant questions that ponder even the most dedicated Hollywood writers and directors. The one precarious question that I feel is asked now more than ever before is: “Is it conceivable to continue on with this franchise?”
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy movie trilogies. I believe it takes a lot of guts and courage for any director to start with an idea, and continue to branch off of it. It is a very difficult feat to overcome and it all starts with the first film. As long the first film is well received and does extremely well at the box office, then perhaps it may be acceptable to expand into new territory.
Now when I say movie trilogies, I’m specifically referring to films that were not based on novels. If there were three books and three movies, they are exempt from this discussion. So that means The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, the Bourne Identity films, and the Jurassic Park movies, are unfortunately out. This list also does not include remakes such as Evil Dead.
Again, movie trilogies take a lot of heart and soul to create. It is by no means an easy task to overcome. Directors have that sense of focus and usually plan well ahead of time before they begin to even write a script. They want to be confident in their material before moving on to develop their first film.
There are quite a handful of directors who wind up directing all three of their films. Some examples of this are the Wachowski brothers and The Matrix trilogy; Robert Zemeckis and the Back to the Future franchise; Francis Ford Coppola and the Godfather trilogy; George Miller and the Mad Max franchise; Jay Roach and the Austin Powers films; the newer Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas; Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise; and the less familiar Evil Dead franchise by Sam Raimi. Raimi was also the one who wrote and directed the three Spider-Man films starring Tobey Maguire.
Clearly, these directors had a vision. They knew what road they were going to take when establishing their very first movie. However, some of the films came out much later: i.e. The Godfather Part 3. For the most part, the directors had a clear focus and knew what they had to accomplish if they wanted their films to be successful.
Granted, sometimes the director will only make one or two films and then pass the torch onto another director and so on and so forth. Some of these films include the original Star Wars (Lucas only directed the first); James Cameron with Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day; and the new Star Trek movies with J. J. Abram’s leaving the third installment to direct the new Star Wars films.
Obviously, each of these directors had their reasons to leave for better or for worse. However, one cannot overlook the achievement they established with each of their film/s. Occasionally, it may be better for the director to step down and take a back seat for a fresh new perspective on the movie franchise.
Nevertheless, there are those franchises’ in my opinion that did not need to craft a fourth film. The film was either completely unnecessary or was just created to achieve more revenue for the franchise. Sadly, these films must be referred to.
Alien Resurrection is a prime example of a film that was pointless to begin with. Even though Alien3 was not respectable compared to the previous box office hits, it did however appear to conclude the trilogy. It may not have been what the fan’s desired (and I won’t spoil the ending), but it nonetheless finished the story of the main character, Ellen Ripley.
Another prime example is the Indiana Jones franchise. The film I am evidently referring to is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Spielberg, why did you have to let me down? You are my favorite director of all time, and you had to make a fourth Indiana Jones movie? Shame on you! I always want to believe that this film never existed. I understand that this film takes place many years after the events of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but really this film was a disaster. I won’t go into specifics, but it was a major bomb (yes, pun intended).
A third and final example I would like to share is the Toy Story franchise. Once again, another solid “story” that was told throughout the course of three movies. As most of you already know Disney has stated that a fourth film would be in the works. Now I already went into great detail about my opinions on this upcoming movie. If you’d like to read more about my view on this film, please click on this link: https://creamerscinemacraze.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/why-toy-story-4-cant-hurt/.
This one is more difficult for me to speak of. Obviously it has not been completed yet, but I am hoping that Disney is not doing this just for the money. I have faith that the writers won’t let us down. If it is to be made, then so be it. It can’t hurt considering that everyone loves Toys Story but it is very hard to walk away from the third film knowing, that the franchise will persist. The ending could not be more perfect. However, we should give the writers at Disney/Pixar the benefit of the doubt for sure.
Here are some dishonorable movie franchises that made more than three films: Pirates of the Carribean; Transformers; and Tremors.
So what do you guys think? What is your opinion on movie trilogies? Do you feel the same way as I do about trilogies? Were there any I missed? Please comment and share your thoughts!