Friday, November 11, 2011

Three is a Trilogy, Sometimes

I railed in an earlier post about Trilogies that just forgot to stop at the number THREE. A series like Song of Ice and Fire or The Sword of Truth.
Some things seem to be trilogies, but they aren't. Yet I think of them as three. I don’t know them all, of course, but some notable ones come to mind.
For movies, I still think of Indiana Jones as a trilogy. That last one? I’ll pretend it never happened. The best thing that came out of the fourth movie was the ever-more-popular cult phrase “Nuke the Fridge” and with good reason. When Indiana Jones survives the New Mexico nuclear testing by hopping in a refrigerator, well, you just have to laugh at that. And then aliens? Really? I think the fourth one is just a bad dream. They'd have to make a fifth one to explain the dream, though.
The Librarian series is good, and so far there are three of them. I’d like for them to make more, but we could stop it at three and it’s still a winner in my book.
Clint Eastwood starred in three famous (infamous?) spaghetti westerns, and collectively they are sometimes called the Dollars Trilogy. A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I don't remember the middle one, but they all have The Man with No Name as the hero.
The Terminator series was a good trilogy. We all fear smart machines now, and maybe with good reason. I sometimes think the toaster is actually watching me in the morning, or at least snickering with the coffee pot about me behind my back. Then they made a fourth Terminator, so I don’t know if that counts.
Star Wars was a great trilogy. I’m talking about the one with Luke, not the trilogy with Anakin. See how that got ruined? So I’m not sure that six movies with the same theme makes two trilogies.
Aliens (okay, Alien, Aliens and Alien3) was a good trilogy but then twenty years later they made a fourth one. Since the same main character is referenced, I guess it legitimately becomes a non-trilogy. I never saw the last one.
"Tom Bombadil" by Anke Katrin Eissmann
Lord of the Rings is a great trilogy as a movie, and that’s all I have to say about that, except the extended version is worth the little bit of extra time. Oh, and I wasn’t sorry to see Tom Bombadil disappear from the story. If we go back to the original books, they were supposed to be a series, or a single large book, depending on who you reference. It’s odd to me that these books which define a trilogy in my mind were never designed to be a trilogy.

Some movies are (so far) good solid trilogy stories.
Mad Max, Die Hard, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman. I don’t really have anything to say about any of them, but they are all fun to watch. Pirates has a great musical score as well, but that's an aside.
The Matrix was a good trilogy. I didn’t think  the second one was that great, but I say that about a lot of trilogies.The first one rocked.
The Bourne Trilogy defined Matt Damon as an action star. I never saw that one coming. The books were better than the movies and I liked the movies.
The Godfather had a pretty good movie trilogy, though I admit I never watched them. Too much blood, gore and general meanness for me. That horse-head scene? I didn't watch the movie and I've seen that horse-head a dozen times.
Toy Story was a good trilogy. In fact, each one got better than the last. Shrek, not so much. The first Shrek was good.
Back to the Future was a great movie trilogy. That is one movie that makes you want to play each part on one of three screens and try to see the changes wrought during the plot. Since we just mentioned Eastwood, those movies played a major part in the third Back to the Future movie (Eastwood Ravine). I loved Twin Pines Mall becoming Lone Pine Mall.

Back to books and we have Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, which was a fantastic read, at least as far as I got (okay, only the first book Red Mars, and skimmed the second).
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson made a good trilogy, thought I thought the stories were all melancholy and sad. I guess you should expect that when the hero is a leper with a questionable moral compass.
The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks was just a load of fun. I hope that Terry Brooks doesn’t mind me saying that. A lot of cotton candy and popcorn; that’s the feeling I get when remembering those books. I don’t recall any imbued moral imperatives.
The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov consisted of Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation and was probably the first trilogy I read in order. I loved the books. I loved the Mule. A computer game came out some years after I read the books called M.U.L.E. I don’t remember much of that, except that it was fun to play. I’ll have to do some research.

Abe Books has a list of trilogy series they like. I haven't read them all.

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