Sunday, 22 May 2011

One, Two, Trilogy....

I begin this blog as I have so many others by apologising for the distinct lack of action this page has seen recently. Other things have been going on this year, and my mind has been elsewhere.

That said, I've decided to dip my toe into the world of blogging again, and upon glancing through my blogger account I found a half-written article that I felt I should revive, as it has been on my computer for ages. (Although this article will probably bear remarkably little resemblance to that post as I am writing this one on my notepad on a particularly quiet day at work (Except obviously the version you are reading now has been typed up, so this is the version I have written in the future from my current point of view, but when I type this up the current will be the past, and the typing will be the present, but from your point of view it's in the past@$%Q($£!$$£-----------------------------------TEMPORAL ERROR--------------TIME=-1<45-----------------------------------------------------

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Trilogies.

(And yes, I know I hadn't mentioned trilogies at any point in the previous paragraph, but trust me, that's where I was heading before I got sidetracked with all the temporal confusion)

Something that annoys me a great deal in life, is the misuse of the word trilogy. Just because there are three films/books/games in a series, does not automatically make it a trilogy. In fact, describes a trilogy as:

"a series or group of three plays, novels, operas, etc., that,although individually complete, are
closely related in theme,sequence, or the like."

To me, the most important word in that sentence is related. So it's not just a case of them showcasing the same characters (in my opinion). To me, a trilogy should be a trio of stories that come together to tell one over-arching story (And no, this doesn't mean that are not watchable within their own right, simply that the total trilogy is greater than the sum of its parts.)

A quick search of amazon for the word trilogy (narrowed to the Film and TV section for the sake of this blog, as otherwise I start to get lots of make-up in the search...) returns 1,061 results. And an awful lot of these are not really trilogies. The Robocop trilogy, for example, is not a trio of linked films, it is a trio of films that have Robocop in them.

I would like to point out, at this time I am not here to argue the artistic merits of third films in series' (as we know most of them are rubbish) and I will only pick examples of films I have seen to support my argument.

The number one result is Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, which is no surprise since I am writing this the weekend the fourth film opens at the cinema, and that, to me is a proper trilogy. You can watch all three films individually, but for the most satisfying experience, you watch all three of them, and by the end the characters have reached a suitable conclusion. (Plus, Kiera Knightly ends up on an island with a sprog, far away from any future sequels!)

While scrolling down the list, a lot of those that I would consider not real trilogies are older films, from back in the day when you simply sequalised a film by putting the same character(s) in a new situation (Naked Gun, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop, Mad Max) or two older films and then a more modern addition to the canon, which simply takes one element of the previous films (Obvious example here is the Predators Trilogy box-set. Which contains Predator (the original), Predator 2 (The shitty sequel, only really noticeable for having an alien skull on board the Predators ship, which began the years of cross-pollination between the franchises) and then Predators (The most recent entry from a couple of years ago, which apart from the titular alien has bugger all to do with the other two))

Am I arguing that artistically, real trilogies are better than fake ones? Not at all - I just wish that there would be some differentiation between the two. And don't get me started on trilogy sets that only exist because they can, even though there are more films in the series.... (There's a box set called the Omen trilogy on here, and I'm pretty sure there's four films in that series (not including the remake)). But it could be worse, at least they don't use the word quadrilogy....