10 Terrific Trilogies

10 August 2018
Good things come in threes.

Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson sing it up in the third instalment of Pitch Perfect, your Sunday night movie this weekend on M-Net.

In honour of cinematic trios, we decided to look at ten of our favourites, and their future.

  1. Austin Powers

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; Austin Powers in Goldmember

Oh, behave! Mike Myers delighted with his James Bond send-up which begged, borrowed and stole from 007’s finest moments and most memorable characters. Throwing in time travel and double entendres galore, it easily joined the ranks of spoof films every film fan has to see.

Quadrilogy quality? There’s been a lot of back and forth about a fourth Powers. We’ll have to wait and see if it ever materialises.

  1. Back to the Future

Back to the Future; Back to the Future Part II; Back to the Future Part III

Talking of time travel, one of its most beloved cinematic entries is undoubtedly this trilogy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Already a household name thanks to Family Ties, Fox further cemented his status – and his position in cinematic history – with his time-travelling shenanigans from the ‘80s to the ‘50s, the 21st century, and the 19th century.

Quadrilogy quality? It’s doubtful that there’ll ever be a fourth film, and we don’t think we’d want to watch Marty McFly as an adult anyway, and we certainly wouldn’t want anyone other than Michael J. Fox to play him.

  1. Blade

Blade; Blade II; Blade: Trinity

A decade before vampires became sparkly, they were dark and intriguing – none more so than the enigmatic Eric Brooks AKA Blade, played by Wesley Snipes. Half human, half vampire, Blade sliced his way through three films, leaving a trail of vampires in his wake.

Quadrilogy quality? Nothing on the cards. If anything, we predict it’ll be rebooted...or not.

  1. Evil Dead

The Evil Dead; Evil Dead II; Army of Darkness

Sam Raimi made his name with The Evil Dead, which is a feature length version of his short film Within the Woods. Evil Dead II is a kind of sequel, kind of remake of the first film, while Army of Darkness is a bona fide sequel transplanting the action from the woods to the Middle Ages, throwing a bout of time travel into this ingenious mix of horror and comedy.   

Quadrilogy quality? In 2013 a remake was released, which didn’t focus and barely featured the franchise’s beloved signature character, Ash Williams. Two years later this was rectified by placing Ash front and centre of the zombie action once more, in the sequel series Ash vs Evil Dead with Raimi regular Bruce Campbell returning to his most famous role.

  1. The Godfather

The Godfather; The Godfather Part II; The Godfather Part III

From the novel by Mario Puzo comes this crime opus that venerated family, relaunched Brando, and taught us to make perfect pasta sauce. With weighty roles and even weightier performances, quotable lines, and scenes whose intensity burned their memory into the collective cultural conscience, Francis Ford Coppola served us a trilogy that’s stood the test of time.

Quadrilogy quality? No.

  1. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Peter Jackson, better known for dark drama Heavenly Creatures and splatterific movies like Bad Taste and Braindead, brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth to life between Christmas 2001 and Christmas 2003.  This fantasy franchise follows the not-so-humble adventures of a band of hobbits, accompanied by elves, dwarves, and men. Boosting New Zealand’s tourism status (there was even a giant Gollum installed at Wellington Airport in 2012) the film series is filled chock-a-block with glorious locations, detailed costumes, eye-popping action, and fine performances while pushing the art and craft of motion-capture performance to new heights.

Quadrilogy quality? Yes; a whole new trilogy, in fact. In 2012, Jackson brought Middle Earth back, expanding The Lord of the Rings’ precursor The Hobbit with three films: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies. The future promises a TV series, focusing on a different character every season.  

  1. The Matrix

The Matrix; The Matrix Reloaded; The Matrix Revolutions

What is the matrix? It’s three movies starring Keanu Reeves of course. Film fans plunged down the coded rabbit role in 1999 for a story filled with visuals and concepts so mind-bending it soon became a sci-fi classic, followed up with two more segments.

Quadrilogy quality? No, especially as many deride the second and third films. But staunch fans can continue the trip with The Animatrix, a collection of short films which provide background details to the story and creation of the matrix.

  1. Nolan’s Batman

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

Batman was rebooted in 2005, with Christopher Nolan taking over the franchise from Joel Schumacher. The following seven years gave us finely-crafted stories, characters, performances, and undoubtedly one the best Batmans in the form of Christian Bale. Supported by incredible visuals and practical effects, it took comic book adaptations to a whole new level.

Quadrilogy quality? No. Nolan’s stepped down, and Bale hung up his cape and cowl at the same time. Batman reemerged in the DC Extended Universe, played by Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. It appears Affleck has since decided to leave the character behind, and only time will tell who will become the new Caped Crusader.

  1. Star Wars

Star Wars; The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi 

Taking the hero’s journey to the stars, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie became an entrenched part of cinematic history when George Lucas’ 1977 space opera extravaganza was released. Their journey continued in 1980 and 1983, introducing more characters, more planets, and more adventure.      

Quadrilogy quality? Another trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, serving as a prequel to the events in the original trilogy. Ten years later another trilogy began, taking place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, which was the last instalment of the original trilogy. In between the current trilogy instalments, anthology films are being released, expanding worlds and introducing even more characters.

  1. Toy Story

Toy Story; Toy Story 2; Toy Story 3

This terrific toy-centred tale achieved that rare feat so few trilogies do: it got better and better each time. It all started back in 1995 when Andy added a new toy to his collection: the space ranger Buzz Lightyear. The ensuing comedic clashes with cowboy Woody, the colourful cast of supporting toys, the chases, the music, and the ever-present theme of friendship helped make the three instalments some of Disney and Pixar’s most memorable movies, ending on a poignant note in 2010.

Quadrilogy quality? Toy Story loses its trilogy status next year when the fourth movie comes out.

Watch Pitch Perfect achieve trilogy status this weekend in your #SundayNightMovie Pitch Perfect 3 on 12 August at 20:05 on M-Net channel 101.