Trilogy Trials and Trilogy Tribulations

Tales from the Geek's portrait.

Okay. Let’s get real here. I think this calls for going full nerd. (Original was here, by the way. Good page if you’re a Facebooker and a geek.)

 

Let’s start with the most egregious, shall we? Listen closely: THE LORD OF THE RINGS IS THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. Those goddamn columns should be blue all the way to the top. They should be overflowing the top of the boxes. They should be spraying like fountains, cerulean waterspouts just painting everything in sight with blue glory. More like this:

lotr-adjusted

Also, it isn’t really a trilogy, like the books aren’t really a trilogy; it’s one story split into three volumes, and the movie is one story split into three chapters. One movie. Not a trilogy. But it came out in three subsequent years, so I get it being on this list. But it is the best movie ever made, from the greatest fantasy series ever written. Show some respect.

 

Next let’s just dispose of the ones they got right. Godfather: bang on. 100%. You could argue that #1 is a little better than #2, because Marlon Brando — but #2 has DeNiro, so yeah. Star Wars: yup. Pretty much perfect. I think they overestimated Jaws 2 and 3, but sure, they have some moments. Indiana Jones is mostly right, though I like Last Crusade more than Temple of Doom (And they rightfully don’t include Crystal Skull. Which, I admit, I kind of liked. but I liked Gymkata.), but that is subjective and open to debate. Back to the Future, yes; Star Trek, yes — though that should be more than a trilogy. Star Trek IV is a dork classic. Spider-Man and Superman, honestly, I don’t have too much of an opinion on; I liked the movies, but none of them are inspiring to me, so I’ll bow to the greater geeks there.

 

Okay, then. Rocky. Rocky III is as good as II? Are you freaking kidding me? Did you guys get punched in the head by Mr.T? Because, you do realize, the bad guy in III is Mr. T. “I pity the fool” -B.A.-Baracus-Mr.-Freaking-T.

Rocky is an Oscar winning movie and just about the only actually good movie Stallone ever made; II is a nice continuation of I with the redemption of Rocky winning this time. But Rocky III, and every movie after it, is a horror show. Now, if you want to enjoy it on a cheesy level, great; hell, it has Mr. T. in a starring role — it doesn’t get cheesier (Unless it’s this guy.

Look at how freaking oily he is. Ewwwwww.).

But you can’t include Rocky in that cheese-fest. You’re changing the metric partway through, and that doesn’t work.

 

Speaking of cheese, I can respect dropping Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes waaaaay down from the first movie, because neither of the sequels (Nor the two others they don’t list here) had Charlton Heston. He appears briefly in Beneath, but he only agreed to do it if his character got killed, so bada boom bada bing, no more Taylor with his gorgeous overacting and his apparently congenital refusal to wear pants. I mean, come on: the apes wear pants. You got nice legs, sure — but you couldn’t steal a pair of ape pants? But without Heston to do wonderful things like this:

(Though really, the highlight of this is that reaction shot.)

…or this,

…the movies lose something. But honestly: these are cheesy pieces of crap, and we all know it. The makeup is amazing, and the concept is intriguing; but these are cheesy pieces of crap. So it seems to me that if you’re going to put so much love on the first movie, then you should show some love for the later ones, too. After all, they all had Roddy McDowall, right?

 

While we’re on humans being surpassed as the dominant race on the planet, let’s hit Jurassic Park. The problem with this rating isn’t the sequels, which really are giant piles of triceratops dung;

Image result for jurassic park 2 = 

the problem is with the rating of the first movie. The original Jurassic Park movie is a fantastic film, a game-changer, with everything good: good direction, good acting, a great script, absolutely wonderful action and effects. That one should top out the column.

 

It’s the reverse problem with the Blade and Terminator movies. Blade III is not good, nor is Terminator III — but come on, they aren’t THAT bad. Nor is X-Men III. I feel like these guys can swallow a second movie whole, despite obvious flaws (I mean, Terminator II has freaking Edward Furlong in the lead role.

That kid has the most annoying voice in the history of movies. There’s a reason he never hit superstardom again, and it wasn’t drug abuse. And Blade II has Norman Reedus, yes — but he’s not Darryl, he’s — Scud.

Nowhere near as cool. Plus, the Reapers are too horrible to look at, and the BloodPack are  just as silly as the human hunters in Blade III. And I like Ryan Reynolds in III, and also Jessica Biel.), but when the third movie comes out, they’re just like, “Okay, NOW they’ve sold out. This is crap.” But that’s not fair. Sometimes the second movie is far worse; sometimes the third movie is the best of all (If you HAVE to divide LOTR, then ROTK is the best piece.). There’s nothing to say that a movie franchise can only carry one or two but not three movies; you have to take each franchise on its own merits. Or its own crap.

 

And speaking of crap. Let’s talk about the three that are the most off-base, the most skewed, the most ridiculous. First terrible graph: Mad Max. Honestly, I hate the first movie. Road Warrior is by far my favorite. Mad Max reminds me much too much of Death Wish on motorcycles, and if I’m going to watch Death Wish, I want me some damn Charles Bronson. I like Mel Gibson, but he’s no Charles Bronson. And the motorcycles aren’t enough to sell me on the movie. I also hate the homophobic element that is clearly intended to make the bad guys more vile, like I’m supposed to think, “Wow, they’re not just outlaw bikers — they’re HOMOS! I hope Mad Max wastes them all!!” This is something of a theme, of course, this leather-biker-gay-man-villain element, but it bothers me most in the first movie. The first movie’s  bar is lower than the second, but I don’t know that it’s low enough.

But that isn’t the real problem here. The real problem is the third movie. Beyond Thunderdome. That bar should actually be split in half vertically: the first half of the movie, with Bartertown and the fabulous Tina Turner and Master Blaster and Thunderdome

(Two men enter! One man leaves!) —

that can all be pretty high up, maybe on par with the Road Warrior, though Thunderdome does overdo the cheese a bit. But then as soon as that movie follows its title BEYOND Thunderdome, it becomes one of the worst pieces of film I have ever seen. Ever. That colony of idiot children whom Mad Max — MAD MAX — decides he must protect and serve? Oh, please. PUH-LEEEEZE. This is one of the only movies that I will watch the first half and then turn it off. Most of the time, if I hate the ending that much, I just don’t watch the movie; and if I like the beginning that much, I will sit through the end. But this one? Nope. That movie ends for me with Mel Gibson in that big clown head staggering off into the desert. It would have been better for everybody if Max had just died right then. Fin.

Terrible graph #2: Die Hard. The first movie is iconic, no question: it is Alan Rickman, it is Nakatomi Plaza, it is Ode to Joy when the vault spins open, it is Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker. The third movie has Jeremy Irons and Samuel L. Jackson, a good plot line, and some fantastic action sequences. But Die Hard II?! The one in the airport. At Christmas. That thing is absolutely terrible. It is an abomination. It is the shame of the family, the black sheep (And it’s not even as good a movie as Black Sheep, and that’s saying something.), the pariah, the one they send away before they serve Thanksgiving dinner. This is one graph where the middle bar should be white, with maybe just the thinnest line of blue imaginable — just enough to put Die Hard II above, say, Mother, May I Sleep With Danger, or that time they tried to make a movie out of American Idol, with Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson. Or Breaking Dawn Part II. But yeah: that graph should look like a blue Oreo. With the whitest of Creme filling.

And last  — but genuinely, seriously not least — The Matrix. Okay. I get it. The second and third movies are not as good as the first: granted. Almost nothing is as good as the first Matrix movie. But I am as sick to death of people ripping the Reloaded and Revolution as I am hearing about how Jar Jar Binks ruins Phantom Menace. (Jar Jar Binks is no more or less annoying than C3PO. We just had lower expectations of him. That’s it. And freaking Anakin Skywalker is a bigger problem than Jar Jar, and not just because of the bad acting: because Lucas made him into Jesus, complete with Immaculate Conception, and it’s the stupidest thing in science fiction. Anyway.) Matrix Reloaded and Revolution have some amazing elements: AMAZING. The Sentinel assault on Zion is one of the best science fiction battle sequences ever. The freeway fight is one of the most beautiful pieces of action cinematography I’ve seen. The Architect is fascinating, as is the Merovingian.  And Agent Smith is one of the best villains of all time. Sure, yes, Keanu Reeves is a dolt, and Carrie-Anne Moss isn’t a whole lot better; her outstanding character turns into a wet rag draped over Neo’s shoulder, and it’s a shame. (Wouldn’t it have been much better if, when Neo saved Trinity’s life by reaching into her chest to get out the bullet, he actually turned her into the One? And she was the one who went to the Machine City, fought Agent Smith in the last fight, and saved the world? Too bad, right? Anyway.) But the arguments about sexism I have heard — which is certainly all too common in science fiction and fantasy — don’t take into account that Morpheus, my other favorite character from the first movie (Along with Smith, of course — you can really just take Reeves out of those movies and I would be just fine), turns into a wet blanket under the feet of Jada Pinkett-Smith, which is also too bad. Plus I really hate his Zion outfit, that sleeveless robe thing he wears at the rave. I hate this speech.

 

And yeah, I hate the rave scene.

But those are good movies. All three of them. They certainly do not deserve bars that low.

 

All right, nerds: I invite comment. Come at me.

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2 thoughts on “Trilogy Trials and Trilogy Tribulations

    1. Interesting. My experience with Aliens was a little unusual, because I saw and enjoyed the second one several times without ever having seen the first. When I saw the first, I liked it, but I missed Bill Paxton saying, “GAME OVER, MAN! GAME OVER!” (Now, of course, I just miss Bill Paxton. RIP.) So I would rank them 2,1,3, with 1 and 2 pretty far above 3, which wasn’t nearly as good — they tried too hard to make the prison planet scary, when they should have focused on the critters. Never saw the other related movies — AVP or Prometheus.

      Thanks for adding this to the mix!

      Like

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