With the high definition arrival of everyone's favorite (?) space sagas, now’s as good a time as any to countdown the all time greats of triangular tale-spinning.
It’s safe to say that, unless they are based on some similarly styled source material (book, play, etc.), the motion picture trilogy is a product of popularity. Though its narrative and cinematic symmetry can be breathtaking to behold, most three part films were not preplanned. Instead, they were forged out of a desire to please the audience mixed with a need to repay the cast/crew. George Lucas can argue all he wants to that his Star Wars saga -- now finally out on Blu-ray -- was always intended as three separate three-part projects (guess the crappy prequels destroyed that dream, right big G?) but Fox barely wanted to release the first film. So what fodder did he have for contemplating such a massive vision? The answer is obvious -- he didn’t. Like most eventual franchises, box office gave Luke Skywalker’s real pappy a chance to dream, resulting in the genre’s first example of the law of diminishing returns.
There are a couple of factors inherent in determining the best trilogies of all time. First, the three films included have to be linked in some significant way. They can’t be a pure product of money-oriented moviemaking. Secondly, all three movies must be worth watching. A sloppy second act or atrocious third movement means the overall quality is compromised. A few can survive this kind of scrutiny -- most cannot. Finally, there is a subjective element known as “completeness”. Do the films that make up this multi-faceted narrative really deliver on their designs, is there an all encompassing arc, or are we stuck seeing the same old story told over and over again? By answering these important questions, and taking into consideration other objective criteria like continuity and completeness, a final assessment can be reached.
With the high def arrival of everyone's favorite (?) space sagas, now’s as good a time as any to countdown the all time greats of triangular tale-spinning. Some may surprise you. Others will shock you. But in the context of this discussion, all are worthy of classics consideration: