The Best of All Time – Commentary

By Paul Martin January 5th, 2003, in Editorials

This is in response to the current arguments and the arguments that will inevitably come when Return of the King premieres in December. What is the best film trilogy of all time? It’s all relative. Let’s look at some trilogies and sagas and find out, beginning with the worlds largest:

Star Wars Trilogy (Original Trilogy)

– Whether you are a fan of the original versions or the Special Editions, this is the series that changed movies. Even today, the original version holds up when it comes to effects. As a trilogy, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi stood tall and proud for many years as the premiere Science Fiction film trilogy of all time. It’s got a beginning, a middle, and an end, and has some very deep themes and characters, along with some very cool battles and shocking revelations. This brings us to the next portion.

Star Wars Trilogy (Prequel Trilogy)

– Here’s the rub. The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones seem inferior now, but with Episode III in 2005, we’ll all know how important each part of this trilogy actually is. Many people find these to be inferior Star Wars films, and I’ll grant them that. They are poorly acted in most cases, and we don’t really know what is going on. In the case of the original trilogy, each film could be taken alone. These ones are like the first few chapters of a great novel. They set the characters into place, tell you where they came from, and foreshadow where they’re going. In this, they aren’t perfect, but they are essential to make what happens in Episode III all the more impactful. We will be witnessing the quintessential Star Wars film in 2005. Anakin falls to the Dark Side, and fights Obi-Wan Kenobi in the saber duel we’ve all been dreaming about since our youth. All the Jedi, save Yoda and Obi-Wan, are mercilessly hunted and slaughtered. Padme gives birth to the hopes and dreams of the universe, who are taken into hiding, apart from one another so that, should one be discovered, the other may be safe. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine names himself Emperor and begins his reign of terror, with the Stormtrooper armies already built to enforce his new law. We’ve been set up for a Star Wars film that, even though we may not like the characters, we will find ourselves invested in the story. This will be the crowning moment of the Prequel Trilogy and may well earn the prequels their place in the saga. The world awaits….

Back to the Future

– This is one heavy trilogy! The plot is thick with timetravelling and is fun and a joy to watch. It’s one of those trilogies though, that the third film isn’t as good as the previous two. I like the first one the best, but the other ones are fun to watch also, because of the interaction with scenes from the first film. It’s a very well done trilogy and loved by many.

The Karate Kid

– The Next Karate Kid notwithstanding, this is all about Daniel-san. The first one was the ultimate new kid makes good with mentoring and help movie. I used to watch this all the time. The Karate Kid Part II continues that feeling, and The Karate Kid Part III had an awesome form (a technique with many moves strung together) that I always wanted to learn. It was this movie trilogy that made me want to study karate, and I wound up studying Tae Kwon Do for about 4 years.

Jurassic Park

– Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, and more dinosaurs. Word on the street is that Jurassic Park 4 is in the works and that it’s not only going to be GOOD, but it’s going to breathe some life into the franchise that has felt dead since the ending of the second film. The third film found it’s charm when they used Alan Grant. The problem was with the new characters. I didn’t like any of them. The first one is still the classic, HOLY CRAP THAT’S A DINOSAUR movie.

Indiana Jones

– Another great trilogy. This one is high adventure with a hero that is known for his whip and fedora. I personally like the third one the best, when Sean Connery is involved. I can’t wait for the fourth one, that is set to premiere around the fourth of July in 2005.

Lord of the Rings

– What can I say? This could very well be the greatest fantasy film trilogy of all time. I take that back, this IS already the greatest fantasy film trilogy of all time. The third film isn’t out yet, but the first two have been marvels and wonderous to take in and at the end, you want to know what happens next. Condensing 1200 pages into three films is very difficult, and I’m thankful for how they did it, even though it’s not EXACTLY like the books, the amount of care that went into this trilogy is evident in the way that the characters get along and interact. This is a massive undertaking and I love watching it. The amount of depth to this trilogy is incredible, and holds a lot more meaning than the messages found in any other film trilogy that has ever been released or will ever be released. That includes the Matrix.

The Matrix Trilogy

– What’s that? Lord of the Rings doesn’t have more depth! Or does it? Well, it’s debatable, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Matrix has awesome special effects and heaps of symbolism, but it has yet to find its heart. At the end, people didn’t know it was going to be a trilogy, and were satisfied. It’s greatest message isn’t “Free your mind,” but rather “Know Thyself.” At the end of the first film, Trinity knows herself as she figures out that Neo is in fact, the One. Neo knows himself, in that he is the One, and Morpheus knows himself, for he has FOUND the One. Now, he must do what it takes to free the rest of the world from the Matrix. Freeing his mind was only freedom from the computer controlled world, and not from reality, for everything created by the Matrix was based in reality. The special effects of this film are like no other, and while it spawned countless copycats, every time you could here someone say “Matrix” because that was the first place they saw it. It has a far reaching fan base, that is continuing to grow.

The Conclusion

– Does it seem that I didn’t choose one over the other? That’s right. That’s because, no matter what I say, you may still think that one trilogy is better than the other. To argue about this is futile. Note that every trilogy that I listed here are ones that I enjoy, and for different reasons. If I was to pick my favorite, at the moment it’s Lord of the Rings. In May and November next year, it’ll probably be The Matrix. In December, it’ll be Lord of the Rings again, the quality of that series isn’t going anywhere. In May of 2005, it’ll be Star Wars again. In July, Indiana Jone IV will end that series’ life as a trilogy, although some might say that Young Indy did that. When the dust clears, which will be on top? Whichever I am watching on DVD on a cold day when I’m stuck in my house due to the snow, or when I’m sick on the couch. These are all great trilogies, and that is the point. Bicker all you want. Tell me that The Matrix is better than Lord of the Rings. I’ll still enjoy Lord of the Rings, and I’ll still enjoy The Matrix.

If this doesn’t satisfy you, then I’ll tell you straight up. As of right now, the Matrix is not my number 1 trilogy. At only one third complete, I cannot possibly argue it up that high, even though I know what’s coming in Reloaded and Revolutions. When it comes down to it, as of this moment, The Original Star Wars Trilogy is my current favorite followed by Back to the Future. Next is Lord of the Rings, based on the story, and that I know what is coming, and it’s going to be amazing. Next is the Star Wars Prequels. Then The Matrix. The rest: Not that big a fan on Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park is one for three, and The Karate Kid is just for kicks. Sorry, that’s just my opinion. Ask me again in one year, and it will be different. As of right now, I’m happy as it is.

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