Trilogies and quadrilogies and so forth

9 Aug

Although there are several exceptions to what I am about to say, it often rings very true: many novel series and film franchises simply do not know when enough is enough. While I acknowledge that many stories require more than one installment to be told, some just go on and on without cessation or any sign of a nearby conclusion. Perhaps this is why we have more series on television and HBO nowadays. Harry Potter is a good exception, but many claim that the new “two-parter” thing applied by Hollywood to Deathly Hallows as well as Breaking Dawn, The Hobbit, and possibly Catching Fire is simply a means of obtaining two (or three) times as much money from audiences. While this is doubtless true in many cases, certain sagas simply cannot be told through one movie per book. Sometimes, though, one story can be complete without a dozen follow-ups. I think the limit of standalone installments ought to be three. Christopher Nolan has done this beautifully with his Dark Knight trilogy, which I dearly hope will not be “fourthed” by Hollywood. Prequels to a trilogy can at times be acceptable – they made two for X-Men, which seems a bit much, but the films I have seen in that franchise have been out of order and thus I do not know the whole story.

In the realm of comic books, filmmakers often have to take a string of weekly cheesy serials and form one coherent storyline with them, making connections enough to form one straightforward plot. There are many villains in the Batman comics, from what I understand: the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Bane, just to name a few. Then again, it must be here confessed that I have yet to read the graphic novels. A movie generally contains one broad plot with subplots, but not twenty mini-stories strung together. The same applies to a series I’ve been devouring of late, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The first three books – short and concise things – were slightly altered in 2004 to form one movie with one plot. And they did a decent job, other than leaving it open for The Sequel That Never Came. I often wonder if they’ll make a movie or three of the hit BBC program Doctor Who. It’s possible, but my standards would be high. One of the movies could have Daleks as villains, the others perhaps featuring The Master or perhaps a horde of Cybermen or Weeping Angels. Just thoughts.

One more thing to note here is something many people complained about Sam Raimi’s 2007 conclusion to his Spider-Man trilogy: too many villains. Whether they are working together or it’s a three-way battle, two seems to be the limit. A third antagonistic faction in the same movie tends to throw people off, I’ve noticed. In the Pirates of the Caribbean films, which have some truly awesome scenes but are going too far, there is the British Navy as the more constant villains throughout the franchise, but each movie has another bad guy, usually a rival pirate, who is the main focus of conflict. But even though I can appreciate certain aspects of these movies, they’re stretching it pretty thin for something based on an amusement-park ride – even if I enjoy them as guilty pleasures.

Comments on this post are not mandatory, but I welcome and appreciate them. What do you people think of my views?


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