I think you are a crazy genius. Genius because “best trilogy ever” is an excellent topic for discussion. Crazy because you give the title to The Matrix.
You know those moments in life when you experienced something so extraordinary that all the details of where you were are forever burned into your memory –like the birth of your children? Well I’m enough of a geek that some of those moments are actually movies. And the first Matrix is one of them.
I was late seeing it, the hype was huge, and I had mammoth expectations. That usually spells trouble. Not this time. The damn thing exceeded all expectations. I was completely blown away. When Neo learns what the Matrix is, and about the reality of his existence, I actually jumped off the couch (yes, I know, I already said I’m a geek). If there is a more stunning reveal in any other movie, I haven’t seen it. And that’s only the halfway point – the film just gets better from there! Is Neo the One? Goddamn right he is.
And then came Reloaded and Revolutions. Oh man.
Seizure-inducing action sequences, raves in Zion and non-stop philosophizing that made me think of Doors songs – sounds sort of cool, but I suspect means nothing. The Wachowski brothers (brother and sister now) had huge ambition, I’ll give them that, but I think they got so caught up in their own swirling imaginations they forgot about the audience. They lost me completely. After the thrill of number one, those two follow-ups qualify as my biggest cinematic disappointments.
HOWEVER. I have to confess I have never seen them since, and I have always said that one viewing is not enough to pass final judgment on a movie. Plus, Pal, you make one hell of an eloquent case for them – you found real meaning. Therefore, I vow to give them another shot. I will get my hands on the trilogy, watch all three in one sitting, and re-evaluate my position.
In the meantime, I better give you my choice for best trilogy ever. After all, it’s easy to dump on another’s choice; it is far nobler to go out on a limb and state your own.
Let’s ponder a few possibilities:
Original Star Wars: Loved it as a kid, of course, like everyone, and I still get a kick out of it. But oh the dialogue! And oh the acting! Frankly, anything that includes Mark Hamill whining “but I wanted to go to Toshi Station and get some power converters!” can’t be the best anything.
Godfather: One and two are generally considered two of the best movies ever, and everyone seems to agree that three was horrid. I actually think three is under-rated and two is slightly over-rated. Because two is long. Very long. Unbelievably looooong. Overall, pretty great trilogy, but not perfect.
Lord of the Rings: This one pretty much is perfect; an unbelievable achievement. I don’t think anyone objected when Return of the King won all 11 academy awards for which it was nominated, including Best Picture. My problem is fantasy has never been my genre. I don’t know why, but I can’t get emotionally invested in hobbits and elves. So I admire the hell out this series without actually loving it.
Honourable Mentions: Other trilogies that I greatly enjoyed but aren’t quite top tier include Back to the Future, Die Hard, Indiana Jones and Evil Dead. I won’t elaborate, I just wanted to mention them. I’d consider putting Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series on the list, because it looks gorgeous and because of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, but something about the series leaves me cold. Plus, and I know this is petty but I can’t help it, I really hate Christian Bale’s Batman voice.
Which brings me to an animated trilogy about a cowboy doll and his friends.
Yes – Toy Story! Best. Trilogy. Ever.
Three perfect movies. They’re hilarious, sad, exciting and moving. Sometimes they’re even scary — I swear there are moments in three I thought I was watching a horror movie. The voices are awesome. Every character is unforgettable. There isn’t a single scene that is boring or unnecessary. They enthrall kids and adults alike. They tackle big themes about growing up and finding one’s purpose in the world without ever forgetting to entertain.
And the ending is completely satisfying. When a theatre full of people is blubbering over a box of toys being passed from one kid to another, that’s a hell of an achievement.
So I bow before the geniuses at Pixar. And I tip my hat to you, Pal, for raising this subject.
Where shall we go next?