As this is a ‘trilogies’ list I have ignored films that have been extended into quadrologies (apologies to Die Hard, Aliens and Indiana Jones).
5. The Matrix
In 1999 the Wachowski brothers reinvented the sci-fi action genre with The Matrix. The mixture of philosophical dialogue, neo noir atmosphere and high octane action sequences featuring both kung fu and gun combat sparked a revolution in modern film making. From start to finish the original is breathtaking, thought provoking and defines the term eye-candy. Keanu Reeves is perfect as Neo, the lonely hacker with the itch that he just can’t scratch about the world around him and Lawrence Fishburne defines mysterious as his mentor Morpheus. The plot follows Neo as a man who knows there is something not quite right about the world he lives in and sets out to find out what. Writing anything more would spoil one of the best pull-your-feet-out-from-under-the-los angeles dodgers t shirt experiences in cinema ever and I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. Needless to say huge robots, an intricately realised dystopian future, CGI augmented kung fu and soldiers fast enough to dodge bullets are but a few of the visually stunning treats waiting for you inside the Matrix. It is hard to measure the impact of the Matrix universe on modern culture but for a time it seemed like the world was blessed with a pop culture franchise to rival the Star Wars. Unfortunately its two sequels, despite being epic in scope (and budget) failed to deliver on the promises of their predecessor and effectively relegated the franchise to more middle of the road action sci-fi adventures.
Best Quote: “There is no spoon”
In 1995 when Pixar studios made the first Toy Story film using (then) state of the art computer animation it must have been hard to think that an animated film about toys who come to life was going to be the foundation of one of the most powerful and influential studios in the world. 15 years and over three quarters of a billion dollars later and Toy story is still bringing tears and laughter to children (and their parents) everywhere. The voice acting headed by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen is inspired, the set pieces are breath taking and the stories encompass heart wrenching themes of loss alongside belly aching laughs. While other trilogies on this list have lost pace throughout their run time Toy Story has gone from strength to strength, the third instalment which follows Woody and the gang as they come to terms with leaving their beloved owner, Andy is arguably the best in the trilogy.
Best Quote: “To infinity, and beyond!”
Francis Ford Coppola’s epic Godfather trilogy, based on Mario Puzo’s book of the same name, tells the story of the Corleone family as they fight the police, rivals and themselves to gain and maintain power over the criminal underbelly of America. If the idea of watching Al Pacino as Michael Corleone tackling the moral dilemmas of a half century as a crime boss, isn’t enough for you to run out to buy the box set, then how about another half century of his father Vito’s rise to power played by both Marlin Brando and Robert Deniro in career defining rolls. The first two films are widely recognised as two of the best films ever made and while the third (made 16 years after Godfather 2) does not do the trilogy justice it is still worth the two and a half hour run time. Underneath the fantastic acting by stars at the top of their game and incredible direction by a master of the art is an epic and heartfelt story that has to be experienced.
Best Quote: “You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you or my boy to me?”
2.The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
To call Peter Jackson’s opus epic would be like calling the Bible influential, it’s true but doesn’t begin to illustrate this incredible masterpiece. To create a film trilogy that features some of the most incredible cinematography ever to grace the silver screen, fill it full of unforgettable characters before sending them on a quest to save the world and still remain true to the source material is a feat unparalleled in Hollywood history. If you don’t know the story then imagine a tiny child sized half man called a hobbit and a few friends headed across a world as detailed as our own filled with a plethora of magical beings including Orcs, Wizards, Elves, giant eagles, Ents (don’t ask) and many others to a massive volcano guarded over by 9 dead kings riding mini-dragons and watched over by a giant evil eye and you will have scratched the surface of one of the best cinema experiences of all time. Sir Ian Mckellen, Liv Tyler, Elijah Wood and Sean Bean are but the tip of the acting talent iceberg that brings this incredible adventure to life. The extended versions (mostly) improve on the already impressive originals and are the definitive versions.
Best Quote: “Thao shalt not pass!”
1.Star Wars (original) Trilogy
Many of you might think I am cheating by allowing a trilogy that has subsequently been made into sexology (am I just making up these words now) however The original Star Wars trilogy is a standalone masterpiece of cinema that is separate from the prequels that were made several decades later. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away a man called George Lucas took a budget of $100,000 and turned it into one of the greatest realised franchises of all time. The story takes ancient clichés (the lost dreamer, lovable rogue, beautiful princess, wise mentor, giant bear-dog thing), puts them into a classic story of light against dark, sorry good versus evil and unleashes them on a universe filled with spaceships, laser swords, talking robots and spooky powers. Throw in the greatest plot twist of all time, Carrie Fisher in a gold bikini and a bad guy with a theme tune as evil and unforgettable as his costume and you have the makings of cinema platinum. The influence of Star Wars is an article in itself with three more movies, books, toys, video games, toy video games, spin offs, spoofs and more being just grains of sand on the beach of the island that makes up the star wars universe, needless to say if you haven’t heard of star wars you are probably from a another galaxy.
Best Quote: “I am your ******.” (Too much of a spoiler)
You can buy art inspired by these movies from handmade oil paintings from under £50. Buy a painting of your favourite cell or get an oil painting of the poster.
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write by Wendy Carter