Movies don’t come in pairs anymore. There was a time when the first movie set the story and the sequel gave the closure. The twenty first century is not that time. True, trilogies used to be made long before the calendar turned to the new millennium, but not in this scale. The star cast, story lines, depth, production, grandeur and budget of modern day Hollywood trilogies are mind boggling and thrive on hyper fandom and popularity, raking in billions of dollars at the box office and earning cult status in the hearts of audiences forever. The Godfather and Star Wars (original) remain the forerunners on any trilogy list ever composed. But that doesn’t give the bombastic new ones a fair chance to compete. That is why, on this list we are concentrating exclusively on movie trilogies of this millennium. The list isn’t so particular. Some of these movies did get to see the light of the box office in the nineties itself, but at least one component of such trilogies were made after 2000 and thus qualify to be on the list. Read on to find out if your favourites made the cut.
10. The Millennium Trilogy
It has become an unwritten rule of the cinematic world that a super successful book will be turned into an even more successful movie. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larson goes one further by being adapted into movie trilogies in two different languages: Swedish and English. With the legendary director David Fincher at the helm of the English one, the first two movies have turned out spectacularly well. Rooney Mara plays a stunning Lisbeth Salander and the whole theme and feel of the movie is so contemporarily edgy that it keeps you fastened to the seat, even if you have read the book before watching the movie.
9. Pirates Of The Caribbean
Perhaps readers will be quick to point out that with the fourth edition of the Pirates Of The Caribbean out, this no longer qualifies to be a trilogy. Sad truth is I was particularly disillusioned after watching Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. While the first three stories seemed intertwined and came to a lovely, if haunting end, with the close of “At World’s End”, the fourth movie seems completely unnecessary and a pure money making mechanism. Put Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Penelope Cruz in any movie together with a half decent script, it will create box office magic for you. To continue exploiting a your golden egg laying hen because you want more gold is a cheap capitalistic technique that hs little to do with love of cinema. The first three movies blew the audience’s mind away with the sheer concept, action, adventure and thrill of the high seas. Therefore it deserves to be on this list, excluding the bad dream that the fourth movie was.
8. Iron Man
Marvel has been churning out one amazing superhero after another this century, and Iron Man is the most unique of the lot. After being subjected to decades of self-sacrificing, martyring, pining and quite tiresomely good superheroes who are forever rescuing damsels from distress or saving little children from upturned school buses and cats from trees, here was a superhero who was proudly human. He thrived on fame, attention and his work. A genius engineer and a Casanova, Iron Man Tony Stark sees no reason to hide behind his mask when the world is his for the taking. And he leaves the city’s Fire Brigade to rescue kittens and children while he draws attention to far more important issues threatening the world today, namely terrorists and aliens. With his refreshingly different heroine Pepper Potts by his side, Iron Man is truly invincible.
7. The Lord Of The Rings
Winning seventeen Oscars is no mean feat! The only reason The Lord Of The Rings is not ranked higher on this list is because of its huge length. You need to have infinite amount of free time if you want to have a LOTR marathon. Ten hours to be precise. Even if you were to watch the movies individually, they rival Ashutosh Gowariker’s onscreen efforts and that’s saying something. But that apart, Peter Jackson creates masterpieces out of J. R. R. Tolkien’s beloved books and in the years to come, this movie will be upheld as the ultimate standard against which future trilogies will be judged. The good news for fans is that the Hobbit trilogy is also underway. That’s something amazing to look forward to.
6. The Bourne Trilogy
Matt Damon at his intense best, the Bourne Trilogy is a real treat for all action buffs out there. Jason Bourne, the man with no memory and no past captures us instantly while he is floating naked in the middle of a turbulent ocean in The Bourne Identity. From then on, it is a complete adrenaline roller coaster that continues with The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Though the new spinoff with Jeremy Renner isn’t half bad (it’s very good actually), those who have seen the original trilogy first will always love Matt Damon as the original and dashing Jason Bourne.
5. X Men Trilogy
Did I mention Marvel was smashing it this millennium with the Superheroes? They seem to be smashing it with the trilogies too. If one superhero movie creates such a buzz, imagine a movie with many many superheroes. The X Men trilogy is a class apart in action, style, drama, cast, direction and special effects. Seeing the actors we know and love for so long coming together to fight baddies in a fraternizing experience. With a star cast boasting the likes of Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Ian McKellen and so many more, it is a superhero world where humans are few and far between. A world of exalted emotions and motives, this electrifying trilogy can be watched again and again with no sense of boredom.
4. Star Wars Prequel Trilogy
This is not simply cinema. It is a cultural phenomenon that has inspired ultimate devotion in generations of youth all over the world. The Star Wars Prequel trilogy comes in the wake of the original George Lucas 1977 production that went all the way up to 1983. While the original trilogy is much better in terms of story, the new one packs in a punch thanks to advanced special effects and a star cast boasting the likes of Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen. Plus, no matter how much you like the original, the portrayal of the doomed romance between Queen Amidala and Anakin Skywalker is worth watching a million times over.
3. The Dark Knight
After a series of really embarrassing Batman movies, that spawned umpteen number of Batman Robin jokes, Christopher Nolan came and revived this misunderstood superhero in a spectacular trilogy. Not only did the unfortunate, flawed and haunting Bruce Wayne get a second chance with audiences, Nolan pitted him against the most memorable villains of Hollywood. The most memorable of course being Heath Ledger’s Joker, which was the young actor’s last role. This dark trilogy is like no other. But then you can only expect something this twisty from the man who made Memento and Inception.
2. The Hangover
If you are outraged that a frivolous, and seemingly stupid, trilogy like The Hangover gets upgraded to a higher spot than the brilliant Dark Knight or the stupendous Lord Of The Rings, then hear me out before you zone out. No other trilogy has come close to defining the generations of decadence we live in more than Hangover. While LOTR or The Dark Knight can definitely be viewed as conventional list topping choices, I choose to highlight this one because when it first released, the concept was utterly unique. The plot prided itself on its nonsensical theme and absurd feel. That was the USP. While the subsequent ones are a tad repetitive, they have inspired a new genre in filmmaking. A movie like Bridesmaids would never have been made had there not been a Hangover. This movie belongs to the Gen X and that is why it is number two.
1. James Bond
James Bond has twenty three films under his belt, not three. Why then does it land the coveted first position on this list? Ian Fleming wrote spectacular spy novels which Albert Broccoli turned into pretty good movies, given the time they were made in. But though the franchise has legions of loyal fans, the new generation can find little to resonate with the British spy of the past who suavely delivered dialogues, beat up the baddies and unconscientiously bedded women. No wonder than that Albert Broccoli’s granddaughter Barbara Broccoli, who inherited this heavy legacy, completely revamped the franchise and gave our beloved spy a new identity. He is still the Bond who delivers smooth dialogues and single handed chops down armies. He still lusts after gorgeous women. But he is not defined by that. He is so much more. Daniel Craig plays a disturbed Bond to perfection. His girls are also so much more than mere arm candy. Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd is the best that any Bond female has ever been, outshining Bond himself on occasion. Their beautiful love story, and Bond’s subsequent life after Lynd, makes for an astounding three movies that may not be claimed as trilogies, but need to be grouped thus to derive maximum watching pleasure. Casion Royale, Quantum of Solace and the inimitable Skyfall make for the most explosive trilogy that this millennium has seen so far and its brilliance is likely not to be repeated.