The worst trilogies
Following on from the feature The Best Trilogies, which was to celebrate the third birthday of Filmstalker, I thought we could segway nicely into the worst trilogies. Now we'd already hit a stumbling block in the first feature about what really does constitute a trilogy, but let's go with the lose definition we used for the first.
What are the worst trilogies that you can think of? It may be a lot harder than you think, but I'm sure this kicks off one straight away for many older film fans.
Star Wars Episodes I through III. Yes on their own they aren't that bad, but linked to the first Star Wars trilogy that came along and the cultural impact that they had, this trilogy had a hard road to climb.
There's also the fact that the series ended up changing a lot from the first three films so Lucas went back and altered them, and all the character changes. Already it's no wonder it gets a bad press from older audiences.
However is that a truly bad trilogy? It does have some terrible aspects to it, starts off badly, loses great characters early on and weakens the image of Darth Vader, but it's not the worst.
There are quite a list of trilogies out there, and a fair list that I'd like to include here that have a strong first film and two weak follow-ups, but it's just not quite fair to kill the first film with the weaker films that follow, trilogies such as the Mr. Ripley trilogy, Naked Gun, Mimic, The Fly, perhaps even RoboCop, and definitely Starship Troopers.
You can see a pattern with these where the first film has some promise, is handled poorly, but has enough that the studio thinks they can make more money out of them, films like Species or Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Legally Blonde or The Addams Family, Final Destination or Look Who's Talking.
I think it's a bit unfair to pick on these trilogies as the worst don't you? Or do you think that the film should be judged with the following poor sequels? Does it depend on if the same people were behind the scenes or if the studios took on other creatives to continue the work, just cheaper and poorer? Do the following films really take down the first one?
That said, there are plenty of trilogies that are just plain bad, and while I can't name one as the worst (because there are just so many bad ones out there) I can pick out some of the more famous names that are poor.
Let's bring up a couple, and see what you think, and this is where I really do believe we're going to find some complete polarised opinions.
What do you think about K-9. I have no idea what James Belushi was thinking in doing these three films, and so close to Turner and Hooch too, at least that film new when to quit, after the first one, if not before!
Anaconda? Oh my dear lord. That first one should never have been made, did you see that rubber snake? How did names such as Owen Wilson, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight and Eric Stoltz get caught up in this film? Well we know how Ice Cube got there, but the rest? A terrible film that went onto more than a trilogy.
Maniac Cop is a franchise I really can't speak much on, but I've heard it's terrible. So terrible it has a cult status and probably is about to cause me to get verbal bashing from a few people. Well I guess it's unfair of me to put this in the list when I am just going on hearsay, so you can decide if it belongs here or not.
Actually here is a film that I think I can talk about since I've seen it and falls into exactly the same category I was just talking about, Re-Animator. That's a film that some will say is complete rubbish and others will love because of the cult status it has, I'm not entirely sure where I'd throw this one, but considering the sequels I'm tempted to throw it on the rubbish heap.
NeverEnding Story, which is about to start again with a remake, is a pile of rubbish and certainly belongs on this list. I don't believe that people are arguing it's the fore-runner to Harry Potter, it's a poor film that I just hated and never wanted it to continue. Mind you look what I know, it's still going even today!
Porky's has another love/hate relationship. I'm on the hating side I'm afraid, especially now I've gone through years more of seeing American comedies concentrate on the same things time and time again, jokes about sex and bodily functions just don't impress me any more, and back when I watched Porky's I didn't find it that funny at the time either.
You know I watched the original Creepshow recently and it just didn't stand up in the same way as when I first saw it, and that's a real shame because I remember really liking it, but then I think that was when I was more in awe of Stephen King before I really felt he was repeating himself in his novels. Creepshow was a good concept and felt good at the time, it's not aged well though and the sequels are most definitely not as strong.
Eddie Murphy continued to kiss his career goodbye by starring in two of the Doctor Dolittle films, a franchise that is absolutely terrible. I don't really think you can say that the first film is a good one can you? Well perhaps it is for kids who are now Murphy's main demographic.
The Santa Clause is a nice series, well a “nice” first film, one of those warming and silly little films. However I must admit that it did have a pleasing little feeling inside of me. That said, it wasn't a great film and the trilogy went from limp to limper.
Despite there being a huge list I've made for me to talk about and cherry pick from, I'm going to leave with one more trilogy that I really don't like, Rush Hour. Not only does it make Jackie Chan look like a former image of himself, contrived moments and poor jokes. Let's face it people it's a bad trilogy, it really is, and perhaps one of the biggest on this list.
However there's a clear pattern here, and despite my efforts to separate the two lists you can't really. Each of these trilogies has started off with a strong film and waned down, strong as in terms of the rest of the trilogy that is, perhaps not the rest of cinema.
I do think it's easy to pick off some awful trilogies when you delve into the lower end of the film-making bucket, that's easy, just go into the realms of fantasy and horror and you'll find tons. I've tried to keep to the more mainstream ones, the more known about.
What do you think though, are there titles in here that you think don't deserve to be labelled as the worst trilogies? Should Star Wars be in there? What do you think are the worst trilogies?