Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Can Sam Raimi pull off a trilogy?

There's a preview for Spiderman 3 that's hitting the video sites. If you want to watch it, I've posted it below-- the first half is some story scenes and the second half is a battle. It has some minor spoilers, so if you don't want to know anything about the movie until May 4, skip this one.

Holy shnikes that looked pretty awesome, didn't it? It's good to see director Sam Raimi still shows that same love of details in the midst of big chaos.

Based on this preview, some of my fears have been calmed. I mean, Spidey 3 looks like it'll be pretty busy -- how many bad guys again? I counted Green Goblin 2, Venom, that clay guy...-- but it looks like it'll still be fun.

In fact, I'll throw this out there: could Sam Raimi be the only modern filmmaker capable of pulling off the trilogy?

My two caveats to this theory: Lord of the Rings doesn't count since it was three books, so it was a ready-made trilogy that just needed a big budget and an epic-minded but fastidiously attentive director to make it happen. And Final Destination... although it is glorious Rube Goldberg-inspired murder porn that has kept up the mayhem for 3 movies, it's had different writers/directors each time around. Same deal with Terminator 3, which was a good popcorn flick with a "Oh no they di'n't!" ending but no James Cameron.

Otherwise, think about it. Godfather 3 might as well have never happened. Back To The Future sputtered by the end. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was only good for 15 minutes. The Matrix got bogged down in its own mythology. I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Austin Powers, but the sequels never really reached the heights of the original. No other comedy trilogy is worth mentioning (Beverly Hills Cop 3? Major League: Back To The Minors anyone?). I dunno what'll happen to Pirates of the Caribbean, but the over-long, over-conflicted second entry hasn't filled me with confidence.

The only other trilogies I can think of that have worked have been Evil Dead for consistently ramping up the ludicrous horror kitsch... and potentially Spiderman. All Sam Raimi.

And Star Wars... oh, Star Wars... of the original trilogy, all I have to say is, "Ewoks." I don't want to hear it. They're not cute; they're a shameless marketing gimmick. After the dark and relatively nuanced Empire, Jedi was a hell of a disappointment.

And I don't think anyone would disagree with my assertion that, box office receipts notwithstanding, the prequel trilogy was nothing but an interminable failure throughout.

Sample dialog:
Anakin: Padme, I love loving you as much as a loving love river can erode a deep loving love canyon into the love ground.

Padme: Awww, I love the loving way you love me. By the way, I think you're evil and I'm going to make a blatant, cloying pander to the audience's memory of the first trilogy by implying that you might kill Obi Wan Kenobi.

Anakin: Awww, don't say that. I could never kill Obi Wan Kenobi and let the dramatic irony of what I just said be the only decent part of this entire trilogy.

Padme: Aww, I wub you.

Although, I'll give Star Wars this: It's inspired a whole cottage industry of internet videos, some of which are actually worth watching.

Like this guy, still funny 5 years later:

Or Robot Chicken's airing of grievances about the movies:

Or this recent entry, which between its innovative choreography, (for low budget internet flicks, mind you: this isn't Hero with lightsabers), total absence of retarded dialog, and nice use of physical humor (I won't spoil it, but the 4:23 mark will make your day), is easily better than the entirety of the prequels. Trust me, it's worth the time.

Don't let the 10-minute run time fool you; 3 of those are credits.


Jake said...

can we PLEASE discuss the absolute atrocities that is the (soon-to-be) Bourne Identity trilogy?

most people will say this: first one was pretty entertaining, second one was a bit too obsessed with capturing every scene from 54000 different angles but still enjoyable.

anybody who has read the books: what the hell do these movies have to do with the Bourne Identity?

Erin Mc said...

I'm gonna be a nerd and admit that I enjoyed all Karate Kid movies... hell I even saw The Next Karate Kid with pre-Oscar Hilary Swank a few times when it would be on a movie channel. My personal favorite is Karate Kid Part 2, the one where Pat Morita and Ralph Machio go to Morita's hometown of Okinawa and Daniel-son finds out that honor is the most important thing to defend. OH! and it features "The Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera of Chicago. Oh man, it doesn't get any better.

I'll admit the third one isn't as great as the first 2, but I still like it.