Friday, November 21, 2014

The Trilogy Within An Ongoing Series

The Dream Child brings to a close a story line that began with A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.  It continued through 3 films.  Among a franchise that sports 8 entries in its original canon is this nice, complete standalone trilogy.  You can basically start fresh in Dream Warriors and work your way through Dream Child and the story lines (I'm not talking film quality here) come to a satisfying and concise conclusion.  With Dream Child we're left with Alice going off happily ever after with her life free of Freddy and with baby and Daddy in tow.  We never hear from any of these characters again.  They leave us with the promise that Freddy is probably still out there, but he'll never be harming Alice again.

Call me weird, but I'm just kinda fascinated by this, right smack dab in the middle of a series we get something that could easily stand alone.  And its likely unintentional that it happened that way intentionally.  Its also not the first or only time its ever been done in a film series before.  Granted, you have to have a lot of entries in your series for it to work, and horror is a genre that has the most series in the high numbers.  But not just because its a big series does this always happen.  Resident Evil has 5 entries, going on 6, but its a continuous story.  And I don't count starting as a trilogy and then afterthoughting a fourth film to branch off either like the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies.

Here are some of the more notable Trilogies Within A Series that have happened over the years.   We've actually covered almost all of these in Retrospectives on Naptown Nerd.  Basically, they don't start with the first entry and their stories are tied to events from the first movie to the third film in that run.  Do you have any you can think of?  Let me know!

The Tommy Jarvis Trilogy
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning
Jason Lives: Friday The 13th Part VI

This trilogy basically revolves around the life of one guy and his run ins with Jason.  Heck, wait a minute, just the one guy named Tommy Jarvis, Jason isn't even truly in one of these movies.  We first meet Tommy Jarvis as a kid, then to a halfway house for institutionalized teens and then finally on the run to finish off Jason once and for all.  He was played by different actors each time, though Corey Feldman reprised his role for a dream sequence in V.  To its benefit, The Final Chapter and Jason Lives are the two very best Friday The 13th movies.  I also have a big admiration for how crazy, weird and sleazy Part V is, but we'll save that for the glorious day we cover this franchise.  Tommy survived, but didn't appear in any more films as Jason went on to kill 5 more times in his original canon.

The Jamie Lloyd Trilogy or The Thorn Trilogy
Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers
Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers

I'd prefer this to be the Jame Lloyd Trilogy as the Thorn briefly makes appearances in 5 and the filmmakers didn't even know what it was and doesn't come to fruition til 6.  Halloween 4 could easily be a startup point for someone in the series as Michael's bogeyman background is built through discussion just as it was in the original.  Each of these film ended with a cliffhanger or questions to be answered in the following film.  While its not the cleanest of endings, the theatrical cut of Curse actually seems to tie up things with Dr. Loomis once and for all and Tommy, Kara, Danny and baby Steven appear to be heading out of harm's way.  This little run of 3 films has its own little story to tell and its a point where the series got to be its messiest (not worst, I said "messiest") in terms of plotlines. 

Dream Trilogy
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Easily, they all have "Dream" in their title and the rest of the movies don't.  As I mentioned above, the plot details and characters established in 3 weave in and out of the following two films.  Freddy's mother's connection, dream warrior abilities and just the whole ongoing story.  Our main character for this is Alice, but we don't get to meet her until the 4th film.  Instead we get a lead in Kristen for 3, but she manages to be more of character to bridge us to Alice when all is said and done.  

Caesar Trilogy
Escape From The Planet Of The Apes
Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes
Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

Basically starts afresh with the "reverse" plot of the original film.  This part of the series has us following the birth of Caesar to the construction of Ape-Human civilization.  Caesar may not be the lead in the first film (Alice wasn't in Dream Warriors, too), but themes and events begin setting into motion what would come to form the rest of the movies.  Plus, with the first film we get a strong sense of where Caesar came form, who he is and what people have been through to get him to where he would be.

Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

There's got to be a better name for this Trilogy than that, right?  That's what its called on its official Blu-ray release (which is available in its own separate edition if you're not a fan of I, V & VI).  Spock dies in the end of Wrath Of Khan, which sets in motion the events of Star Trek III, in which IV picks up right where III left off.  Star Trek IV could easily be a self contained film, but where it begins, the crew's situation and Spock's character development all predicate that you've seen the previous two films.  Its one big adventure spanned over 3 films.  The rest are their own entities.  This is the meat of the Star Trek motion pictures and the best run of films in the series (though my second favorite is VI).  

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