It didn’t take too long – a couple of days perhaps – for the head-ups in Paramount to announce they would be dishing out money for a sequel to this weekend’s “World War Z”. I will try and stay ‘zen’ about all that, because every single time I hear that a good financial performance is enough for some people in Hollywood to plop a number two on a film (not that kind of ‘number two’), a little part of me dies. Seriously, how many decent films ended up ruined, due to being pointlessly over-extended? I think I might sit down and list a couple at some point in time, but for the sake of argument, think about “Die Hard”, or “Planet of the Apes” and how pathetically ridiculous it was to keep them going until the viewers called the producers on their bulls**t.
But that’s not the problem here. What bothers me nowadays, and I know I’m not alone in this, is the fact that potential blockbusters and/or surprisingly well performing underdogs are already planned out into trilogies. I mean – what the hell? What makes you think it’s right to take any story and extend it into two additional films? Especially that a trilogy by definition cannot consist of three random stories, that share protagonists, or the universe all jumbled together under the same banner; it simply doesn’t work that way. A trilogy needs to be carefully framed to have each of the chapters as their own separate entities bound together into a larger design that only the three stories together can unravel. The same rules apply to any framework, be it a set of four, five, seven or twelve parts. Quite simply speaking, for a trilogy to make sense, one cannot be allowed to pick up any randomly chosen part of it without creating gaping holes in his knowledge of the story arcs.
And in Hollywood nobody seems to care, because it is apparently sexy to apply the rule of three to anything that moves. Seriously, is it at all necessary to take “Prometheus” and already plan it out to be a trilogy? And how does any of this work for shameful duds like “The Hangover”? Really? Just because the first one was quite funny, does it mean we need more of the same dressed up as a ‘trilogy’? It just doesn’t make sense… And it’s not about the idea of making a sequel, because it is a totally separate matter. It seems that every time a film does well in the theatres, I might as well start counting down until I see the remaining ‘parts of the trilogy’ be released. Whatever happened to telling stories within the same universe? If you really have to, please make it easier on yourselves and skip the rule of three because half the time it doesn’t look right and the only thing that it would share with an actual trilogy would be the amount of volumes that it constitutes.
I seriously doubt we need to see “World War Z” as a trilogy. I know that the book contains countless arcs and peripheral stories, but confining oneself to three parts cannot be a good solution at all here. You can turn it into a collection of shorts, or a miniseries, or even a TV show if you must, but extending everything into trilogies is downright wrong and repulsive and there is no logical explanation for it.
While I might understand that a new set of “Star Wars” films is being planned as a trilogy, but the precedent states the previous came in threes as well, and were mostly proper trilogies anyway. What I will never understand is stretching something like “The Hobbit” into three films; there’s no need for it, the book is short enough and it looks stupid, thank you very much. Is it only because three films make more money than one?
All this brings us to a point wherein we would be anticipating a trilogy virtually out of every little piece of crap that ends up bringing money. Even intellectual duds like “Transformers” ended up a trilogy. Yes, I know Michael Bay is making a fourth instalment, but it is leaving the original three with their characters and arcs alone and starting everything anew. And so, we will have “The Avengers Trilogy”, “The Independence Day Trilogy”, “Man of Steel Trilogy” and many more… And I could bet money that once “Pacific Rim” does well, we will see another two – exactly two, because it is not enough to bastardize decent films by proliferating them pointlessly. To please the average popcorn eater, we need to serve them their franchises in sets of three. Therefore, I cannot wait to see things like “Insidious 3 – the final whatever” (because why not), “Bridesmaids 3 – the fat one gets married”, or “Wall Street 3 – money goes camping”. And yes, sometimes I actually count on the big potential blockbusters to flop, because for once nobody will turn them into trilogies. Could you imagine what “28 months later” could possibly be about?