Monday, May 19, 2014

The Directors Project: What Makes Up a Trilogy?

From Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
With the deadline for The Directors Project submissions coming this week, there is one question that is likely on some people's minds: how am I going to grade a trilogy? In all sincerity, this question may seem a little grating if one were to just assume that this was referencing the familiar line-up of "Part 1, Part 2, Part 3..." In fact, am I going to grade films with more than four as having an additional bonus count? No. Find out why after the jump.

There is some respect that comes with a Trilogy. It plays like a story in the traditional sense of Part 1 (Beginning), Part 2 (Middle), Part 3 (End). While this isn't always the case, it has been accepted enough as tradition for this to be set in stone. If a film series were to go into their fourth film or higher, they will be graded as if they were an additional entry irrelevant to that story. To spoil what's to come, this isn't going to be the case too often. This is largely thanks to the popular notion that trilogies are a fitting time frame.

From there, things become complicated. To start off simple, let's have a refresher. The trilogy will only get additional points rewarded if they are by the same director. No franchise or studio will get bonus points. For instance, in the case of the Iron Man films, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 are directed by Jon Favreau, which means that he gets credit for those. Iron Man 3 was directed by Shane Black, thus disqualifying any potential points. There's also nothing rewarded for the Marvel Extended Universe. Besides each film not being done by the same director anyways, each character's films are seen as their respective Trilogy. Thor gets Thor and Thor: The Dark World and Captain America gets Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. No one receives credit in this instance for The Avengers, as it will be judged as a standalone film until its sequel.

Then there are deeper questions of what constitutes a Trilogy. Majority of people already subscribe to the numbers theory. This is evident and fine. However, not all trilogies are listed in this manner. There are "thematic trilogies," or films with shared ideals and values that don't share a linear narrative. Do these qualify? Yes, though only in the sense that it is accepted by popular culture as a trilogy. What does this mean? Director Edgar Wright released "The Cornetto Trilogy," consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End. These films are very dissimilar, yet share similar actors and recurring gags. There's also director Krysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors Trilogy," which is the same case. 

What is the easiest way to differentiate between really similar films and a Trilogy? Besides popular acceptance, the rule of thumb is to consult Wikipedia, which may at times be factually incorrect, but also gives a general consensus on where many people stand. For instance, where The Cornetto Trilogy and Three Colors Trilogy are common knowledge, director Lars von Trier's "Depression Trilogy" is less the case with Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac. However, as long as consultation with Wikipedia reflects that a series of films is part of a Trilogy, then they will count. Of this series, the only controversial Trilogy is director Kevin Smith's "New Jersey Trilogy," which actually features five films. At this juncture, point values will only be given to the first three films. Any subsequent Trilogy following this deviation will receive equal treatment.

And finally, is there going to be a joint point value for multiple trilogies by the same director? No. Where director Sam Raimi has both the Evil Dead trilogy and the Spiderman trilogy, he will be judged individually for each.

Also, while it is evident, any Trilogy that doesn't follow these rules will be disqualified. Basically, with this week being the deadline, no film whose third film is being released and seen after this Friday will count. The most obvious case would be director Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, which doesn't come out until this Fall. 

There you have it. that's it for the laws constituting what makes up a Trilogy. While this all should have been evident to readers, I felt the need to clarify all of the information in order to avoid any controversial disarray upon the posting of the entries. Also, there is an update regarding release schedules. With there being 50 entries, I will attempt to release them every 12 hours so that they are available at noon and midnight for most of the summer. While there is subject to conflicts, I am hoping to make this the case.

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