Choosing the Ultimate Trilogy of All Times is a tough call. There are many contestants: Spider Man, Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Jaws, Terminator, Back to the Future etc. If we are however to take into account total grosses, there are two trilogies that set themselves apart from all the rest and tightly compete for first place: Star Wars 1-3 and The Lord of the Rings.
Their fan base is enormous, to the degree that they both have annual conventions, festivals, anniversaries and they sustain a large fancy dress and merchandising production. To reach a conclusion we will base our research on scientific investigation, comparing and contrasting similar elements. Besides, as Einstein suggested with his theory of relativity, an object has certain attributes only in relation to another.
1. Originality: Star Wars 10 | Lord of the Rings 9
George Lucas’ trilogy is loosely based on The Hidden Fortress – by Akira Kurosawa. George Lucas has acknowledged this influence particularly the technique of telling a story from many points of view including from the film’s lesser characters. For his originality, creativity and ingenious script-writing adaptation skills we grant the movie a 10.
The Lord of the Rings is based on the Tolkien Trilogy as well as the Ralph Bakshi 1978 animated movie, which used a method of rotoscoping –a technique in which animators trace over live-action recorded images, frame by frame. Though impressive for its time, the animated movie seems naïve, not to mention that it generated mixed feelings. Michael Barrier, an animation historian said “that Bakshi was utterly lacking in the artistic self-discipline that might have permitted him to outgrow his limitations.” The Peter Jackson version doesn’t add much originality to the storyline, as it keeps faithful to the text, but we grant it a 9 for the sheer fact that critics liked it.
2. Characters: Star Wars 10 | Lord of the Rings 7
Both Frodo and Luke Skywalker are farmers destined to be saviors. Messiah type of characters who have a calling, despite the fact that they originate from humble backgrounds. Hayden Christensen’s performance wins the show in Star Wars as the dehumanized Anakin Skywalker. Even a real robot couldn’t seem so robotic and at the same time so symbolic of the mechanization of mankind. The characters and dialogues in George Lukas’ epics although following classic stereotypes (the hero, the anti-hero, the helper, the princess) were treated in a completely novel way compared with any sci-fi to date.
While Frodo, remains a multilayered character with psychological motivation (as Tolkien himself had intended him to be) and Elijah Wood’s performance is convincing, Lord of the Rings’ female characters are much more simplistic. Peter Jackson seems to be focusing more on displaying their beauty rather than developing their characters. They therefore come across as pretty and superficial and for this the movie loses points.
3. Visual Effects: Star Wars 10 | Lord of the Rings 10
Both films are renowned for their cinematography and special effects. Although this alone is not enough to judge a film’s quality (storyline and character development is what normally captures a viewer) they are indicative of the work and inspiration that has gone into them.
In Lord of the Rings, the Gollum alone is enough to give the movie full points.
Star Wars was released over 30 years ago, which means that its special effects were not so advanced, however they were impressive for their time. More recently it has been re-released with CGI improvements while Lukas never stopped making his further improvements to the original releases. Star Wars also won an Academy Award for New Hope and has been nominated twice.
Score: Star Wars 30 | Lord of the Rings 26
This article was written by Joker’s Masquerade, leading providers of fancy dress costumes in the UK
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