The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

There have been some great action trilogies over the years introducing film lovers to great characters and exciting storylines.

As The Dark Knight Rises Trilogy is released to buy on 3rd December, we take a look at the 5 best action movie trilogy's of all time...

- Mad Max Trilogy (1979 - 1985)

(Mad Max, Mad Max 2, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome)

Australian action director George Miller ('Lethal Weapon') cut his teeth on the groundbreaking and hugely entertaining post-apocalyptic 'Max Max' trilogy. The low-budget original 1979 movie cast a young and charismatic Mel Gibson as a cop who gets vengeance on a biker gang who attack his family.

This exciting and pacy film set box office profit records and was followed up by the epic and action packed 'Mad Max 2' (known as 'The Road Warrior' in the US). The unhinged sequel kept the dystopian vision of a future Australia but added some of the best car chases and action ever put on screen.

Many of the stunts are so violent that it seems amazing no-one died in the shoot. This sequel raised the profile of the series significantly, particularly in the States. The final film, 'Max Mad Beyond Thunderdome' wrapped up the trilogy.

This last film kept the apocalyptic feel but toned down the weirdness whilst adding a bigger budget Hollywood feel to the characters and action. The last section of 'Thunderdome' was criticised for a focus on the child characters but it was still a well deserved smash hit on release.

The 'Mad Max' series introduced us to the first apocalyptic hero and it still holds up thanks to Mel Gibson's star quality and George Miller's knack for kinetic action. George Miller actually has a whole new 'Mad Max' trilogy in the works right now. This one stars our own Tom Hardy in the title role.

- Alien Trilogy (1979 - 2012)

(Prometheus, Alien, Aliens)

Despite the many films that now exist in the wider 'Alien' world, there is a good argument now for the best 'Alien Trilogy' to include Ridley's Scott's 2012 hit 'Prometheus' as the first in the series.

The epic movie is clearly setting up the events that lead to Scott's own 1979 hit 'Alien', and it does this without taking anything away from the earlier film. 'Prometheus' is an epic sci-fi fantasy film with incredible visuals, some great scares and twists aplenty leading to an open-ended conclusion.

The film has provoked debate and it seems likely that it will increasingly be regarded as a classic fantasy adventure worthy of repeated views. 23 years older - but set after the events of 'Prometheus' - is Scott's original and brilliant 1979 monster movie 'Alien'.

This was his first venture into sci-fi and a simpler and smaller budget affair. ‘Alien’ exploded on late '70s culture thanks to a brilliant marketing campaign and it's tense, believable atmosphere. The fantastic sets were enhanced by the horrific vision and designs of the now legendary Swiss artist H.R. Geiger.

James Cameron followed Scott's lead by keeping Sigourney Weaver and the Geiger look universe but adding a dose of serious firepower and action. 'Aliens' is another stone-cold classic and arguably one of the best action rollercoasters of all time.

Together these three films form one of the most entertaining trilogies in cinema history. That said, Ridley Scott is planning a sequel to Prometheus itself that should add another classic to the series and broaden the 'Alien' universe even more.

- Star Wars Trilogy (1977 - 1983)

(A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi)

What more can be said about George Lucas original space epic series? It's still arguably the best action trilogy of all time and the pop culture references seem see no sign of stopping.

Lucas poured his entire being into the first film and he deserves huge credit for the vision and drive that led to the classic film he produced. The planets aligned for 'Star Wars' (aka 'A New Hope') as Lucas and his team put all the best aspects of sci-fi and fantasy's past into a high energy modern vision of the distant past.

It worked because the universe and action felt like they really existed. The characters of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were played to perfection by the cast whilst the droids and Darth Vader worked better than anyone could have predicted from the script.

Everything became instantly iconic and the model for the modern blockbuster franchise was born. This is true escapism and led to unsurprisingly levels of instant devotion. 'The Empire Strikes Back' was a brilliant follow up in 1981, aided by the maturing cast and the extra story focus of director Irvin Kershner.

1983's Return of the Jedi has the weakest script of the three films but delivers many of the biggest thrills right from the off. Like all the best trilogy's the story arc neatly comes to a conclusion at the end of the third chapter.

Whether you watch the Original versions or the Special Editions this is an essential series for each new generation of film lovers. Stop press: Brand new 'Star Wars' films have been announced to come from 2015. We can only hope they take their cues from these original, unbeatable movies.

- The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001 - 2005)

(The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King)

Before The Dark Knight trilogy the ultimate modern epic was undoubtedly Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings saga. The first thing to say is that it's amazing that this series of films were made at all.

The scale of the project and opposition from the Tolkien estate were real issues that Jackson and his team managed to overcome during the epic shoot.

It was a brilliant move to include the most celebrated Tolkien artists to visualise the world and Jackson's own company, Weta, did a fine job on the impressive effects. Choosing to make the films dark and violent gave the series more weight and common appeal than any other previous fantasy movies.

The intensity of the trilogy influenced both Hollywood and TV series to push the boundaries of violence and darkness in various films and shows, possibly including 'The Dark Knight' series. Some may argue that the films strayed too far from some key aspects of the books but there is no argument that the movies worked.

All three of them were instantly successful and broke box office records whilst winning stacks of Awards. The first movie is perhaps the most satisfying but all three work as a seamless 11 hour marathon of escapism.

The consistency of the movies is perhaps thanks to the choice of shooting it all in one go and keeping the same production talent throughout the making of the trilogy. This is a truly magical set of films. And after some legal wrangling, we can look forward to the first of Peter Jackson's new The Hobbit trilogy this Winter.

- The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005 - 2012)

(Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises)

The movie version of Batman was in need of a major rethink after Joel Schumacher's tragic 1997 flop 'Batman and Robin'. In stepped our own Christopher Nolan with a new darker vision, believable world and a truly scary bad guy from Cillian Murphy. Liam Neeson also added gravitas and Christian Bale brought the perfect level of charismatic intensity to the lead role.

The film was a hit and Batman was exciting again. Nolan now had a world to work with and with help from his brother Jonathan he crafted and incredibly epic and involving follow up that became the super smash hit The Dark Knight.

The 2008 movie showed that blockbusters could be complex and seriously dark. The film made over $1b worldwide and won awards and love from critics and devoted fans. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor for his brilliant portrayal of The Joker after his tragic accidental death after the shoot.

Nolan struck again. Expectation was through the roof for the even more epic follow-up The Dark Knight Rises. Luckily Nolan pulled out all the stops with some great new additions to the cast and a pacy storyline that received rave reactions from press and punters alike.

The powerful finale delivers everything you could possibly want from the third and final film in Nolan's trilogy. The Dark Knight series is a modern classic that deserves adulation and repeated views. How will Nolan follow this?

The Dark Knight Rises is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download now.


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