|Posted by Ratin8tor on July 13, 2012 at 5:10 PM|
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
Construction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction. Anyone familiar with Fullmetal Alchemist will get the reference. But for those that don't, the idea of Alchemy is that you take something (like a metal floor), deconstruct it and reconstruct it into something that you want (a metal spear for example). But Alchemy isn't the only place where this idea can be used. Trilogies too fall into the same pattern.
Lets explain what these terms mean in terms of story-telling. First off there's construction. This is where the story-teller constructs the world the story is set in. Setting, characters, background details etc. The beginning of the story. It's here where we, as an audience, are introduced to ideas and concepts that make up this world. The second part of the trilogy is where said ideas and concepts are deconstructed, where everything we know about the world is changed. Status quo is shaken up. The final instalment of the trilogy normally reconstructs the world after this change in status quo, fixing it so that things now run differently. But perhaps examples would do my explanation justice.
Nolan's Batman Trilogy: Okay this one is a bit hard because the third movie isn't released yet, but I can already guess what happens. Batman Begins sets up the world that the story takes place. We get introduced to Bruce Wayne, we see his origins and how Batman operates. In The Dark Knight the idea of Batman gets deconstructed when faced with the likes of the Joker and whether Batman is a good thing. Now I can guarantee that The Dark Knight Rises continues this deconstruction, what with Bane figuring out that Batman is Bruce Wayne. It will deconstruct the idea of Batman before ending with his reconstruction, bringing Batman into the new world post-Bane. Or not bringing him back, and show Gotham adapting in a world without Batman. Regardless I will put money on the fact that the film ends with the reconstruction of the Batman mythos.
Spider-Man: This is an easier example, since three films have already been released. The first one explains who Spider-Man is and what it is he does. The second one has him stripped of his powers and shows the downside of being a superhero, before he regains the mantel. The third one likewise deconstructs the idea of Spider-Man, but does bring him back at the end as the hero he's meant to be. The character has gone on a journey and become the character he was always destined to be.
Superman: Again, first film introduces audiences to Superman, the second one deconstructs the idea by removing Superman's powers and bringing in evil versions of Superman for him to fight, and the third film (or fifth, if you let Superman III and IV exist) likewise reconstructs him as a hero for the 21st Century and proves that he has a reason to exist after all. They rebuild the mythos after he has been away for so long.
But this doesn't work with just superheroes films, oh no. Other trilogies get in the act.
Star Wars: Sets up the universe in which it is set, who the characters are etc. The second film deconstructs it by not having the good guys lose, but radically shake up Luke's character by revealing that Darth Vader is his father (spoilers BTW). Finally the third film reconstructs it by showing that the heroes can come out on top and that love is still powerful, despite the second film showing that it doesn't seem to be.
Pirates of the Caribbean: First film sets up the pirate world and the fact that there are supernatural elements. Now things get complicated if you class 2 and 3 as one film. If you don't then 2 deconstructs the idea of piracy (since Davy Jones is to hunt them), while 3 shows that piracy is strong. However I argue that since 2 and 3 are meant to be one movie it's a deconstruction of the pirate genre, since movie 3 is all about the bad guys ridding themselves of piracy. And while I haven't seen the fourth movie, I bet it reconstructs the pirate genre by doing something new with it and showing how it survives post-East India Trading Company Era.
Harry Potter: Okay while it's 'technically' a septology there's a clear trilogy in it; and I don't mean the one that runs book 5-7. No Books 1, 2 and 3 all set up the world in which Harry Potter is set. It explains everything to the audience. They're also very idealistic. 4 and 5 are the shake up of the status quo, what with the first major death and Voldermort returning, as well as everyone learning of Voldermort's existence. The final 2 books are the reconstruction since it's about Harry fighting back against this new status quo and trying his best to set things back to normal.
So can this really cover all trilogies? Well all stories follow the same pattern. The beginning is the construction, the middle is the part where what is set up in the beginning is changed due to the inciting incident (deconstructing the world so to speak), then after the climax the characters adapt to their new life after the climax has happened (reconstructing everything, so to speak). So since trilogies are just long stories, it makes sense they'd fit into this pattern.
So there you have it. You name a trilogy and chances are it'd fit into it. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.
Categories: In Too Deep