When Kevin Costner told an interviewer that the writers of his serial-killer thriller Mr. Brooks presented it to him as a potential trilogy, warning lights should have flashed for him and everyone else. Was that why the already-bloated film floated the suggestion that serial killing could be hereditary? Did the filmmakers envision a Daughter of Mr. Brooks down the line?
The success of the Star Wars movies and The Lord of the Rings films have roused trilogy-mania among Hollywood moviemakers. But instead of spurring their creativity, it's inspired them to pack their focus into plot. Rather than realize that some franchises, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Spider-Man, are built on quirky characters and humor, they've tried to spin slender genre story lines into elaborate parabolas that choke off spontaneity and wit. And when filmmakers such as the Mr. Brooks team look too far ahead from the outset, they may not recognize that they've failed to make a single good film in the first place.