1) I believe the epic of Star Wars successfully melded the hero’s journey stages appropriately leading to easy acceptance by the audience as a true classic. For example, the story follows Luke Skywalker, who, unbeknownst to him, was about to become a hero and embark upon an epic journey. The tale began with Luke as an innocent young man with no ambition beyond working on his uncle’s farm on his home planet. Through assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was introduced to a “supernatural’ awakening to the force, which he himself unwillingly possessed.
Through various plot twists, he began his journey and finally was in search of the master, Yoda, to help him better understand himself and the force within him. After which, through many battles against the Dark Side of the force, he finally returned as a master Jedi. He saved his friends from a giant slug.
This series of films followed the formula well, especially if it is broken down specifically to Campbell’s definition of a hero’s journey. This quest of Luke Skywalker has what seems to be the major enforcer of all great mythologies, and that is a moral, or “light side’ hero versus the immoral, or “dark side’. I wonder if the hero’s journey formula is what the film’s creators followed in order to gain such a following as the series now possesses, despite the hidden, religion-based foundation.
2) I feel that most good films, i.e., those that seek to do more than entertain, expand on the four functions of mythology, in other words, human curiosity. When a story is written, the director or writer sits down and tries to envision what he/she wants the audience to get out of the film. I imagine they begin by surveying the four functions of mythology, which would encompass the metaphysical, cosmological, sociological, and psychological aspects of the human experience. It is interesting how some films go so far as to begin the film with the main character as an infant and end with the main character old, experienced, and near death. Through these four life aspects using mythology, this directs the audience to examine their own experiences and helps the film connect each of us to who we are, who we will be, and how we hope to reach our life’
I agree with you that films follow the four functions of mythology. I do think though that even movies that are meant to just entertain people do also follow the 4 functions of mythology. I also think your choice of Star Wars was cool. I was thinking about using it but I decided against it because I haven’t watched it in a really long time. It was fun to read your thoughts about it.
I agree with you in that writers by thinking what their audience may like, may possibly be thinking about the four functions of mythology. It seems to me that this functions represent the different genres of movies, such as drama, action, suspense and comedy. The Star Wars movie was a very good choice, you can clearly see the hero’s journey in it.
I deliberately did not mention the fourth function in my post for brevity reasons, but since I didn’t and I liked what you had to say for your second response question above, I will take what you said and expand on my post as well. Where you mentioned how some films follow an infant until they are very old in life, I believe also these types of films serve to help us reflect on certain life choices we see ourselves and others make. One of my favorite films of all time is Forrest Gump. In Forrest Gump, we see the character Forrest portrayed at a very young age until he is older and a father, and how he grew up during many exciting times in our nation’s history. Hopefully some of the things we saw in the movie help someone someday reflect on things they saw which were positive and not so positive in the movie, and reflect on them accordingly.
Good choice on Star Wars, that’s my jam! To elaborate I would say you were more specifically talking about Star Wars episode 4: A New Hope (fitting title for a hero journey). But, I think this was a great choice, because it literally covers every item just about in “The Hero’s Journey Defined” article.