1. What movies can you recall–besides The Matrix, which was mentioned in the lecture notes–that follow the thread of The Hero’s Journey? When you cite your film, or films, be sure to judge whether or not you believe the general formula was appropriated well or poorly; and, moreover, describe a few scenes that match some of the stages of the journey, such as done in the video in the lecture notes.
Honestly, there are many great examples for this topic, and like Victoria mentioned, most heroic movie plots are very similar. However, there is one movie that comes right to my head (beside the Matrix, because that is my favorite movie of all time! It would have been my choice for this…). My choice is Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom. I love all the Indiana Jones movies and honestly any of the would fit the Hero’s Journey no problem but, I haven’t watched these films in awhile (I am not a movie person…at all) but, The Temple of Doom is the one that I have the best memory of. So lets explore why its so fitting, my memory is somewhat vague so bare with me if your a movie buff. Call to adventure: Indiana finds Intel about some magical stones, after being ‘setup’ following a plane crash, Indiana arrived to a small village where all the children have gone missing, these magical stones are responsible for this, thus the call to action for Indiana.Now, super natural aid and mentor are sort of meshed together in this flick, because he gets help from a person in this great library where he finds clues and information to direct his journey. I would say he gets the opposite of super natural aid (or where mother nature supports the hero) because in the Indianan Jones movies the ‘supernatural’ seems to guard the mystical item thus working against him. Now, Indiana certainly gets his series of helpers along the way, followed by a series of shortcomings where he is unsure what is the truth. Usually around half to two-thirds the way through the film he finds the “Abyss” or as mentioned in the reading this would be considered the Apotheosis. He finds some great information or understanding that leads him to know exactly what to do. However, instead of the trials coming before the abyss they come after, because usually once this great information is dawned on him, he gets captured, and in the this film, gets brain washed for a little while, making his friends have to save him in order for the mission to carry on. After they rescue him, they scatter and fight a bunch of bad guys and barely succeed in their mission as they flee to victory and Indiana saves the day and then he ‘returns home’ to do professor things.
2. Do you believe current cinema either meets or fails to meet the human needs expressed in the four functions of mythology? Those needs would be: the need for mystery; the need for a picture of the universe in which human beings belong; the need for a picture of our society in which each person belongs; the need for a picture of our own psychology that helps with the transitions of a human life, from childhood to adulthood, from adulthood to death. Can movies meet any of these needs? Why or why not?
Well as Simon mentioned, I think that in making movies directors and writers work to touch on all those topics, however, in the film I chose I don’t thick they were successful in doing ‘all’ of the functions (if they were trying too that is). Now, the use of mystery is obviously apparent in all the Jones films, but the last topic “the need for a picture of our own psychology that helps with the transition of human life…” is not so apparent and really not present for that matter. It does show the diverse setting for different characters and that each person has their place is this mystical world.
Movies can defiantly meet those needs, it may be hard to meet all of them though. The reason I think they try to meet those functions, is because those four functions are the basis of human life really, since we’ve been alive there is always mystery in the world around us and the need for a picture of the universe is different from person to person so meeting those needs provides depth and uniqueness to a film (i.e. Avatar compared to Star Wars). The transition of human life function also follows my previous comment, in some films its vital for making the setting and plot.