Friday, April 8, 2011

Source Code Archetype Analysis

     In the movie thriller "Source Code" trailer, the protagonist is tasked with an extermely unique misson, where he has eight minutes on a train destined to blow up and he must must find the culprit. The first time he is on the train, he meets a woman who seems to know him but he hasn't seen her in his life. He goes to the washroom and looks at a different man in the mirror, an archetype that shows he is uncertain about his identity. He is actually Captain Stevens, a person working with the Source Code, a computer program designed to allow the user to experience the last eight minutes of another man's life. As he continues in his atttempt to find the criminal, you get the feeling that he is fighting fate. As he begins to get closer to the woman on the train, he begins to devise a plan to let her survive. Since these events already occured, the audience knows that the main character is going against the plan of fate, so he is going to struggle in his attempts to save her. This shows how he is considered an Unbalanced Hero, as he begins to feel emotions for the woman which will take him off his mission's objective. Due to these new found feelings, his identity will change and represent him, thus showing the juxtoposition from the beginning where he sees another man in the mirror to where he feels like he knows his goals in life.

     Originally, Captain Stevens archetypal journey was the journey in search of knowledge for the person who blew up the train. Through the use of the Source Code, Captain Stevens goal was to save the people in the future from harm, not anyone on the train. This changes over the course of the trailer, as he begins the serach for love by rescuing the woman in danger. Due to the fact that he knows she is about to die, this gives Stevens compassion for her situation. The woman shown in the trailer is a modern version of the damsel in distress, due to the woman being vulnerable in her lack of knowledge of the impending danger of the train being blown up. The lack of time that the two characters have to spend with each other gives them a bond that is very unique, as they must make the most of those few moments. This fuels Stevens plan to save her, in his hope that they can progress in a normal relationship.

     As the movie progresses, I would expect the Death and Rebirth situation archetype to occur, because of how Captain Stevens is continually going from the present to the past and back again. This is different from most Death and Rebirth Archtypes, as this gives the character a different relationship with the woman, as he can continually progress while she is stuck in that same eight minute interval unless he can save her. Another common character archetype that I would expect to see would be someone who would try to stop Captain Stevens from attaining his goal of saving the woman, as this will produce more of a climax once he ultimately succeeds or fails. Overall, I think that this trailer does a good job of attracting someone to go see it in a movie theatre and builds interest for someone to find out the way the story ends. 

This movie trailer makes us pause and question ourselves; what would we do if we knew the outcome of a situation and only had one chance to change it?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Harry Potter: Reasoning Behind His Popularity

I would think that most people have read a Harry Potter novel or seen a Harry Potter movie, in fact, I think that it would be considered odd if you haven't. Their can be many reasons for his popularity, some being how he looks and acts like an average "guy" even though he is a wizard with great power, as well as his quest for identity when his parents are killed after childbirth. J.K Rowling does a great job of displaying the struggle that Harry has had growing up, from living with his aunt and uncle who treat him like garbage to trying to contain the magic that lies within and not exposing himself to the "muggle world". The reader is able to easily relate to the realistic story in a completely different universe where magic exists and normal beings aren't aware of the it.

Another key skill that J.K Rowling possess' is her ability to maintain interest throughout a 800 page novel, as there are many other books that fall apart due to a really boring lead up to the climax. This is why millions of people have read all eight of her books, as they are enjoyable to read throughout. As  refered to before, all the Harry Potter books contain very realistic stories. A part of that realism is that as the reader grows older, so does Harry. Especially for readers such as myslef who are around the same age as him, Harry Potter progressively matures and experiences new things. This allows the reader to become captivated because of the chances of them experiencing the same things that Harry does, such as defending against bullies or uncompassionate family members.

J.K Rowling uses not just archetypes surrounding characters but also around places or events. As Harry is sent to Hogwarts, it acts as a modern boarding school, a common occurence in many older books. She uses this to establish a connection with the reader to other books he/she might have read and allows for easier understanding of the situation Harry Potter is in. Another common archetypes used is the family Harry lives with, as they lock him up in his room and treat him like a slave, not a human. Many main characters of other books have families that despise them, and so they wish to escape. As the antagonist, Lord Voldemort draws many comparisons to devil, a being very commonly recongnized as being pure evil. As an archetype, Voldemort stands as both the Devil Figure as well as the Creature of Nightmare, attempting to block Harry in his path to destroy all evil. Are their any other famous book series that have reasons behind their popularity related to archetypes?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

References to King Arthur in Modern Media

As famous beings who are widely reconized and known from the medieval ages, King Arthur is one of the most identifiable. Not only is he considered an extremely noble and courageous being, his knights of the round table are all also recognized as some of the best warriors in the earths history. Accordingly, modern media has referenced King Arthur and his knights multiple times, ranging from goofy and satirical movies such as "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" to more serious plays such as "Camelot". These forms of media have chosen to be centered around King Arthur due to the classic heroic archetypes of the Hero as a Warrior and the quest to save his people.

In comedies such as "Monty Python and The Holy Grail", Arthur is portrayed as a noble and educated being where everyone else in that universe is shown as either idiots or people who are making jokes alluding to history. For an example, when King Arthur and his group get to the bridge with the Crusader guarding it, they ask him if he would like to join their cause. He replies with "No", and will not let them cross. As King Arthur engages him in combat, he ends up cutting both of the crusaders arms off, but he will not relent. The crusader keeps hitting him with his torso, alluding to the relentlessness and determination of the crusaders back in the 12th century. Another example is when King Arthur is looking for help in his quest and goes to a castle owned by another lord. There are guards posted at the top of the gate, who pester Arthur relentlessly with stupid questions and answers, while not letting him within the castle. This guards are portrayed as idiots  to show the juxtiposition between Arthur and common folk.

In the more serious representations, Arthurs actions are reflected as his legend claims, with the power and knowledge of a great commander. The demonstration of Arthur and his knights skill in combat is widely acknowledged as being great within these plays and therefore he commands great attention when he is speaking, so he is a source of knowledge in the plays. A major difference in these plays are the roles that the various knights of the round table take, being a much larger presence within the main plot. King Arthur has more of an equal role when compared to the other knights and doesn't have as many scenes. This gives the audience a bit different feeing of the legend of King Arthur, as the knights are shown as having greater power. Are their any other historical figures such as King Arthur that are represented in modern media?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Danny Archer in Blood Diamond

The movie based on real events, "Blood Diamond", pits antagonist Danny Archer against illegal mining operations in Africa that are in search of diamonds. Archer is in search of a huge conflict diamond that will net him a free pass home, therefore he is willing to use any means possible to secure the diamond. As he starts his journey, Danny Archer is a defiant anti-hero as he makes many immoral and unethical decisions that most would never consider. For an occupation, he is a mercenary, a soldier of war that fights for the highest bidder. Their is a flashback to earlier in his life where it shows him fighting with these rebel groups and is forced to shoot innocent women and children. The director placed this scene into the movie to show how events such as these have hardened Danny Archer and de-sensitized him to violence. As the anti-hero, he has done things in his life that he isn't proud of but feels that they were required to get his job done. This is how he rationalizes the choices that he makes, as he has ruined many peoples lives and caused many hardships in order to recieve his payments.

The quest that Danny Archer undergoes is the search for knowledge as he wants to find the exact location of the conflict diamond. Archer then meets Soloman Vandy, a local who has been wrongly put into jail. Danny Archer then tells Vandy that he will get him out of jail if he will get him the diamond. Soloman Vandy agrees and they set out on their quest for Archers treasure. Soloman Vandy could be considered an "Outcast" where society believes that he has done somehting wrong and placed him in a jail. The crime is an imagined one as the rebels are the ones who found Vandy and took him to jail. He is searching for his son who was taken from him when he was sent to jail and placed in camp and this plays a large role in the movie as two plot lines emerge; the search for the conflict diamond and  for Soloman's son.

As the movie progresses and they get closer to finding the diamond, the two begin to bond and share a loyalty for each other. The diamond that the two of them are looking for is also the desired item for the rebel groups and so as the two find the diamond they get into a gunfight with the rebels. They escape but Archer has been shot and is bleeding vehemently from his chest, so he gives Vandy the diamond to run and find his son. This is where we see Archer turn from the defiant anti-hero into a Transcendent hero whose flaws bring about his demise. Archer has lived a life of violence and greed with no care for anyone else but he has shown the change by giving Vandy the diamond to escape without him. In his last dying moments, Danny Archer lies up on a cliff watching a beautiful sunrise, symbolizing how he is finally at peace even though he is in his last moments. This is where the movie ends, leaving the audience to question their own lives and the path that they are currently on.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shutter Island

We are first greeted with the sight of the the protagonist, Edward Daniels, hunched over a bathroom sink attempting to fight off sea sickness. The movie is set in the 50's and Daniels, as a U.S Marshall, is sent to an island that contains an institution for the insane to investigate the disappearance of a female patient.  He has his suspicions about the island as he doesn't trust the people overseeing the institution and wants to truly find out how the asylum treats  its patients.  
If we fast forward to the end of the film we find out that Daniels is actually a patient on the island and that he was actually in a role play that was set up by the islands doctors, in an attempt to get him to come back to reality. This is where we see who Edward Daniels truly is, a completely unbalanced hero whom denies that he is actually Andrew Laeddis, an arsonist who was convicted of killing a woman in one of the fires he created. In order to fully understand Andrew Laeddis, a second viewing is required. In his mind he has been set up by the island's institution and that he is an innocent human being who has been wrongly convicted. This is where the viewer sees the sickness that is contained within Andrew's mind. He creates fantasy situations where he can make up a reason for the way things are and then blame it on the directors of the island. He wants to believe that he is a U.S Marshall and so he creates a situation where that is true, and he doesn't see it any other way. 

The journey that Andrew Laeddis undergoes could be considered one of two different ones; either a quest for identity or a quest for knowledge. The way Laeddis sees it he is searching for knowledge about the island's institution and what is really going on the island. In reality, the role play was set up by the islands overseers in attempt to get him to snap out of his dreamworld and back into reality. When Laeddis finds out who he truly is, the audience expects him to be able live in reality now that he has been exposed to the truth. The next day  he is back to his schemes where he pretends that he is an U.S Marshall and he is investigating a crime on the island. As he is taken to become lobotomized after the island's directors feel he has no chance of becoming sane, he utters the question "Is it worse to live as a monster, or die as a good man?" 

This question is a powerful one as every viewer in the theater was left to ponder that as the lights slowly came on and the credits began rolling. Andrew Laeddis chose the second option, as he ended up dying as Edward Daniels, at least in his mind. This question has been asked in various forms from different movies (the Dark Knight for example) and it seems that there is no definitive answer, as people's point of view will always change that answer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Lord of The Rings: Frodo Character Analysis

As one of my favorite movies growing up, I decided to re-watch The Lord Of The Rings series in an attempt to recognize any of the Heroic Archtypes that we have been studying about. After watching all three movies,  it was clear that Frodo, the protaginist, fit the description of the Hero as Scapegoat. Given the task of destroying the ring in the fires of Mount Doom, Frodo had to assume sole responsibility as the carrier of the ring, albeit with aid and protection from the rest of the fellowship along the way. This placed great pressure and stress on Frodo as he was the key cog in the wheel that drove towards the destruction of the ring.  

At the beginning of the journey, the task placed upon Frodo appeared dauntingly impossible due to the barriers that stood in his way, namely how the entire focus of Sauron, the antagonist, was on finding Frodo and taking the ring. Many of the characteristics that Frodo possess's allows him to succed where many others would fail, as he is brave, selfless and unfailingly loyal. Although there are others in the land of middle-earth who hold these attributes, Frodo has a special something about him. That special something is an inner desire for goodness, as well as curiosity, that makes him stay strong even when he is physically and mentally exhausted crawling up Mount Doom. This is why he was entrusted with the burden of destroying the ring, because of his natural defiance and resistance against the evils in his world.

The journey that he underwent was a combination of the fool's errand and the quest to rid the land of danger. As the fellowship held a meeting at Rivendell, a Elven city hidden in the forest, to discuss the journey that they must undertake, there was a feeling of unattainibility to dispatch of the ring. This is where the journey begins as a sort of fool's errand, where only people who have unbreakable courage could attend. As the journey progressed, Frodo began to understand the magnitude of what he was doing and that he must take the task extremely seriously due to its importance. This is where his natural abilities and aptitiude for surviving on very little comes into play and affects the outcome of the LOTR. As one person in the many people who are in the movie, Frodo plays the most substantial role out of anybody.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ting's Journey

As the movie begins, the village males demonstrate their strength and dexterity by climbing the monstrous tree, with the goal being to grab flag at the very top. After a tremendous battle for the flag, Ting emerges as the winner  to an eruption of cheers from the village. It is later in the day when Don decides to steal Ong Bak's Head, much to the despair of the villagers. As the winner of the competition, the village elects Ting to be the person to get the head back. This is where the first stage of the hero's journey commences, as Ting is tasked with a responsibility that he is quite reluctant to accept. Although Ting is hesitant, he understands the severity of the situation and how much the village is depending on him to re-acquire the head.

Once Ting begins his journey to the city, Initiation begins. Ting has lived in a village in the country his whole life so he isn't used to the lifestyle in the city where most people are looking to make a living any way possible. This is where we see the inexperience that Ting possess's, as he has never been outside of his village. As he seeks out Hunlae, he thinks that he is finding a friend from who he can trust, due to Hunlae coming from the village that Ting lives in.  As he finds Hunlae, Ting sees how much the city has changed him, as Hunlae is stuck in a life where he must try to find the capital to pay off his gambling debts. When they first meet, Hunlae wants nothing to do with Ting, partly because he is ashamed of the situation he is in and that Ting reminds Hunlae of his village. As the movie progresses, Hunlae becomes more desperate for money, urging Ting to fight in the ring to gain money. Since Ting needs Hunlae to find Don, Ting creates a compromise. Ting fights to gain money while Hunlae finds Don.

As Ting is braving the new environment that his journey has taken him on, he sticks to his core morals and values as he only wants to accomplish the feat of finding the head. The city hasn't changed him into wanting money and lavish lifestyle, just the bare necessities. This is where we the road of trials, as Ting is learning about himself and growing as a person along the way. Ting has had many chances to show his strength and he has conquered every one of them, to show how he has grown along his journey.\

We have yet to see when Ting enters the innermost cave and when he will return from it to return and reintegrate into society.