UP

Up – The Hero’s Journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Carl is a young boy with dreams of emulating his hero Charles Muntz

Call to Adventure

Carl meets Ellie and they promise to live a life of adventure

Refusal of the call

Everyday life seemed to get in the way of their plans

Supernatural Aid

Carl is an old man and the hero of the story. He plays a reluctant mentor for Russell and ends up learning something from him.

Crossing the First Threshold

Attaching balloons to his house and taking off for one last adventure

Belly of the whale

A near death experience in the thunderstorm and it carries them away to a far off place near Paradise falls

The Road of the trials

Carl struggles to get his house to Paradise falls as he has to tow it along and endure the constant nattering and clumsy behaviour of Russel the wilderness explorer

Meeting with the Goddess

Russel and Ellie are Carl’s inspiration. Carl and Ellie never had children but they loved each other dearly, when Ellie died, love also died in Carl’s life and it takes Russell to appear in his life to awaken it again.

Woman as Temptress

The distraction from his goal is Kevin the bird. When Carl meets Muntz, he’s excited, however he shifts between trying to get his house to Paradise falls to rescuing Kevin.

Atonement with the Father

Russell tells Carl a story about sitting on the curb counting cars with his father. Russell admits that although this sounds boring, sometimes the boring things in life are the things he remembers and loves the most. Up until this moment, Carl has seen Russel as an annoying kid but now he sees Russell as lonely boy seeking love and attention because he doesn’t get it from his dad.

Death of the mentor

Russel is upset with Carl because he had to save his house from burning down and in doing so, allowed Muntz to capture Kevin. Russel abandons Carl and flies off to rescue Kevin

Apotheosis

Carl flicks through Ellie’s book and discovers that far from living an unfulfilled life, their relationship was her life’s greatest adventure and she encourages him to live on and have another.

Ultimate Boon

He throws all the excess weight out of the house and gets it back in the air and goes after Muntz. Now he’s a changed man, he’s excited and filled with passion instead of being a grumpy old man and he’s ready to take on the final challenge ahead.

The Magic flight

Fighting with Charles Muntz as he rescues Russell, Kevin and Dug

Rescue from without

About to be killed by Muntz and Dug the dog knocks the controls and throws the blimp to one side allowing the old man to escape

The crossing of the return Threshold

He returns home with his new friends and allies, Russell, Dug and the rest of the pack

Master of two worlds

His has achieved the dream of the house by the falls but also he’s achieved happiness by living in the now.

Freedom to live

He sits on the sidewalk counting cars with the Russell, something boring but better than an wild adventure because he’s with someone he loves

 

Up is a perfectly structured, it’s a love story which spans virtually Carl’s entire life.

 

live die repeat

Edge of Tomorrow – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Major William Cage is a coward in the army who has never seen the front line in the war against the aliens in Europe

Call to Adventure

He is covered in the blood of an Alpha Mimic and this gives him the power to reset the day and be transported back in time back to base when he dies.

Refusal of the call

He doesn’t understand his new ability and rather than use it to be a hero he’s still thinking about himself and how to get out of the situation

Belly of the whale

Inside the aerial personnel carrier taking them to the beach, a missile hits it and he barely escapes before it explodes

Supernatural Aid

He rescues Sergeant Rita Vrataski. She realizes he has the ability she once had and tells him to find her when he wakes up.

Crossing the First Threshold

He tracks down Rita and convinces her of his situation

The Road of the trials

Rita trains Cage to be a soldier. His skills, knowledge and courage gradually increase with each loop

Woman as Temptress

Continued failures lead him to abandon his mission and escape to England. He learns that the Mimics are launching an invasion of England while the failed invasion in France is taking place. While in a pub watching the disaster he’s told he is a coward and he wont be tempted to deter from his mission again

Death of the mentor

Vrataski continually dies in a certain spot and Cage decides to hunt the Omega without her

Atonement with the Father

When Cage gets to the dam and discovers the Omega is not there he understands the visions are a trap. He kills himself before the aliens are able to steal his blood. He is now the soldier that Vrataski was determined to create. He is smart and skilled enough to take on the aliens.

Apotheosis

Cage steals a prototype of a device built by Carter to give him the ability to see the true location of the Omega

Ultimate Boon

This is a reversal of a boon. Cage receives a blood transfusion which removes his ability to reset the day when he dies.

The Magic flight

Assembles his squad and launches an attack on the Omega hiding beneath the Louvre

Rescue from without

Members of his squad sacrifice themselves to enable Cage and Vrataski to enter the Louvre

The crossing of the return Threshold

Cage and Vrataski accept that it’s a suicide mission and make their final charge at the Omega

Master of two worlds

He has both defeated the alien and summoned the courage to give up his own life to save the world – Both his inner and his outer problem are conquered

Freedom to live

He wakes up and the Aliens have been defeated. He tracks down Rita and is amused that she has no idea what has happened between them

 

 

Notes

This movie was awesome. I’m not sure why it only did just under four hundred million at the box office because it deserved to do twice that. I left out the Goddess stage because Rita really performs that role of inspiring and motivating him to complete the mission as her role as his mentor. Have a look at this film to see how well it handles the end of Act II –  Atonement, Apotheosis and Boon. After his Atonement he needs no more training in fact he is the one who teaches Vrataski about the visions. The Apotheosis is a classic piece of obtaining vital knowledge to complete Act III and the Boon is a reversal, stripping him of his power which of course increases the jeopardy, because if he didn’t have that happen to him then we would know he could still just reset the day again if he failed.

 

Some people may think that the Call and the refusal is when the General orders him to the front line and he runs away. Just being sent to the front line is not the driver of action in this story, it’s the fact he can reset the day and go back in time.

The_Dark_Knight_Rises_by_messenjahmatt

The Dark Knight Rises – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Bruce Wayne lives the life of a hermit in his house. He’s no longer the Batman because as a result of the Harvey Dent act he’s not needed.

Call to Adventure

Bane commences his plan to purify the world by destroying Gotham. He is an opponent of unprecedented strength, which no ordinary human can beat.

Refusal of the call

“The Batman has to come back.”

“What if he doesn’t exist anymore”

Crossing the First Threshold

Bane and his men attack the stock exchange and the Batman returns. The police go after him instead of Bane’s men, wanting him to pay for the murder of Dent eight years ago.

Meeting with the Goddess                            

Blake is the Goddess. He goes to Bruce Wayne and tells him that Commisioner Gordon has been shot and that he needs a return of the Batman. At first Bruce is uninterested but then Blake tells him his story of how he shares the same pain as Bruce that he is an orphan from crime. Blake also tells him that his orphanage used to be funded by the Wayne Foundation and at the end of the film Bruce donates Wayne manor to the orphans of Gotham.

Woman as Temptress

Alfred is the Temptress. He is the one who tells Bruce to hang up the cowl and walk away.  He tells him his dream of seeing him in café in Florence with his wife and children, happy.

Watch here

Belly of the whale

Cat woman leads the Batman into a trap and he must fight Bane. The Batman is no match for Bane and has his back broken.

The Road of the trials

Imprisoned in a dungeon in India, Bruce first has his back fixed and then he trains his body

and his mind to escape

Supernatural Aid

His prison inmates who at first heal him and then teach him what he needs to learn to rise up out of the prison

Apotheosis

Apotheosis can refer to a supernatural vision. Bruce sees a vision of a dead man, his former mentor Ra’s Al Ghul and learns from the vision that Bane is Ra’s heir, that he will continue the work of the league of shadows, that Gotham isn’t worth saving and must be allowed to die.

Atonement with the Father

He learns from the blind prisoner that he must regain his fear of death in order to be able to escape the prison, he must do the climb without the rope. Batman Begins was all about fear and the Batman put fear into the criminals of Gotham. Now, Bruce must reclaim his fear of death in order to live again.

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Ultimate Boon

The Batman has returned to Gotham. He has freed the police and is ready to face Bane.

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The Magic flight

It is two parts. The final fight of hand to hand combat VS Bane and then the chase through the city going after the Talia Al Ghul and the bomb.

Watch here

and here

Rescue from without

Bane is about to kill the Batman when Catwoman arrives on the Batpod and shoots Bane.

The crossing of the return Threshold

The final job of the hero is to save Gotham from being blown up. However, to do so means he must sacrifice himself. He flies the bomb out to sea where it explodes. This completes the job of Batman for the trilogy, he can now return to being Bruce Wayne.

Master of two worlds

Batman uses his resources to help the orphans of Gotham by donating his mansion to them. Batman has become immortalized in a statute as a symbol of justice and sacrifice. The people know who saved them – The Batman.

Freedom to live

Alfred sees Bruce and Selina at restaurant. They nod to each other but they don’t have to say anything to each other.  Bruce is free from the Batman, free to live.

 

 

wall-e

Wall-e – The Hero’s Journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Wall-e is a clean up robot left on Earth after all of the humans have left because the pollution is so high that the plants have all died. Wall-e lives alone but longs for someone to hold his hand.

Call to Adventure

Eve arrives on Earth to look for life on the planet and Wall-e falls in love with her.

Refusal of the call

Eve doesn’t want anything to do with Wall-e but he is persistent in his attempts to get her attention and makes a connection with her

Supernatural Aid

Wall-e doesn’t have a mentor in this story, however the Captian has Auto, the ship’s automated pilot giving advice and guidance to him.

Crossing the First Threshold

The ship arrives to take Eve back and Wall-e smuggles himself on the ship by attaching himself tot onboard and takes off with her.

Belly of the whale

Eve discovers Wall-e has followed her into the Bridge and tries to hide him. They can’t find the plant so she is deemed defective and he is sent for cleaning.

The Road of the trials

He’s on the loose on the Axiom, making friends and trying to help Eve, recover the plant and at the same time help the morbidly obese humans get their lives back.

Meeting with the Goddess

Eve is Wall-e’s Goddess, she inspires him to be a hero, even if slightly unwittingly at times

Woman as Temptress

The temptation was from the automated lifestyle the morbidly obese humans have been living. They’d gone down the wrong path and it was easier to stay that course but it is also wrong. The captain and the human’s that Wall-e touched are the ones who lead the humans out.

Death of the mentor

This occurs to the Captain when Auto  commits mutiny and attempts to imprison him.

Atonement with the Father

Eve tries to send Wall-e home on a pod, however they notice GO-4 trying to jettison the plant into space and destroy it. However Wall-e saves the plant and flies around the hip using the fire extinguisher in a dance of love in space with Eve. Now they are on the same page, united in the goal of protecting the plant and exposing the cover up by Auto

Apotheosis

Eve sees into the past and learns that Wall-e cared for her when she was in hibernation waiting for the mother ship to collect her. This knowledge cements her love for Wall-e

Ultimate Boon

The Captain learns all about Earth and discovers what a great place it is and wants to go back.

The Magic flight

Auto shoots Wall-e and Eve out into space.

Rescue from without

While Wall-e has jammed the machine open, McCrea manages to turn off Auto.

The crossing of the return Threshold

The Axiom space ship returns to Earth

Master of two worlds

Eve tries to repair Wall-e but he doesn’t recognize her and returns to compacting garbage. It’s only when Eve holds his hand that his system reboots and he recognizes her

Freedom to live

They return to Earth to bring life back to it and also the people.

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Sarah Connor is in a mental institution and John Connor is a juvenile delinquent.

Call to Adventure

The T-800 is sent back in time to protect John Connor, by John Connor’s future self, from the new model terminator the T-1000

Belly of the whale

The motorcycle truck chase in the drain where John is nearly killed.

Refusal of the call

John refuses to follow the T-800 instructions and instead insists they rescue his mother Sarah from the mental institution first. T-800 doesn’t want to do this because he thinks it’s a risky move.

Supernatural Aid

Sarah has been John’s mentor all his life preparing him for when he must lead humanity in the fight against the machines.

Crossing the First Threshold

Rescuing Sarah from the mental institution

The Road of the trials

They go on the run with the T-800 and begin teaching him to be more human

Meeting with the Goddess and Woman as Temptress

I don’t think either of these stages are used although you could look at the relationship between T-800 and John.

Death of the mentor

Sarah decides to leave John and let the T-800 be his father. In an insane world this is the sanest choice.

Atonement with the Father

Sarah can’t kill Dyson when she is face to face with him, when John arrives he sees the humanity in his mother and instead of seeing her as a psychopath that he described her as at the start of the story, he now tells her he’s always loved her. He sees her as a mother.

Apotheosis

The T-800 cuts the flesh off his arm as proof that he is from the future and then tells Dyson the story of everything he is about to do which results in the deaths of three billion people. It’s imparting God-like knowledge of the future.

Ultimate Boon

They destroy Cyberdine, all the tech and Miles Dyson is killed. Ending any chance of Skynet coming to be.

The Magic flight

The T-1000 chases after them and the final battle in the metal factory.

Rescue from without

The T-1000 recovers from the shot gun blasts but T-800 appears with a missile launcher which strikes him in the chest and he falls into the molten hot metal.

The crossing of the return Threshold

John must say goodbye to the T-800 and live his life without him. At first he refuses but ultimately accepts it.  This stage more or less is blended with the next stage.

Master of two worlds

T-800 can’t self terminate and asks Sarah to do it for him. He now knows why John cries but he can never do it himself. The best way for him to protect John is to die.

Freedom to live

The future is saved and filled with hope “If a machine can learn the value of human life, so can we.” 

 

Terminator 2; Judgement day takes on the challenge of being a sequel by introducing new characters and giving the old characters that we knew from the first film new goals and challenges rather than just repeating the same story from the first film like many, many, many other cash-in sequels do.

Meeting with the Goddess and Woman as Temptress missing? There was a cut scene when they pulled the chip out of T-800’s head and Sarah wanted to destroy it and kill him but John refused to let her do this. This could serve as the Temptress moment and John could serve as the Goddess for the T-800 as he inspires him to be a hero. That’s my best guess but feel free to include your thought below.

 

You may also want to look at

The Terminator Hero’s journey breakdown

The Terminator Save the cat beat sheet

 

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Shrek – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Shrek lives in swamp alone, he likes his privacy. He doesn’t have any relationship with the outside world.

Call to Adventure

Lord Farquad sends fairy tale creatures to be exiled to his swamp, destroying his way of life.

Refusal of the call

Shrek refuses to accept this and goes to find out who is responsible.

Supernatural Aid

Donkey is his mentor, he teaches him how to be a better person and a friend.

Belly of the whale

Entering Lord Farquad’s castle and fighting all his knights. Usually this stage happens either just after the crossing of the First threshold but often it is just before it as well. It’s the first battle which he nearly dies. (Although he easily defeats all the challengers he is held at bay by the knights by their pole axes and agrees to Lord Farquad’s offer)

Crossing the First Threshold

Lord Farquad promises him he’ll give him back his swamp if he rescues Princess Fiona  and so he goes on the journey with his new partner Donkey.

The Road of the trials

One of the stages of the road of trials is a Dragon Battle and he literally fights a Dragon in this stage to rescue the Princess from the castle.

Meeting with the Goddess

He rescues Princess Fiona and she turns out to be very different from what he imagined and she chastises him “You shouldn’t judge people before you get to know them.”

Woman as Temptress

This was omitted in this story, although you may disagree, if so feel free to list the moment you think is the Temptress in the comments below.

Death of the mentor

Shrek and Donkey have a fight and break up.

Atonement with the Father

Shrek reveals to Donkey that he’s sad because people judge him before they get to know him and that’s why he likes being alone.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis in Shrek takes the form of knowledge and that happens when Donkey discovers that Fiona is an ogre are night and a princess during the day.

Ultimate Boon

Shrek hands over the Princess and gets the deed to his swamp. His mission which began with the Call to adventure has now been completed, however he still has something to do. This story is a very clear example of the initial goal of a story is completed by the end of Act II however, he now has a new goal to complete in Act III.

The Magic flight

After the Donkey has talked him into going back to declare his love for Fiona he realizes that he’s too late and there’s no way he can get there in time to stop her wedding. Donkey has the answer, he’s brought his new love the Dragon and flies him back to stop the wedding.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Shrek runs into the church to stop the wedding and publically declare his love.

Rescue from without

The Dragon breaks into the church and eats

Master of two worlds

Shrek and Fiona kiss and her curse is broken, she doesn’t understand that she still an ugly ogress until Shrek tells her that she is beautiful to him.

Freedom to live

Shrek and Fiona get married in the swamp and go on their honeymoon

 

 

los-increibles

The Incredibles – The Hero’s Journey breakdown

Ordinary world

They are a family of Supers who have to keep their powers secret.

Mr I has a boring job that sucks the life out of him.

Dash is behaving badly at school because he can’t be a Super

Violet is shy around the boy she likes

Helen wants her husband to engage in the family more.

Call to Adventure

There are two possible events which could be listed as the Call to adventure. Firstly that the government has forced the Supers to go into hiding to avoid law suits and the second one is the message from Mirage inviting him to join the secret Government program.

Taking a look at the message from Mirage, he accepts this invitation immediately and then finds himself on a plane on his way to the island. This is not a typical response to the Call to the adventure. I think this event sits better as the break into the second Act. Normally the Call to adventure or the Inciting incident is something that happens TO the hero and the break into Act II is the hero taking action in response to the call. Thus, MR Incredible forced into hiding by the government is the Call to adventure and choosing to go on the secret mission is his response to that.

Refusal of the call

Mr. Incredible and his friend Frozone secretly go out at night listening to the police scanners. So essentially to save the world they are forced to go into hiding at the start of the film  and then by the end, in order to save the world they have to come out of hiding.

Supernatural Aid

Mr Incredible is an experienced hero with code of honor that guides him. He’s nicely conflicted here, he’s lying to his wife so he can remain true to himself and be a true to his inner hero.

Crossing the First Threshold

Mr Incredible tells Mirage he accepts the job offer presented to him by Mirage.

Belly of the whale

This can be a stage where the hero gets his first hint of death, that he is in dangerous situation. Mr Incredible fights the Omnidroid and climbs inside to get it to destroy itself. Which has a call back later in the film when that is the clue which helps him destroy the next Omnidroid.

The Road of the trials

Re-training himself back up to become Mr Incredible again. Getting his new uniform.

Meeting with the Goddess

His wife is the Goddess, at the start of the film he’s apathetic and detached from her, so much so that she even suspects an affair. It’s only once he thinks he lost her in the plane explosion that he realizes how much he loves her. She is his inspiration.

Woman as Temptress

Mirage is the Temptress offering Mr Incredible great rewards but he must keep it secret from his wife forcing him to make a choice between being honest with his wife and being honest with himself i.e. be a hero.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis often refers to a gaining of knowledge. Mr Incredible learns of the Omnidroid program

Death of the mentor

Death of the Mentor is flipped onto Mirage. When Syndrome tests Mr Incredible’s mettle by daring him to kill her. This essentially ends her relationship with her mentor.

Ultimate Boon

The Incredibles unite as a family and use their super powers together, destroying the guards. Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl have a moment where they relive the glory of the good old days. Now they are united and ready to take on the challenge of Act III

Atonement with the Father

While the whole family is captured, Mr Incredible realizes that his family were his greatest adventure and he almost missed it. This is a moment of self revelation which he was unaware of up till now. It took the thought of the loss of his family to make him learn this lesson.

The Magic flight

They big climatic fight against the Omnidroid  including a flight in the rocket ship to get there.

The crossing of the return Threshold

They are thanked by the government for saving the city and told by an official they are going to be looked after again as they are being driven home.

Rescue from without

A last minute save from an unexpected source; Jack-Jack’s powers come out and he burns Syndrome which causes him to get sucked into engine and blown up. “No capes!”

Master of two worlds

All of the problems at the start of the film have been resolved. Mr Incredible is engaged in his family, Violet is confident enough to ask the boy she like out on a date, Dash gets to compete at the school sports day and his parents cheer him on to come second..

Freedom to live

The family put on their superhero masks to take on the new threat of the Underminer.

 

This story has a long prologue to set up the story of the world of the Supers and the origin of  Syndrome. Although it appears around page ten, Incrediboy asking to become Mr Incredible’s side kick and he refuses is not the Call to Adventure and the Refusal. The first twenty pages are the prologue, similar to what Star Wars does, so the first Act seems longer.

Million Dollar baby cleaned up at the Oscars (it was a brilliant film – the third act was superb) The Incredibles was the best film of the year. It didn’t win Best Screenplay either, that went to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind.  Hmm that’s probably fair enough, that script had the rug pulled out from under everyone that watched it and had a message about eternal love, which is extremely rare in romantic comedies. But The Incredibles should have won Best Cinematography. Oh well, I guess Pixar will have to be happy with the hundreds of millions of dollars they made instead.

 

 

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When Harry met Sally – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Harry and Sally have just graduated college and drive to New York to start the rest of their lives

Call to Adventure

Harry and Sally aren’t that compatible. Harry tells her that men and women can’t be friends. In romantic comedies there’s always a problem that keeps them from getting together, otherwise it’s a pretty short and boring movie – two people meet, fall in love, the end. But these two are destine to be together.

Refusal of the call

They meet again a few years later and Harry and they have some playful banter but they are involved with other people. Harry asks to have dinner ‘as friends’ but she reminds him of his earlier comment and he tries modify his position but she’s still not interested in having any sort of relationship with Harry.

Supernatural Aid

Their friends Marie and Jess are the ones who offer relationship advice throughout the film.

Crossing the First Threshold

They meet again after their relationships have just ended and become friends as they share the same pain of lost love

The Road of the trials

Falling into friendship then love. Each of them has quirks that they’re shared, tolerated, and understood with each other.

Meeting with the Goddess

They both serve as the Goddess for each other. This was a fairly evenly balanced romantic comedy and we go on the journey following both of them. They each have flaws needing fixed

Woman as Temptress

There were a few various temptations pulling them away from each other in the form of other potential and actual partners. The strongest one is when they recommend their best friends Marie and Jess for each other.

Death of the mentor

Marie and Jess end up marrying each other – their best friends are no longer single.

Belly of the whale

There’s no real Belly of the whale moment – there’s no scene which fits this concept neatly. The morning after they have sex would be the closest thing. They commit to challenge of Act II and it’s dangers are revealed. Belly of the whale can be a reminder they have to proceed with caution.

Atonement with the Father

They’ve slept with each other and it’s destroyed the friendship – This is exactly what Harry said would happen at the start of the film. This principle that he has lived with all of his adult life was correct

Ultimate Boon

This is a reversal of the Ultimate Boon. Harry implies that he slept with her out of pity, Sally slaps Harry in the face and tells him F U. Their relationship as both lovers and friends is over.

Apotheosis

Apotheosis can be a stage about learning, in this instance Harry learns he really does love Sally and he wants to spend the rest of his life with her and he wants the rest of his life to begin right now.

The Magic flight

Harry runs to Sally to be with her. (The guy running to the girl

The crossing of the return Threshold

Harry pleads his case that the reason they should be in a relationship is because of their friendship, and lists a heap of reasons why their friendship is the perfect foundation for their relationship

Master of two worlds

They learn they can be both friends and lovers

Freedom to live

They sit on the couch being interviewed just like all the other old loving couples in the film and they demonstrate their affection and compatibility for each other.

 

When Harry met Sally along with Annie Hall are the defining examples of the romantic comedy genre. Often copied, never beaten. The stories of old couples talking about their relationship to camera being capped off with the final scene of Harry and Sally on the couch as a married couple was clever.  This story also uses a technique used by sitcoms where they have things happening off screen, like when they went out on dates with other people and instead of showing those dates like a normal film they have the two main characters talking to each other about the disastrous dates and set it somewhere visually interesting.

 

 

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Elysium – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Earth has been trashed and the rich people have evacuated it and live in Elysium, which has a divine lifestyle for those lucky enough to live there.

KILL THE CAT

Max is singled out by the robot cops and has his arm broken.

Call to Adventure

Max is caught in a burst of radiation while building robots for the cooperation.

Refusal of the call

He’s not going to accept that he’s going to die from radiation poisoning and seeks out Spider to give him a job.

Supernatural Aid

Spider is the Mentor/Threshol guardian as he is one who supplies him with the exo-skeleton (talisman) but also the Nun who was in charge of the orphanage served as a guide as well and gave him his morality.

Crossing the First Threshold

Max agrees to get the exo-skeleton brain implant and capture the data contained in John Carlyle’s brain.

Belly of the whale

Attempting to extract the data from John Carlyle and the rest of the team including his best friend is killed. Max is seriously injured by Kruger and has to seek medical assistance from Frey. Belly of the whale often involves a near death experience when the plan goes bad.

The Road of the trials

This stage should have been a bit more about learning to use the exo-skeleton, I think this would have been a better film if he was developing and using his enhanced skills, learning to how to use them more efficiently and skilfully. Also the data extraction contained in his brain could have been accessed which enabled him to bypass certain Threshold guardians on Earth. Instead there’s not a lot about that, there’s some descent chase elements but pulling the pin on the grenade and surrendering himself to be captured was more of a plot of convenience rather than a plot of compulsion.

Meeting with the Goddess

Frey and her daughter are used as the Goddess, they inspire him to be the self sacrificing hero. This element is a bit weak as well, Max starts off the film as a nice enough guy, who plays around with poor kids, it would have been better if it touched on a similar moment used in Casablanca when Rick says he sticks his neck out for no one, that way when he does stick his neck out for Ilsa in the third Act we see a transformation of character, Rick has become the Hero. It’s true that Max listens to her hippo story and still refuses to help her but at that stage in the story

Woman as Temptress

This step seems missing, it’s fine for stages to be missing but it would have been better for character development to have a scene or a sequence where Max had an opportunity to save himself but in doing so it would mean that Frey and her daughter would suffer and he sacrifices this opportunity.

Death of the mentor

There is a small death of the mentor moment when a no fly zone is placed over LA. It means that Spider has essentially lost his power. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this either, it didn’t make any sense to me, if they could shut down LA with a No Fly zone and they were worried about illegal aliens invading Elysium, why not just have the No Fly zone on permanently. This would have been a better stage if Spider had been abducted and taken back to Elysium or if he’d been killed and just before he died passed some key information onto Max which he needed to complete the journey in Act Three.

Atonement with the Father

This occurs when Max acknowledges that the Nun who was in charge of the orphanage

Apotheosis

Max discovers that he has the reboot system for Elysium in his brain.

Ultimate Boon

This is also missing and why the film is not as satisfying as it should be and it relates back to the slightly flawed Road of the trials. This should be that Max has mastered how to use the exo-skeleton and the brain implant. With this ability/knowledge he is ready to take on Kruger and his men on Elysium. Instead it’s replaced with Max handing himself in by picking up the damaged hover disc and looking into the camera.

The Magic flight

Max flies up to Elysium and fights Kruger and his men

Rescue from without

Spider distracts Kruger momentarily to assist Max in their final fight, you could also look at Kruger’s arrogance during the fight which gave Max an opportunity to recover and win.

The crossing of the return Threshold

He plugs into the main frame to reboot the system and bring what he learnt (the data) to the benefit the world.

Master of two worlds

He acknowledges that he must die in order for everyone else to live and uploads the protected data into the mainframe which causes his death.

Freedom to live

The robots are reprogrammed to provide health services to all the poor people on the planet. This step was unearned as well. It was never explained why the people of Elysium wanted to keep their medical wonders from the people of Earth, given that they were using them as a slave labour force. A healthier slave labour force is a more productive one and there were expensive, comparatively primitive hospital/health services still allowed on Earth that it didn’t make any sense for them to be keeping it separate.

 

This film was good but I was a little bit disappointed walking out of the theatre, because I had such high hopes as it was made by the same man who made District 9, which is perfect.  Much of the Hero’s journey was there but, as I indicated above, The road of the trials and the Ultimate Boon stages were flawed and his character arc wasn’t perfect. I was a bit disconnected from him and the little girl.

 

There also seemed to be a few other plot issues that could have been tweaked.

  • The radiation blast that Max received should have done something to Max’s body which enabled the exo-skeleton to be attached to his body.
  • One person on the ground firing missiles into space to stop illegals entering Elysium was pretty stupid- put a gun on the star ship or fighters patrolling the space around the station.
  • The exo-skeleton should have come into it more, for instance, intially when Matt Damon shot the the ship out of the sky, it should have been directly related to the exo-skeleton. For whatever reason, you can’t have just been able to shoot the ship out of the sky, Max should have had to have had to jump onto the ship as it was taking off and then use his enhanced strength to bring it down.
  • He seemed to be drawing a parallel between Mexicans flooding into White America and ruining it. Almost everyone on Elysium was white and almost all the poor people on Earth Mexican or Black. Having rich white people running from the refugees when they landed on Elysium was too over the top for me. I’m not sure it was the best option however if you disagree with anything here, please feel free to give your opinion in the comments section.

 

Not that it’s related to the Hero’s journey but both the VFX and Matt Damon’s performance were excellent. I also included the Kill the Cat moment, which is the opposite of Save the Cat, the hero suffers a gross injustice to help us like him.

I was a little disappointed with this film, I think a better character to have had go on the hero’s journey in this film was this guy

Instead of Matt Damon, who started off as a nice guy and ended up making a heroic sacrifice for the world, it would have been much better to have this guy, happily killing all the people on Earth and protecting Elysium but then the Call to Adventure happens and he uses his covert operations skills to turn on his employers and protect the people on Earth and play out the story in a similar fashion. This would have been a far better movie and a much better transformation through the Hero’s journey.

Rise-of-the-Dragon-Warrior-kung-fu-panda-31479464-1920-810

Kung Fu Panda – Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Po is a panda and a fan of kung fu. However, he isn’t a kung fu master he is a noodle seller.

Call to Adventure

Oogway selects him as the Dragon Warrior, the one who will receive the knowledge of the Dragon scrolls to protect the village against the return of Tai Lung

Refusal of the call

At first Po is unsure what has happened but the real refusal comes from Master Shifu and the The Furious Five who have no respect for him and decide to ridicule him into quitting.

Supernatural Aid

Shifu is Po’s mentor, the one who teaches him kung fu but interestingly in this story, the mentor also has a mentor Oogway.

Crossing the First Threshold

Po enters the palace to begin his training leaving behind the world of noodle cooking.

Belly of the whale

Po enters the training hall, gets chewed up and spat out and finishes at “Level Zero”

The Road of the trials

Po begins his kung fu training, and fails miserably. None of the Furious Five respect him.

Woman as Temptress

Tigress tells him he doesn’t belong if he has any respect for them and what they do he will be gone by morning. This is a temptation for him to leave the quest.

Meeting with the Goddess

Oogway doesn’t serve as a mentor for Po instead he serves as the Godess and gives the speech “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is gift that is why it’s called the present.” This is moment that inspires Po to continue when he feels like giving up.

Atonement with the Father

Shifu finally learns from Oogway that Po is the Dragon Warrior and he must commit to training him even though he doesn’t know how.

Death of the mentor

Oogway passes away leaving Shifu helplessly lost as he doesn’t know how to train Po

Apotheosis

Shifu discovers the key to training Po. Sometime Apotheosis refers to the discovery of a secret, or the ability to do something which no one else can do, in this case it’s learning to use food as motivation to train Po.

Ultimate Boon

Po learns from his father what the “secret ingredient” is – Nothing, something becomes special when you believe it to be special. This is what Po needed to hear. In order for him to become special he needs to believe in himself.

The Magic flight

Tai Lung arrives demanding the Dragon scroll. Shifu is no match for him and it’s a second Death of the mentor moment all that is left is Po. Although his skills are unconventional he Tai Lung as the Dragon Warrior.

Master of two worlds

The Furious Five bow before him and call him “Master”

The crossing of the return Threshold

He returns to the Jade Palace and tells a surprised Shifu that he didn’t die and he defeated Tai Lung. He is the Dragon Warrior

Freedom to live

Shifu has attained inner peace and the valley is safe

 

If your heart doesn’t climb into your throat when the Furious five bow and call Po “Master” you are dead inside. I loved this film and it’s rare use of mentor of the mentor. I think it also throws up a false Ultimate Boon when Po reads the Dragon Scroll for the first time and it’s blank. Even though this is the lesson he must learn he still isn’t wise enough to understand it yet. It’s the next scene when he returns to his father’s home that it clicks.

Refusal, Death of the mentor, Atonement with the father and Apotheosis are all flipped onto Shifu even though it’s clearly Po’s story.

Rescue from without is not present in this ending. If the Furious five jumped in and gave him a moment or there was some external savior from his mentor Shifu. Or if Oogway had sent him some help from beyond the grave but it didn’t happen.

Skadoosh