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Film Story Analysis

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    • According to Hauge, the concept of the film Avatar is the mission of the marine to the moon. It aims to stop mercenaries destroying the planet and deserves the love and trust of a woman from the Na’vi civilization.
    • As Hauge states, the trajectory of the film primary romance includes several stages. They prepare the main character for his key intention – winning love of a Na’vi girls. The first one is his desire to stay alive since the inhabitants as well as the nature of the planet are quite aggressive. He also has to learn from the Na’vi women the skills of the alien civilization and ways of surviving on the planet as well as earn Neytiri’s love overcoming all the problems.
    • Jake risks his avatar and is ready to dedicate his life to his outer goal. According to Hauge, the outer goal of Jake in Avatar is to save the Na’vi civilization from human aggression as well as intentions to destroy its world, penetrate into their aggressive technologies, and leave the Na’vi without a home.
    • In Avatar, over the course of the story, the main character’s outer goal changes. Hauge states that this process has several stages: observing aliens, getting information, persuading them, and protecting them.
    • Hauge outlines five essential elements of any film story. They are the main hero, the empathy of this hero, desire, conflict, and risk.
    • Hauge claims that Jake is the main character since he has certain identifying markers. In particular, Jake owns more screen time than any other character does, the spectators support him and empathize with him. What is more, his outer goals control and drive the story as well as present the main theme of the movie.
    • Hauge thinks that Cameron creates empathy for Jake in the audience through certain strategies. The author describes him as a victim of undeserved misfortune. He is shown as an unhappy person who sacrifices own life when goes to Pandora just to die.
    • Hauge claims that a nemesis is a negative hero who resists the main character’s outer goals. The author finds that in Avatar, Colonel Miles Quaritch who wants to kill the civilization of Na’vi presents nemesis. Actually, Miles and Jake have the same mission and goals at the beginning of the movie. Thus, the character of the nemesis and his true intentions are not obvious during the first act.
    • The reflection character, according to Hauge, is the closest person to the main hero, his/her intentions, and goals. Although it seems that the Na’vi women Neytiri suit this characteristic, the author considers Dr. Grace Augustine the reflection character. She is the first person who explains the main character his mission and further purpose on Pandora. Dr. Augustine presents a new world to Jake; she is a teacher and supporter. What is more, Grace does not leave him in trouble. Neytiri cannot be a reflection character since she is associated with the love storyline of the movie.
    • Hauge defines the inner conflict as an internal feature of the main character, which prevents him from developing the feelings of self-worth and self-respect. The inner conflict is a set of issues connected with his personality that becomes an obstacle to attaining love in his life. Jake’s inner conflict is a wrong conception, according to which he perceives himself as a looser that does not deserve anything worth and meaningful.
    • The inner motivation of the nemesis in Avatar is power, which can be attained through the war and on the battlefield. The inner conflict of the nemesis, according to Hauge, is the Colenel’s feelings of vengeance and total hate towards others.
    • Hauge is sure that the main theme of Avatar concerns the development of humanity. To ensure the evolution of people, civilization must communicate with others and be in consent with the spiritual sources.
    • Hauge divided the film into several acts due to certain features. The first part concerns the main character Jake who is sent to the distant moon to participate in the operation known as “Avatar.” His mission is to penetrate into the Na’vi tribe and learn its life. However, the second act begins when Neytiri helps Jake. The third part starts from the moment when Jake and other inhabitants escape from the campaign.
    • The goal of the word choice and careful description is to keep the readers emotionally involved and make them feel like they are on Pandora as well.
    • According to Hauge, Cameron’s secret is his perfect mastery of mixing genres. He can skillfully combine a disaster story with a love story. Such a controversial composition makes an explicit impact on the audience bringing the biggest success to the movie. For instance, it was applied to Avatar and Titanic.
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    • The success of Avatar can be explained by a skillful combination of quite opposite aspects: noisy and destructive war in the far future and deep love towards the alien. It is a combination of the epic and love story, which results in Cameron’s specific genre, namely epic romance. The situation when the life of a thousand people and even the entire planet depends on the love relation of two individuals evokes fascination.
    • Epic romance is a story mostly based on a heroic adventure, which defines the fate of the nation.
    • According to Truby, epic romance is always built on myths. Cameron created a separate myth in Avatar.
    • According to the Truby reading, it is so-called “eco-myth,” which is based on two traditional American myths created during history.
    • Truby defined two most essential American myths: Western and anti-Western. The Western one is based on the story of building a perfect American nation and civilizing savages. It is associated with the period of the Westward Expansion and westernization of the Native Americans. The anti-Western myth is a story about the destructive power of Western civilization. Certainly, Avatar is based on the second approach, which can be described as a “Machine in the Garden.”
    • The anti-Western myth refers to the essence of eco myth. It is a story about the violation of ecosystem development and penetration of the technological culture into nature.
    • According to Truby, the downside of the anti-Western myth is the fatal destiny of the main character and nation in general. However, Avatar has quite an appropriate ending. This ending is connected with the establishment of equality, harmony, and love. For this reason, it would not have worked in Avatar.
    • The eco-myth concerns the penetration of the technologies and machines into wild and pure nature. Its intention is to establish modernization or achieve exploitation. The eco-myth was successfully utilized in Avatar in the illustration of the war between technologically developed civilization and nature.
    • Cameron claims that the filmmaking will never change fundamentally since it is the storytelling. The books depend on genres. However, the contemporary successful movie is based on an appropriate script, which uses a mix of different genres. The moviemaking has already changed, and further modifications would not occur.
    • The real heroes who had long and exhausting journeys faced the ordeals on their road and overcame them may return with the elixir. It means the spiritual power that can be shared with other people and help them to heal their wounds in symbolical meaning. The elixir in the movie Apocalypse Now is the knowledge that the main character has attained due to his journey. He brings his elixir along with the feelings of desperation and disappointment. He acquired it with the end of the war. The main character understood the absurd and destructive essence of war, which people created to kill each other.
    • Catalyst is a certain moment, which changes the system or direction of events. Certainly, it is the call for adventures. This idea is represented in the journey of the main character as well, and it corresponds to the beat – increased awareness of the need for change. The catalyst in Apocalypses Now is the acute necessity for returning to Vietnam as the only place on the Earth where the hero can be useful.
    • According to Snyder, the midpoint of a story is a moment associated with ordeal, death, and rebirth. Vogler is sure that it is a moment of big changes connected with feelings of life and death. In other words, a moment when the main character revises his/her conception and changes his/her life is the key stage of the story. The midpoint of Avatar can be observed in the middle of the second act when Na’vi woman rescues Jake, and he realizes that he must help the alien civilization.
    • The Heroe’s Journey originates from the book by Joseph Campbell The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
    • Campbell clearly articulated life principles and organized them into a structure of stories. He exposed that structure and presented storytelling rules for the first time. Those ideas stimulated the authors to use the terms and words that Campbell introduced when writing the stories.
    • Campbell discovered a separate type of story known as a monomyth. It is the identification of the hero’s path and his/her adventures. This formula is represented in several stages: separation, initiation, return.

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  • Carl Jung uses the term “archetype” to nominate constantly repeating characters or energies, which occur in the dreams of all people and the myths of all cultures. Archetype, in other words, is the reflection of the human mind. These are the participants of the drama of life and traditional characters of the archaic myths. Certainly, any myth or fantastic story is psychologically realistic and very close to real life.
  • Taking into consideration Vogler’s ideas, the stories built on the model of the Hero’s Journey have a claim that everyone can see since it is not only a model of successful story or script but also the framework of living. In other words, it is an instruction to the art of being a human, a set of principles or a handbook for life.
  • Following Vogler’s logic, it is possible to assume that Avatar was structured according to Hero’s Journey principle since it has traditional stages and is separated into acts. What is more, the film has obvious features of the Hero’s Journey: call for adventure – going to Pandora, test – meeting Na’vi, rebirth – the intention to save Na’vi civilization, the final battle, and return with the elixir.
  •  According to Vogler’s ideas, Apocalypse Now contains much evidence that confirm the fact that the film was structured with the usage of Hero’s Journey approach. There are traditional stages of the Hero’s Journey in it: call for adventures – returning to Vietnam, test – the tiger in the jungle, ordeal, resurrection, and return with elixir – self-knowledge about the essence of war transferring in feelings of disappointment and despair.
  • The ordinary world phase in Apocalypse Now is the one when Captain Willard lives in the hotel room and has drinks. However, he suffers and feels pain due to the memories connected with Vietnam. Thus, his ordinary world is sufferings and personal psychological hell.
  • The call for adventure in Avatar is the moment when Jake accepts the mission to substitute his brother and goes to the moon Pandora for a special mission known as “Avatar.”
  • Following the logic of Vogler’s reading, the mentor in Avatar is Grace since she presents a new word to Jake, advises and teaches him. Dr. Grace Augustine opens Pandora for him, shows the avatar and the rules of taking it.
  • Crossing the first threshold in Avatar is the first usage of a new body – an avatar. It is a moment of the first trial, happiness, fear, and mistakes. The main character feels his legs again and experiences new body power, which is much stronger than that of a human. His enjoyment resembles the child’s play.
  • According to the ideas of Vogler’s reading, the ordeal stage in Avatar is a period when a Na’vi women teach Jake to fly and ride. What is more, it is a moment when different civilization accepts him and makes trials for him. The reward is the greeting of Jake as a member of a new community – the Na’vi. In addition, the biggest reward is actually Neytiri. The main character uses special communication with her, which symbolizes spiritual and physical connection.
  • Following the logic of Vogler’s reading, Jake Sully gains the elixir from his journey to the special world. Elixir is the complicated destination of the main character in a different world. It is important to say that he saved the proposed place from the invasion of people who tried to destroy it. Jake attained love, new life, and an understanding of its essence.

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