The Hero's Journey

American scholar Joseph Campbell is responsible for identifying the narrative pattern known as The Hero’s Journey. He chronicled the monomyth in The Hero with a Thousand Faces in 1949 and described this story template like this:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

There are actually 16 stages in The Hero’s Journey, and motion designer Iskander Krayenbosch from the Netherlands has created an animated short that runs through 12 of them as they apply to some of the most iconic heroes of motion pictures.

Here’s the animated explanation of The Hero’s Journey (via LaughingSquid):

Krayenbosch created this project as a graduation project for HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, and it’s a pretty nice piece of work. Plus, it’s educational, showing just how similar every hero’s story is at its core. Whether it’s Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Back to the Future, they all fit in Campbell’s breakdown of the hero’s journey.

This is fundamental learning whether it’s in literature or cinema, but believe it or not, there are some people who may not be aware of the concept of The Hero’s Journey. So when someone cynical says all movies are the same nowadays, you can agree and tell them that it’s been like that for decades, even before the art of filmmaking was invented. But it’s how these stages are used and the characters created to propel them that hopfeully makes each and every story unique.

If The Hero’s Journey is something that’s of interest to you in your love of cinema, I recommend checking out this informative breakdown of the concept right here. The more you know…

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