Comparison Of Star Wars & The Matrix In Relation To The Hero's Quest

1694 words - 7 pages

"Nobody can be told exactly what the Matrix is; you have to see it for yourself."-Morpheus"You must learn the ways of the Force, if you are to come with me to Alderaan."-Obi-Wan KenobiOne character is played by one of Hollywood's strongest black actors; the other, by one of the elder statesmen of film. But Morpheus and Obi-Wan Kenobi have a lot in common.Those similarities take place in the larger context of two hit films, both of which have been huge commercial successes that readily assume their places in popular culture. The Matrix and Star Wars both resonate with audiences for specific reasons, in ways that similarly-themed movies with less universal appeal do not.The Matrix is not especially revolutionary in terms of presentation or storytelling, although the special effects are great, but it is well written, slickly produced, and often devilishly clever. It also has the same core element going for it that Star Wars did in 1977, it's a classic hero tale, the kind that appeals to the aspiring adventurer in all of us.The hero tale generally follows a very linear path, one whose route was handily traced by Joseph Campbell in his classic book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Although Campbell is somewhat outdated, his outlook was highly influenced by Freud, and his work tended to ignore rather than discuss cultural distinctions in mythology His book is still valuable, both because it can tell us about hero tales and because it has influenced their twentieth century retellings. Campbell, heavily influenced George Lucas. Lucas apparently went through two drafts of the original Star Wars, before revisiting Campbell's book for inspiration and guidance. It's likely that the makers of The Matrix borrowed from him as well.The Hero's Call and DepartureBoth stories begin with calls to adventure for their heroes into situations those heroes never expected; in fact, at the outset, neither Neo in The Matrix, nor Luke in Star Wars, has any idea what's going on. Neo, wakes up to a message on his computer that says "follow the white rabbit". Following the "white rabbit" leads him to a night club were he is approached by a mysterious, PVC-clad woman who hints that the world is stranger and more dangerous than he knows. Luke buys a couple of androids, one of which has a message that leads to the beginning of his adventure. This device of the potential hero being either sought out or roped into peculiar circumstances is a common one in heroic tales; frequently, the would-be hero is swept up into something that he initially appears to have nothing to do with.Almost every time, the hero initially resists, even though what's coming to him is what he's waited for all his life. The Matrix even makes this explicit, in that, several times, Neo is told that he's right to think that the world is not what it seems. However, something always happens to convince the hero to change his mind. In The Matrix, Neo goes back to work and later finds himself edging around a window...

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