12/27/2015

Character and Hollywood Formula - The Hunger Games



This particular Hollywood formula consists of two characters, the protagonist and the antagonist, and their dynamic relationship. 

Firstly the protagonist, the main character / person the story focuses on. This person has a set goal, the goal itself is always justifiable and achievable, it isn't ever something as simple as "i want to live a good long life" or "i want to be famous" but instead his or her wants would benefit others more than just themselves. The antagonist is the person that would be there to stop them, place obstacles in the path of the protagonist, this does not always mean they are the villain, simply that the antagonists goals are always in some way opposed to the protagonist.

Aside from the two main character making this formula there is another, the person who accompanies the protagonist on their journey, usually they are a person with more wisdom maybe even experienced what they are about to, trying to warn the protagonist and be mostly ignored. What the protagonist needs to learn or do is often told by this person, most cases it happens in a single conversation. This is always revisited at the end of the story.
The story itself will always end with the protagonist achieving or giving up his goal, defeating or being defeated by the antagonist. 




Protagonist

Katniss Everdeen is the protagonist and main character of the film The Hunger Games, she indeed does want something concrete and achievable, her goal is the win the games so she can return home to be with her sister. Katniss is very strong and resourceful  for a sixteen year old and proceeds to be much more mature than her age would suggest. Within the story, towards the begging you see Katniss is the main provider in her family, the family consisting of Katniss, her mother and her younger sister, Prim. Katniss is overly protective of her younger sister as shown when she volunteers to take Prim's place in the games to protect her. Katniss is the most responsible in her family, it's shown by her responsibility to feed them which she does by hunting, this act is illegal and punishable by death, but she had learned the skills from her deceased father. The fact it's illegal shows her rebellious side as what they don't eat she sells on the black market, disregarding the rules again, but this has come from the necessity rather than the want.

A main cause for Katniss's protection of Prim may be because of her mothers depression, after her father died her mother emotionally withdrew, leaving Katniss to take care of her sibling alone. She soon learned that without her hunting her family wouldn't survive the harsh conditions of District 12, where starvation is very common. No thanks to all these conditions she have been forced to grow up fast, tough and practical. Ironically her hardships she went through in the district wind up helping her once she is in the arena. The skills developed to cope with her everyday challenges, like the ability to hunt, toughness and resourcefulness are what keep her alive in the games.

During the games Katniss's doesn't really change, her circumstances are the things that change, the story spends a lot of time showing the different situations she encounters. When forced to become a celebrity for the games she never seeks attention, she always tries to say the right thing to get her out of there and back home. They don't ever try to turn her into a unfeeling killer, the only time she ever kills is out of necessity and a few times in pity. Her sense of compassion always remains intact especially when she encounters Rue. 

The lack of change to her character however can be seen as it's own victory for Katniss, she keeps her identity and integrity.



Antagonist

Peeta Mellark is the unlikely antagonist in the story, also in love with Katniss becoming her main ally and romantic interest during the games, Peeta is strongly characterised by his love for Katniss, he is overly willing to sacrifice himself for her. But strangely Katniss's first memory of him was from a incident years before the games, when Peeta purposely gave two loaves of bread to Katniss and risked being beaten for helping her, Katniss wants to believe he must have known he would be punished for it even though how he threw the bread out at her remains in her mind, it still remains a selfless act. During the games he is similarly selfless, saving Katniss after she was stunned by tracker jacker stings. later fighting the most deadly of tributes to allow Katniss to escape.

The audience however has a limited perspective on Peeta, we only ever see him through Katniss's eyes, he does however come across as thoughtful and genuinely kind this is something that leads him to try to change Katniss, tries to make her into something she doesn't want to be which he believes his helping. Throughout the training for the games we learn he is a gifted visual artist, able to create camouflages upon himself. When Peeta is the first to offer help Haymitch Katniss wonders why and simply realises he is just a kind person, before the games start he confesses to Katniss his only hope is to retain his identity and not let the games change him, he turns into a person with pride and dignity, even decency about all else. 

President Snow is a more obvious antagonist, but possibly not the true one, yes he is in power and does control ultimately what happens to them all, but what he does isn't personal towards Katniss.
The citizens of the capital can also be seen as as antagonists, they encourage the games and treat it like a festival, showing their utopia and using this cruel sports to show who is in charge.
Within the game itself the antagonists are mainly the other fighters, especially from District 2, Cato and Clove, it's made clear Cato is a threat when he scores highly in training.


Dynamic Character 

Haymith is the main person who accompanies the protagonist, he has indeed completed the games before therefor should be listened to for advice, Haymith knows that in order to win Katniss needs the public to like her, but because of his characteristics Katniss doesn't want to know. Early in the story there would be a conversation where he is giving advice or a warning which will be revisited towards to end. In the end they end up only surviving because of this advice from Haymith and the people liking both Katniss and Peeta.


Archetypes - Toy Story



Woody is originally represented as the hero in this film, he is the character which saves the day during Andy’s playtimes. But you could debate he is a hybrid of archetypes, the ruler, the hero and the jealous man. Being seen as the team leader, or role model type because he is Andy’s favourite toy. Shown by being the only toy that gets put on Andy’s bed. Within the Story there are two types of heroes, this does reveal a major flaw within Woody, jealously mainly, Woody's character becomes the jealous man when Buzz arrives to Andy's room and is placed in Woody's special spot on the bed, suggesting Andy now has a new favourite toy, Woody gets so jealous he tries to get rid of Buzz by knocking him out of the window. Woody eventually puts aside his differences with Buzz and helps him to overcome his internal problems escaping danger and reuniting with their owner, by doing this he re-establishes his archetype as the ruler, redeeming himself as their leader after overcoming the jealous and unfair judgments of buzz. This cowboy is cast as the hero archetype as the other toys always seek guidance and aid from Woody for any problem throughout the film, he is also the first person to confront any problem or dangerous situation, showing such characteristics as brave, generous and selflessness which are traits of a hero.

Buzz light year's character archetype would fall under action hero, the second type of hero in this movie, being the new cool, manly hero that after his arrival is always involved in action sequences. At first he is overly happy to show off his new moves and gadgets, especially when he first arrives in Andy's room. (putting Woody down, bringing out the jealously) and forces his confident character on the other toys. Buzz’s character just like Woody has more than one side, as the film progresses he psychologically develops, from when he arrives believing he is a real space ranger, to then end of the story having to accept that he isn't the only one and what he was lead to believe wasn't true, he truly is just a toy. Typical of a action here type, possessing a secret weakness. Could be said he is also the Fool in the story, this archetype fits Buzz so well because he at first believes he is a real "space ranger" from another galaxy when in reality he is only a toy, to which later he finally accepts.

Slinky and Rex would be the Loyal Friends archetype, it fits them because no matter what happens they stick by Woody and Buzz through any adventure. In the story when Woody becomes overly jealous of buzz and pushes him out of the window, Slinky especially is the one to defend woody to Andy's other toys while they bad mouth him. Even though Rex can be seen as another loyal friend he is also a coward, he is frightened of everything before anything has actually gone wrong, he is a T-Rex a large creature that isn't know to be afraid of anything, but instead he is a kind and terrified toy.

Sid 'the neighbour kid' would follow the archetype of the villain in the story, Sid is the villain because he purely lusts for evil things to happen to the toys, he is the complete opposite to the heroes in the story, causing problems for everything around him. Sid shows his worst side when he tapes a firework to a innocent toy he found and explodes him in his backyard, just for a few seconds of entertainment. The audience no matter what has no sympathy for Sid and he hasn't even got a traumatic back story, Sid simply tortures toys and makes them into abominations.

A disloyal friend or pessimist would be Mr. Potato head, he would always bring up everything that went wrong and play on the negative thing that happen, always going against Woody when ever he could, He was one of the first toys to first accuse Woody of pushing Buzz out of the window and encouraged other toys to have the same opinion.




12/26/2015

Narrative Structure & Hollywood Formula - The Lion King




The Walt Disney film The Lion King follows a three act structure, the divisions all have their own climax, the first two most often end with minor plot points or minor climaxes leading to the third and final that ends with the ultimate climax, in which a resolution is shown.

Act 1: Exposition 

The first act of the film introduces the protagonist 'Simba', the environment / world and the opposed forces (Scar). From the audiences point of view this is necessary because not everyone would be familiar with the world within the film. More importantly we get to know the protagonist and his circumstances, allowing you to get emotionally invested in the up coming events. Towards the end of this act you come to the first turning point, the event that changes the protagonists path and foreseeing a dramatic conflict that can't be fully resolved until the next turning point.

There is a certain point within The Lion King that can be classed as the first turning point, Within the film, Simba sings about wanting to be king, but when Mufasa (His father) dies after saving his son (Simba) from being trampled by a stampeding herd of wildebeests, the reality and weight of his new responsibilities become all too real, after this point Simba is convinced he is the cause of his fathers death, this is the scene that sets up the conflict within Simba that only he can resolve to become a fully developed character, eventually he has to return home and take his place as king, but doing this he must recognise his strength and let go of the guilt.

Act 2: Rising Action

The second act of the film, where the protagonist (Simba) attempts to resolve the conflict, but instead gets setback and discouraged, the time in this part of the film is spent growing the protagonist as a character and gaining the necessary skills to overcome the new problems. this is the first time the character will grow as a protagonist. Towards the end the character will have gained enough skills to confront the problems and this leads us into the third act.

During this the audience is given something to get behind, a new mentally, Simba decides to favour, Hakuna Matata "No Worries", this happens in a musical number with Timone and Pumba. But everything is quickly brought back to reality when Nala arrives to tell them their home has fallen under Scar's ruling. Although we have seen the protagonist develop physically it is clear he hasn't fully developed as a character to handle himself just yet, he doesn't fully develop until he later returns home and runs into Rafiki (a mandrill who is a supporting character). During so the audience is lead to see that the "No Worries" way of thinking was a setback and as he returns home he is open to change.

Simba growing during musical act "No Worries"

Act 3: Climax // Resolution 

The final act of the film, our protagonist finally confronts the opposed forces and resolves the conflict for his home and inside himself, this is the final climax of the film and the second turning point. The character shows signs that they will always overcome their internal issues and learn something that will change them for the future to benefit themselves and others.

Again this applies in the film when Simba confronts Scar and he confesses to killing Mufasa, this allows Simba to let go of his guilt and suddenly gets a clear sense of who he really is and then fights for his rightful place as king. The fight against scar is his finally test, completing his character. When Simba wins he is proving he is ready to handle the responsibilities of being king.