Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Narrative Structure: Green Room

Fig 1: Theatrical Poster for Green Room (2016) 
Green Room is a 2016 horror film directed by Jeremy Saulnier, starring Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart and Imogen Poots. The film starts with a failing punk band who try their luck at one last gig at a popular punk venue. However things aren't as they seem when the band stumble upon a murder of a memeber of the next band to play in the dressing room and discover that the people running the venue are willing to kill them to keep the murder a secret. Without any chance of escaping alive the two bands locks themselves inside the dressing room, but they won't be safe for long.

In the first act of the film, we are given Exposition to the members of the Ain't Rights, the bassist Pat and his friends Sam, Reece and Tiger. The audience is able to see that their careers as punk musicians isn't going to well and because of one last lucky break they are able to play at one last venue out in the Oregon woods that is run by the Neo-Nazi Leader of the skinheads, Darcy Banker.

Fig 2: the Ain't Rights playing in the Neo-Nazi venue

The Inciting Incident occurs when Pat stumbles upon Emily who died from a very recent stabbing and Amber, Emily's best friend who begs him to call the police. This evokes the skinheads in the club to hold the band at gun point inside the green room and for them to be killed under Darcy's orders. The group try to negotiate to leave the room but are left with no other option then to take the bouncer Big Justin hostage and eventually murder him when their requests aren't met. Pat feels useless in the group dynamic as he is the most weak-willed and cowardly, giving up the gun that they had as soon as danger arose.

Fig 3: "This will be over soon gentlemen"
The Obstacles the group faces in the second act are how will they escape, and will they escape the club alive starting with the group trying to find a way to escape the room, only to find that the hidden room underneath is a heroin lab that is locked from the outside. Instead they decided to face the skinheads head on despite their lack of guns relying on improvising with things they found inside the room.

Running out the room into the club, the First Culmination arises when the group are attacked by an attack dog, killing Tiger, but Pat and Amber are able to get the dog to run away using the feedback from the microphones on the stage. Reece tries to jump out a window only to be stabbed to death by a skinhead waiting on the outside.

Fig 4: Tiger's Death

Deciding that retreating back to the room is their best plan, in the Mid Point of the film, the remaining three rush back to the Green Room only to be met by Emily's boyfriend Daniel, who helped the Ain't Rights with organising the show. Willing to leave his life with Darcy and the skinheads, Daniel agrees to help the remaining three escape only to be killed himself by the club's bartender. The three remaining kill the man and take his shotgun, only for Darcy's men to kill Sam and injure Amber. With just two remaining, Pat and Amber return again to the Green Room.

Fig 5: The Three attempt to escape but Darcy and his gang were waiting for them
In the room, Pat and Amber have a chance to talk, Pat reminises on a paintballing match he and his bandmates had, where the band was up against marines and how they resorted to an all out attack on them to win against the more psychically able men they were facing. This helps Pat calm down and make up a strategy to get out of the room.

In the Climax of the film, Darcy sends in two more of his neo-nazi skinheads, leaving the site with the bodies of the casualties of the film. The two survivors use the heroin lab in the bunker under the room to flank the two skinheads, killing them. As the two take the guns and ammo from the two dead skinheads, one of Darcy's right hand men, Gabe, surrenders to the two as he didn't realise how dangerous Darcy's is and calls the police. The two remaining decide not to kill him and let him go as they finally leave the club to go search for Darcy.

Fig 6: Pat waiting for the attackers in the bunker 

Leading straight into the Third Act of the film, Pat and Amber wander in the woods surrounding the club they see Darcy's and his group dumping the bodies of the Ain't Rights, staging it as a group suicide in their van. The two shoot down the hetchmen before closing in on Darcy who tries to flee. Pat and Amber shoot him down however, and just as he turns around to pull a gun on them, Pat shoots him in the head, cause Darcy to miss his target and shoot the van.

Fig 7: Darcy, shot in the head, still fires his gun

As the trauma of the night finally dawns on them, the two survivors are seen sitting down just by the van and the dead bodies of the Ain't Rights, Darcy's hetchmen and Darcy himself. One of the attack dogs plod past them as the two pick up their guns and try to shoot the dog, realising that they are out of ammo and give up, letting the dog lay down on the lap of its master. Back to sitting in the grass, Pat brings up his Desert Island Band, calling back to a previous scene in the film, only for Amber to retort with the films final line "Tell someone who gives a shit"

Fig 8: The remaining two survivors of the night, Pat and Amber
The ending of the Green Room is left partial, all the bad guys in the film are now dead, but so are the rest of the Ain't Rights and a seen that hinted at in the dning fo the film suggests that the rest of Ambers band is off on an off batch of heroin that might of lead to overdosing. The Green Room also fits into the three act structure with some ease and the film as an over arcing plotline of trying to leave the room.

Film Poster:

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Character Archetypes: Ella Enchanted

Fig 1: Ella Enchanted Theatrical Poster

Ella Enchanted is 2004 Fantasy/Romantic-Comedy movie directed by Tommy O'Haver starring Anne Hathaway as Ella of Frell and Hugh Dancy as Prince Charmont. Based loosely on the book that retells the fairytale of Cinderella, Ella Enchanted is about a girl who is put under a curse as a baby to be obedient and follow any instruction given to her. She now attends high school and is a strong minded woman and the obedience gift is a big hinderance on her as an activist. Her dad re-married when her mother died, giving her two step-sisters who are in love with Prince Charmont, the heir to the throne. Ella is in search of the fairy Lucinda, who gave her the gift of obedience, to reverse the spell, she comes across various characters who join her on her journey and begins to have a change of heart toward Char.

Archetypes in film, are types of character that fall into specific and often stereotypical character tropes, such as hero, mentor, sidekick and villain. Characters can also be a combination of archetypes (anti-hero is a heroic character that has some villainous traits for example) so the range of types an archetype for a character can be is very wide and varied. In Ella Enchanted, Ella is the hero of the story, its her tale that we are following throughout the movie, she stops the corruption in the kingdom and puts an end to the cruel conditions that the elves, giants and ogres find themselves in because of Edgar's actions behind the scenes. Prince Char can also be classed as a hero, while he is more of Ella's love interest, he does have moments of heroism, saving Ella from getting run over and its their love that stops Edgar from taking the crown in the end. Ella can be classed as the maiden too, in scenes such as her romance with Prince Char and how she's such a good-hearted person to any type of creature.

Fig 2: Heroes- Ella and Prince Char

The Herald is Lucinda the Fairy, her gift to Ella when she was a child is the catalyst for her adventure as the gift of obedience disrupts her for having a voice in the things that matter to her. As well as this, her trickster behaviour and her self-centred personality also blends itself into the Shapeshifter. Such examples of this are when Ella purposefully ties herself to a tree to stop her from going to the party to kill Char under the order of Edgar, begging for the fairy to drop the curse. Lucinda pays no attention to her pleas and unties her saying that she should feel grateful having such a gift and orders her to go to the ball.

Fig 3: The Herald and Trickster- Lucinda

Mandy the house fairy is the mentor figure to Ella, as she is also a fairy she understands the traditions and magical practises of them and helps Ella understand what the gift of obedience is when she was young. She also helps in assisting her in her quest to find Belinda by giving her the man in a book, Benny. Ella's Mother is also a mentor figure, especially in the prologue as she too helps Ella understand what the curse put upon her is. 

The main villain of Ella enchanted is Sir Edgar, the kings brother and Char's uncle, who desperately wants to be crowned king. A man that was legitimately in the Shadows until he murdered his own brother in cold blood, he is a scheming and nasty man, who is willing to use Ella's gift of obedience against her by using it to kill the prince. Dame Olga, Ella's step-mother is also a villainous character, she ruins the friendship between Ella and Areida and is a spiteful, mean and self centred woman, traits that passed down to her daughter Hattie. 

Fig 4: The Shadow- Sir Edgar

Ella's stepsisters, Hattie and Olive are the Threshold Guardians, they are the first people outside of Ella's parents and house fairy Mandy, to know of the gift she has been curse with. They, especially Hattie, use this to their advantage to keep her away from their teen idol Prince Char, bleeding into them also being the Trickster. Olive, however, is more innocent and naive, which correlates to the Child archetype as she doesn't quite understand what is happening but follows her sister anyway.

Fig 5: The Threshold Guardians Hattie (Trickster) and Olive (The Child) also featuring Mandy the Mentor

Benny, the talking book and Slannen are the allies of Ella, they join her on her quest to find Lucinda and protest against the kingdom for the poor care of non-human species. Benny gives information to Ella in the form of pictures inside his pages while Slannen is more of a snarky sidekick who wants to be taken seriously and not as a singing and dancing elf like the rest of his species. Heston the snake is another ally but for Edgar. First seen curled up around Edgar's staff, Heston spies on Prince Char for the wannabe king, relaying to him what he's found as the group journey to find Lucinda. 

Fig 6: The Hero Ella with her Allies Benny and Slannen

The Mother and Father in this movies is obviously Ella's parents, they are loving and supportive of her despite her ailment that can prove very tricky to deal with as saying something abrupt can cause har to do something out of her control. Dame Olga while also being a mother can't really fit into the archetype due to her more villainous tendencies showing that she is an uncaring individual who only cares about her self and her appearance, the complete opposite of Ella's Mother in the prologue who was more homely and caring for her daughter. 

The Hero's Journey: Guardians of the Galaxy

Fig 1: Guardians of the Galaxy Theatrical Poster

Guardians of the Galaxy (also know as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1) is a 2014 Marvel film directed by James Gunn. The Film is the 10th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dealing with the origin story of the new Guardians of the Galaxy comics that started back in 2008 as a way to open up the franchise to the public after the success of the Avengers movie and each solo movie of characters from that group.
Following the character Starlord, a.k.a Peter Quill, (Chris Pratt) from his initial abduction into space, and his life as a scavenger. He ends up stealing an very precious orb that is desired by the big bad Ronan (Lee Pace) as it is one of the infinity stones that can grant infinite power. Peter ends up having to group up with a bunch of misfits in the form of the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the barbarian and literal minded Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) the genetically engineered racoon bounty hunter Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his tree-man companion Groot (Vin Diesel). The unlikely group has to take on the forces of the Sakaaran army to stop the destruction of the planet Xander and to prefer Ronin from getting his hands on the infinity stone.

The Hero's Journey is a narrative structure created by Joseph Campbell in his 1945 book, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" and is used in most films as a good general basis for the story in films, especially around the 80s. Also known as a Monomyth, the Hero's Journey follows the trials and tribulations of the main character who goes off on an adventure, facing many challenges, befriending allies and falling in love. The character ends up growing as a person through the story, ending up a different person with a whole new skill set and personality from what they had to endure. A good example of the Monomyth is the Star Wars original trilogy with Luke Skywalker, as George Lucas used Campbell's book as a guide for the plot of the film.

Figure 2: Diagram of the Hero's Journey

In the terms of story structure Guardians of the Galaxy does fall into the Hero's Journey, not as precisely as the Star Wars original trilogy but it follows the structure quite well. Starlord, a scavenger, goes to the abandoned planet, Morag, where the civilisation there had been wiped out some time ago. Finding the orb is his Call to Adventure as unbeknown to him that that orb is an important artefact. After escaping the planet after being ambushed by Korath and landing in Xander, he tries to sell on the orb to a pawn broker there who refuses to do business correlating to the Refusal of the Call as if the sale had gone through the entire adventure wouldn't of happened. The introduction of Rocket Racoon and Groot brings about the Supernatural Aid that helps out Peter in his fight against the First Threshold, the Assassin Gamora, though Rocket and Groot are helping him for their own selfish means. Due to the fight the four are captured by NOVA corp officials and sent to the belly of the whale, the intergalactic prison of Kyln.

Upon arriving in Klyn, the group meet Drax the Destroyer, who's on his own revenge path against Ronan for the murder of his wife and daughter. Begrudgingly the group allow him to assist them in their escape from the prison as Gamora mentions that she as a buyer in Knowhere that will give her a high price for the orb. Motivated by the promise of a ridiculous amount of money Rocket comes up with a plan, utalising all of the gangs abilities even if the majority of the plan is improvised. Through the Road of Trials, this is the first time that the gang come together as one as they escape Kyln in Starlords ship as they head off to Knowhere.

Fig 3: The Guardians successfully take over Kyln

In Knowhere while taking a break from looking for the buyer, a romance starts up with Peter and Gamora as she is intrigued as to why he went through all the trouble of getting his walkman back from the guard in the prison block. This could be seen as the Meeting of the Goddess
Soon after the gang finds the person they are looking for in the form of the Collector who explains to the group, sans Drax, about what the orb is. The orb is one of the six infinity stones that can grant power to whoever holds it but can easily kill if the user isn't strong enough, despite this the power it wields can destroy planets and that is the power that is Temptation and the reason Ronan wants the stone. An example of the stones destructive power is shown as the Collectors assistant grabs the stone and triggers an explosions wiping her and some of the Collector's collection away to dust. Ronan then arrives as a response from a drunken Drax who wants to fight him. Him and his army, proceed to beat Drax and steal the infinity stone. His intrusion also splits up the Guardians, with Peter and Gamora being taking in by the Ravangers who saved the two from suffocation in space, when Nebula blew up Gamora's ship as she was trying to escape the planet with the Infinity Stone, and Rocket, Drax and Groot who are stuck on Knowledge.

The Atonement to the Father occurs when Peter rekindles his relationship with Yondu, the Alien that abducted him 26 years ago, and after regrouping with the other guys lead by the explosive crazed Rocket who would be willing to blow up the Ravangers ship for the two if he wasn't persuaded not too by Peter. On the ship, as they prepare to face off with Ronan, to steal the infinity stone from him by taking over his ship the Dark Aster, this could be seen as the Ultimate Boon as Starlord is once again stealing the orb but this time round he knows of its power, he has allies to back him up but there are more enemies to face as they are going straight into a stronghold. Before the mission starts, Peter gives the group a heart-felt speech, showing his character development of a cocky self-centred scavenger to a more mature and heroic leader. The rest of the group also have matured and opened up as the movie progressed and this moment really capture that from them; this is the Guardians Apothesis.

Fig 4: Peter's Speech
Coming back to Xander where the adventure first started, the group infiltrate Ronan's ship the Dark Aster. The Refusal of the Call starts when Gamora splits from the gang to turn off the security system to allow the others access to the main part of the ship but she is stopped by her adoptive sister Nebula. The others are fighting against Ronan's warriors as they try to get to Ronan. Disaster strikes as Drax is wounded and Rocket's ship, as he was positioned as outside support, comes crashing into the ship, leading to an explosion and the Dark Aster falling from the sky. Groot sacrifices himself to make sure that the others aren't hurt from the crash. 

Emerging from the rubble, the remaining guardians emerge to Ronan as he is about to use his hammer, equipped with the infinity stone, to destroy Xander. This is the Magic Flight, as when he is about to use the power of the stone, Starlord uses his spontaneous tendencies to distracted Ronan so that Rocket could shoot the hammer, destroying the weapon and freeing the stone, that Peter catches, taking on its destructive power. Before the stone has a chance of killing Starlord, Gamora, Drax and Rocket grab hold of his hands and shares the burden, controlling the power just enough to kill Ronan, this is the Rescue from Without.

Fig 5: The Guardians sharing the burden of the Infinity Stone
The Guardians win the fight, Xander is safe, Returning to the Threshold, Peter gives the orb to the Nova corp, who in return wipes their criminal records. The Starlord is now a master of two worlds, by the Nova corp accepting him as a hero and while doing an analysis Peter learns that his father was an alien making him half-human, something that Yondu knew and was one of the reason for his abduction and after 26 years he finally opens the present his dying mother gave him, a second mixtape, being more confident and mature, good qualities for a leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy and his freedom to live.
Fig 6: The Guardians of the Galaxy set off on a new adventure