Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Action Adventure and Character

Action adventure – Character

Theorist Vladimir Propp posited that characters in all stories fall into certain archetypes.

· Hero
· Villain
· Princess/heroine
· False hero
· The donor
· The princess’ father
· The helper

Sometimes, not all these figures are present and sometimes one character can fulfil the function of two of Propp’s archetypes.

The Mummy (1999)

· Hero – Rick
· Villain – Imhotep
· Princess/heroine – Evelyn
· False hero – Beni
· The donor – Jonathan, who gives the map to Evelyn at the start; Winston, who gives his life and his aeroplane, the gun from which is later used by Ardeth Bey.
· The princess’ father – to some extent, this is also Jonathan
· The helper – Ardeth Bey, Jonathan, Winston

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

· Hero – Indy
· Villain – Belloq, the Nazi archaeologist
· Princess/heroine – Marion, Indy’s old lover
· False hero – several characters, including the two men who betray him at the start
· The donor – Abner Ravenwood and his daughter, Marion, who have the Eyptian artefacts that Indy and the Nazis want
· The princess father – Abner Ravenwood, Indy’s old mentor
· The helper – several characters, including Sallah and Dr Marcus Brody, the museum curator

Although the film ends with a new sense of equilibrium (Indy and Marion escape with the Arc of the Covenant, there is a hint of disruption to keep the audience guessing, because the US Army intelligence agents have sored it in a giant warehouse, “someplace safe," to be studied by "top men".

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