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The Heroic Journey in Film - Shrek

Essay by review  •  February 26, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,839 Words (8 Pages)  •  817 Views

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The Heroic Journey in Film- Shrek

"... Once upon a time, there was a lovely princess. But she had an enchantment upon her of a fearful sort which could only be broken by love's first kiss. She was locked away in a castle guarded by a terrible fire-breathing dragon. Many brave knights had attempted to free her from this dreadful prison, but none prevailed. She waited in the dragon's keep, in the highest room of the tallest tower, for her true love, and true love's first kiss." This is the opening line of the Shrek movie and like nearly all fairytales and many Disney movies it starts with "... Once upon a time." The movie Shrek, is an excellent example of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey because it's about an ogre going on an adventure, fighting odds and enemies, winning the battles, and bringing home the prize.

In short, the Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson film, Shrek, is about an ogre who lives in a swamp by himself. He wants to be by himself because he is very insecure about his looks and the way he's perceived by others. On the other hand, in the kingdom of Farquaad, many of the fairy tale characters that we all know and love so much including the "Three Little Pigs", the "Big Bad Wolf", "Snow White", and the "Ginger Bread Man", etc. are all being banished. One of the others bound to be banished is a talking donkey that goes by the name, Donkey. Donkey really becomes a sweet and hilarious royal pain in the butt of Shrek. While eating, Shrek is horrified when his swamp becomes filled by the banished fairytale creatures, all because of Lord Farquaad. Shrek learns that the only way to get his loved swamp back is to go to Lord Farquaad himself. Meanwhile, Farquaad has the special mirror that he took from "Snow White." He uses it to find himself a princess. The mirror gives him three choices... "Cinderella, Snow "She lives with seven men, but she's not easy" White, and Princess Fiona. Influenced by his knights, the prince chooses number three, Princess Fiona. But the problem is, is that Fiona is locked in a tower that is protected by a female dragon. When Shrek finally reaches the kingdom of Farquaad, he somehow hilariously ends up receiving the task of retrieving Princess Fiona in return for his swamp. Shrek accepts the deal and begins his journey with Donkey, which eventually leads back to the kingdom of Farquaad where Shrek brings home Princess Fiona only to find out that Princess Fiona is also part ogre as well. They share love's first kiss and Princess Fiona becomes a full-time ogre instead of a princess. They fly off on a dragon and live "happily-ever-after."

Shrek really is a pure stroke of genius. It's a great movie for all ages and has a sarcastic and hilarious attitude to it as well as a voice. Many movies recently have lacked that, but this movie yokes the "You can't judge a book by its cover" clique. Yet, this movie is so good because of one main character, Shrek. His journey really is one of heroism. Every step of the Heroic Journey can be tracked if you watch the full ninety minutes.

Like all heroic stories, they all have to start somewhere. The movie starts with him already as an adult so we don't know much about his childhood but his home is the woods, and the country. He's an ogre and everyone hates him. So, he hides from them all deep in the woods and stays isolated and alone. The Call to Adventure occurs when Shrek is presented with a problem. Lord Farquaad has just banished fairy tale creatures out of his kingdom and sends them all into his swamp. So, he leaves the swamp and finds Lord Farquaad where he's told that to get his swamp back he has to rescue the princess Fiona. In some versions of the Heroic Journey, a step or two is added. One of these that fits this movie is Meeting with the Mentor. Now, most people who have seen Shrek would say that the Donkey isn't much of a mentor so to say. But one think I think he teaches Shrek is humor and how to live life. Donkey ends up giving Shrek confidence and advice, which... Shrek usually refuses, but Donkey really is an important element in the adventure. In the next step, the hero usually crosses the gateway that separates the ordinary world from the special world. In this case, Shrek goes to the kingdom of Farquaad, where the prince orders his men to kill Shrek. Whoever kills him first gets a chance to rescue the princess. But Shrek kills all the men. Farquaad wants to marry the princess so he'll be king, so he tells Shrek if he can rescue the princess he'll get the swamp back. And obviously, since his main reason for being there in the first place is to get his swamp, he accepts.

But throughout his journey, Shrek faces numerous tests, however really only one enemy. The first test is really is his own helper. The Donkey is a test because he drives Shrek insane. Shrek really doesn't even want Donkey to be there in the first place, but the Donkey tags along anyway. The second would be fighting off Farquaad's men. Everyone hates him because he's different and so they try to kill him. But Shrek has so far managed to fight them off. Shrek's ugliness in general, would be a test because people make fun of him, like Fiona says, "How could someone like someone so ugly? Pretty and ogre don't go together." Shrek thinks here that she's talking about him, when in reality she's talking about herself. Now, obviously, we do have to mention that rescuing Princess Fiona has to be a test and really is the overlapping idea. Many of the other tests wouldn't even occur if it wasn't for Shrek going to save Princess Fiona. That really is the main mission. In reality, this movie has one real enemy and that would be Lord Farquaad because the only think he cares about is the princess and how he'll become a King.

The next part of the journey is one that really is under discretion. Many versions leave this one out but in Shrek, there really is an approach. An approach is a when a hero hits a setback during tests and then has to kind of rebuild their morale, strength,

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