Saturday, November 19, 2005

What myths are made of

I don't feel like writing a lengthy review of the 4th Harry Potter movie, simply because it took all my high Harry hopes and dashed them to bits with all the force of an Unforgivable Curse. I won't go into how the epic proportions of the book were hacked and mangled and amputated until all that remained was a mediocre, weak storyline. Neither will I dwell on the choppy editing (fine, I realize it's impossible and impractical to include every tiny detail and subplot, but jumping from the opening of the Quidditch World Cup to a Death-Eater-triggered stampede is not what I call smooth transition), nor will I harp on the sporadic and frustratingly-- for lack of a better English word-- bitin appearances of acting legends such as Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and the fabulous Miranda Richardson. Suffice it to say that the 3rd movie is still by far the best adaptation of the series (I knew Cuaron shouldn't have relinquished the directing reins, argh), and the only bright spots in Goblet of Fire were James and Oliver Phelps, who play my beloved Weasley twins (I ran into my student Cla after the movie, and she told me she now understands why I adore Fred and George so much =D).

My ranting stops there. Now I want to share an observation I've made about popular fantasy series that have such rich material that they have evolved into modern myths. I will use Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings as examples. They all seem to follow a formula that includes the following elements:

1. the young, vulnerable hero on whom all hope rests
  • HP: Harry
  • SW: Luke Skywalker
  • LOTR: Frodo
2. the loyal sidekick/best friend
  • HP: Ron
  • SW: Han Solo
  • LOTR: Sam
3. the allies secretly (or not so secretly) in love with one another
  • HP: Ron and Hermione
  • SW: Han Solo and Princess Leia
  • LOTR: Aragorn and Arwen
4. the comic relief tandem/s
  • HP: Fred and George
  • SW: Han Solo and Chewbacca/C3PO and R2D2
  • LOTR: Merry and Pippin/Legolas and Gimli
5. the wise old mentor
  • HP: Dumbledore
  • SW: Yoda/Obi Wan Kenobi
  • LOTR: Gandalf
6. the menacing, all-powerful villain
  • HP: Voldemort
  • SW: the Emperor Palpatine
  • LOTR: Sauron
7. the good guy turned bad guy (or the other way around)
  • HP: Snape
  • SW: Darth Vader
  • LOTR: Saruman/Boromir
8. the antagonist who makes life extra hard for the already beleaguered hero
  • HP: Draco
  • SW: Jabba the Hutt
  • LOTR: Gollum
So if anyone out there dreams of creating their own modern myth worthy of Hollywood's attention, you might want to take note of what key components to include in your saga. And do us all a favor and get a better director than Mike Newell.


At Sunday, November 20, 2005, Anonymous Maddy O. said...

3. the allies secretly (or not so secretly) in love with one another

What? I thought that would be Frodo and Sam. -___-


At Sunday, November 20, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Hahaha, do you know I was actually thinking of including that? But out of respect for Tolkien I decided to overlook it, as well as the crush Legolas seems to have on Aragorn. :p

At Monday, November 21, 2005, Anonymous ange said...

Ahem ahem ahem.

I would like to say that Legolas does not seem to have (or have or will ever have) a crush on Aragorn. Puh-lease. Sure, the guy's all masculine with his rugged looks and nice sword, and well, Legolas is all feminine with his clean looks and swift movements, but there is no attraction there whatsoever. I have nothing against that kind of thing, believe me, but please keep the godly elf away from such thoughts. ;) It's a good thing you decided to overlook that. But I do have to agree with the Sam-Frodo thing. It's fun watching him get all concerned and almost motherly towards Frodo.

At Monday, November 21, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

So the stricken look on Legolas' lovely face when Aragorn plummeted into the river and was presumed dead... brotherly concern, right? :p As much as I adore Legs, the sweet glances he and Aragorn exchange are sometimes... questionable. :)

But joking aside, I think it's simply a throwback to the ancient Greek concept of brotherhood, where sex was an ambiguity and comrades expressed their love for each other unabashedly, unrestrained by social norms and prejudices. That's why I hate how the movie Troy downplayed-- heck, downgraded-- the relationship between Hercules and Patroclus. Nephew, my ass. They just couldn't risk hurting Brad Pitt's macho image. Tsk tsk.

P.S. Some say that C3PO and R2D2 are gay. Even droids aren't above suspicion. ;p

At Tuesday, November 22, 2005, Anonymous ange said...

Yes, yes. That was purely concern for a fellow warrior, and nothing more. However, there was this one scene, towards the end of the trilogy that was, as you would put it, questionable. Care to guess? ;)

When we studied Greek history last year, many were uncomfortable with the way the Greeks, specifically the men/boys, relate with each other. It was natural to them, but yes, our society dictates something else. Remember the movie "Alexander"? Even if Alexander wasn't Greek, he more or less grew up in the Greek culture, right? And that certain thing about him being bisexual seemed to be the highlight of the whole movie. Funny.

...I think even the Romans had those tendencies..(going beyond platonic love).

I agree C3PO's gay, but R2D2 was able to handle his feelings well enough to conceal them in the movie. Or at least make them less subtle. :)

At Tuesday, November 22, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

And it doesn't help that C3PO's British. A British accent always sounds gay, no matter how hunky the guy. :p

Now that you mention the movie Alexander, didn't they cut out the kissing scene between Colin Farrell and Jared Leto? Boo!!

Hmm, a scene at the end of Return of the King? Would this be the coronation ceremony where Legolas appears looking more stunning than Arwen? Haha.

At Wednesday, November 23, 2005, Anonymous ange said...

I alawys thiought that a British accent (TRUE Brit accent) makes a person sound intelligent, for example, Hugh Grant's. Though some of the roles he plays aren't appealing, I think his accent, plus maybe a bit of charm, makes the movie a bit more interesting. :)

Boo because they cut out the scene? They had a kissing scene? The only one I saw that involved both men was the one in Alexander's room...was that him or the guy who can pose as a woman?

Bingo! That's the one! :D

At Wednesday, November 23, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

A more intelligent man usually IS gay. Haha. Kidding aside, yeah, the ladeedah accent does make them sound smarter than they actually are (take Tony Blair for example :p).

Yep, they apparently cut out a torrid kissing scene between Alexander and his male consort. There goes artistic integrity. :(

At Wednesday, November 23, 2005, Anonymous ange said...

I refuse to believe that even if it is usually. :)

Wait, wait. I'm confused. Who was the man with Alexander at the time his wife (I think) came in and saw them doing something?

At Wednesday, November 23, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Yeah, that was the one, if I recall correctly. :)

At Thursday, November 24, 2005, Anonymous ange said...

It wasn't much..;)


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