All good stories come in three parts: beginning, middle and end or in the case of the Heroes Journey or monomyth: Departure, Initiation and Return. This is a basic breakdown of the the Heroes Journey and how it shows up in the The Matrix, Braveheart and The Lord The Rings.
Call to Adventure: Neo gets the ‘call’ from Morpheus on the special delivery mobile phone sent to his office to save him from the Agents of the Matrix.
Refusal of Call: Neo climbs to the edge of a skyscraper ledge where he has to risk death to escape (cross the threshold) and decides he cannot.
First threshold: Neo follows the white Rabbit tattoo on the shoulder of a beautiful woman and ends up waking up out of his Matrix life of sleep.
Road of trials: Neo is interrogated by Agent Smith, trains as a warrior, is betrayed and goes to battle with The Matrix itself.
Ultimate ‘boon’: Neo becomes the ‘one’ and integrates into The Matrix, defeating it and his nemesis, Agent Smith.
Return: Neo returns, vowing to wake all others from their prison of sleep.
Call to Adventure: Wallace is visited by clan warriors and invited to join them in the defence of their land and freedom.
Refusal of Call: Refuses their offer choosing to build a home and find a wife.
First threshold: Wife is murdered by English warrior in cold blood.
Road of trials: Becomes a warrior. Gathers together an army. Begins battling English. Pushes them out. Betrayed by Robert The Bruce and is captured.
Ultimate ‘boon’: Rouses the Scottish people to fight for their freedom.
Return: The spirit of Wallace is brought back to Scotland after his execution and used to inspire a decisive victory and freedom for the Scottish people.
Lord of the Rings
Call to Adventure: The Ring is given to Frodo for safe keeping.
Refusal of Call: Frodo denies his destiny and tries to get Gandalf to take charge of the Ring. Frodo refuses at first to leave the Shire.
First Threshold: Discovering the Ring Wraiths are approaching, Frodo is forced to flee his homeland.
Road of Trials: Many a dangerous event on the long road through all three films. Gollum. Ring wraiths. Cave Trolls. Orcs. Boromir’s betrayal, many battles and all the while the carrying of the evil burden of the Ring.
Ultimate Boon: Reaching Mount Doom and destroying the Ring.
Return: Having saved Middle Earth but deeply scarred by the Ring’s power, Frodo goes with Bilbo Baggins to the Summerlands. Middle Earth and its people are returned to their former peace.
Caspar Walsh is the film editor for Resurgence. He is an author, journalist and wilderness teacher. His new novel Blood Road is available in paperback, January 6th 2011
Caspar was interviewed today on Mark Tully's programme,'Something Understood' on the theme of places of safety, BBC Radio4. The interview will be available on 'listen again' until 8th January: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00x31j3