Sunday, 28 September 2014

[Narrative] 05: War of the Worlds (2005): The Hero's Journey

Fig. 1: 'War of the Worlds' (2005) Poster Art [Cropped]

1.    The Ordinary World
Ray Ferrier, divorced father of two children, Rachel and Robbie. Dock worker. Lives alone in Bayonne, New Jersey. Ex wife drops off their children, on her way to Boston with her boyfriend.

2.    Call to Adventure
The freak storm - lightning strikes the same place multiple times in quick succession. Investigation of the hole caused, rise of the first alien Tripod from within, leading to death of many people via the Tripod’s heat ray – they are turned into dust. Ray escapes, returns home – orders children to pack supplies, telling them they have to go.

3.    Refusal of the Call
All cars have stopped working, Ray finds one that works thanks to a replacement part, he steals it and escapes to Mary Anne’s empty house to hide with his kids, takes shelter in the basement.

4.    Crossing the Threshold
Damage to Mary’s house via Boeing 747 plane crash, Ray and children forced out of hiding. Discovery that Tripods are rising from beneath the ground in major cities worldwide - via news footage. Aliens entered Tripods via the lightning.

5.    Tests
Car taken by a mob that posed a threat to Ray’s children, especially 10-year-old Rachel.

Failed escape attempt by Ferry, which is sunk by Tripods, Ray and children manage to survive.

Robbie wants to leave the group and fight the aliens with the army, the Tripods have some kid of force field, preventing human weapons fire from touching them – Ray’s struggle to let him go; in their final tense moments Ray literally grabs his leg as Robbie clambers up a hill towards the army, finally gives in and lets him go, in order to protect Rachel.

Ray and Rachel offered shelter by Harlan Ogilvy who looses his mind after watching a Tripod harvest human blood; forcing Ray to have to kill him to stop his crazed shouting which would have led to them being discovered by the aliens. Ogilvy counts as both an Ally but in his madness, unintentionally becomes an Enemy.

A Tripod catches Rachel, after finding a belt of grenades Ray allows himself to be abducted with his daughter, they are then dropped in a pod shaped cage hanging on the Tripod’s body. Ray is nearly sucked inside the Tripod to be harvested but is saved by the other prisoners who pull him back, this ordeal pulls the pin of one of the grenades inside the tripod, setting them all off within its body, which releases the cages and destroys the tripod. This is also The Ordeal, Death and Rebirth.

Robbie, Rachel, sane Harlan, Mary Ann, the Military, bacteria.

The Martians, the Martian/Alien Tripods, crazy Harlan.

6.    Approach
While taking refuge with Ogilvy, ray is forced to destroy a Tripod probe with an axe. After Ogilvy is murdered, Rachel is caught sleeping by a second probe causing her to run outside – these events lead to Rachel’s capture, and as a result to Ray’s Ordeal.

7.    The Ordeal, Death and Rebirth
Ray is nearly harvested, but escapes from the Tripod cage via grenade explosion. [See Tests, paragraph 5]

8.    The Reward
Arrival of Ray and Rachel in Boston; the dying Martian red weed is seen to be eaten by crows – indicating the aliens failure to terraform Earth. A Tripod’s force field/shield has gone down, indicated by birds being able to make contact with it – allowing the military’s weapons to make impact and destroy it. Another Tripod approaches, but is seen to collapse on its own, smashing into a building in the process. Via narration the aliens are revealed to have not been immune to Earth’s bacteria, bringing about their death and thus the survival of humanity.

9.    Return with the Elixir
Ray and Rachel reach the home of Mary Ann’s parents in Boston, and are re-united with Mary Ann and Robbie – the elixir is the safety of Ray and Rachel, as well as the discovery of Mary Ann and Robbie’s survival. In broader terms the Elixir is the survival of humanity.

10. The Resurrection 
The audience is led to believe that when Robbie leaves to help the military, he is going to die. His unlikely survival and presence at his grandparents’ home may be considered a form of resurrection.

Illustrations List
Fig 1. 'War of the Worlds' Poster Art (2005) [Poster - Cropped] At: (Accessed on 28.09.14)

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