Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is a form of writing that is very popular in many books and movies.  Its stages allow us to follow the wild journey of the character easily.  A movie that I admire is Finding Nemo.  I realize now that the reason this movie is so good, is because it uses the Hero’s Journey stages to connect you with the character.  In the movie, Nemo is abducted by divers and his dad sets out on a quest to save his son.

Nemo is just a young fish who loves to hang out with his friends and go to school.  His dad, Marlin, is overprotective of his son and is always warning him about the dangers of the ocean.  Nemo is curious about the open waters and wants to explore.  In the stages of the Hero’s Journey, this is the first stage called The Ordinary World.   It introduces the character and says a little bit about the normal life.

Nemo disobeys his dad and swims off into the ocean.  He soon discovers that he doesn’t like the deep water and tries to head back to the reef.  All of a sudden, Nemo finds himself in a net then on a boat to Sydney Australia.  When his dad sees this happen, he tries to get to Nemo, but he’s too late.  He then makes the decision to try to track down the boat.  When Marlin decides to go after Nemo, this is The Call To Adventure.

Nemo gets taken back to a dentist’s office in Sydney, where he is put into a fish tank with several other fish.  These fish plot an escape plan to get them all back to the ocean.  Meanwhile, Marlin finds a friendly fish named Dory, who suffers from short term memory loss.  They team up together to get Nemo back.  For Marlin, it’s very much outside of his comfort zone to be traveling through the ocean.  This is called Crossing The Threshold.  Nemo and Marlin both accept their journey into, what is called the new world.

Both, the father and the son, have many obstacles to face.  Nemo has a crazy little girl that is going to take him home.  Marlin runs into a mean shark that wants to eat him and Dory.  Marlin and Dory outsmart the shark and escape, but they are knocked unconscious when they set off an old mine.  This is The Tests, Allies, and Enemies.   It’s the fourth stage and often the character has obstacles to face, friends they meet, or enemies they face.

The plan that Nemo and the gang set up, doesn’t work and Nemo gets hurt.  They plan again and come up with another plan.  Marlin and Dory get directions from a school of fish, but Marlin thinks he knows a safer way, leading them into a school of jellyfish that sting them unconscious.  When they face the hardest challenge yet, it’s called The Ordeal.

Dory and Marlin catch a ride with a group of turtles with the current all the way to Sydney’s harbor.  The dentist is about to give Nemo to the little girl, but Nemo plays dead.  Wen one of the fish from the tank makes a distraction and freaks out everyone in the office, Nemo escapes through the drains to the ocean.  The last challenge in Hero’s Journey, The Supreme Ordeal, is usually the hardest one for the character to overcome.

Marlin and Nemo reunite.  Everyone back at the reef is very excited to see them.  Marlin invites Dory to stay at the reef with them and she happily excepts.  Back at the Dentist’s office, the fish tank gets broken and the gang gets put into bags.  They use the bags to roll out the window and into the ocean.  Not sure how to get out of the bags, they wait to see what will happen next.  When the Hero overcomes all the obstacles, they usually get a reward and this is called The Reward and The Journey Home.  In this case, It’s Nemo and his father reuniting.  I love this movie and a big reason for that would be The Hero’s Journey.

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