Friday, April 8, 2011

Source Code Archetype Analysis

     In the movie thriller "Source Code" trailer, the protagonist is tasked with an extermely unique misson, where he has eight minutes on a train destined to blow up and he must must find the culprit. The first time he is on the train, he meets a woman who seems to know him but he hasn't seen her in his life. He goes to the washroom and looks at a different man in the mirror, an archetype that shows he is uncertain about his identity. He is actually Captain Stevens, a person working with the Source Code, a computer program designed to allow the user to experience the last eight minutes of another man's life. As he continues in his atttempt to find the criminal, you get the feeling that he is fighting fate. As he begins to get closer to the woman on the train, he begins to devise a plan to let her survive. Since these events already occured, the audience knows that the main character is going against the plan of fate, so he is going to struggle in his attempts to save her. This shows how he is considered an Unbalanced Hero, as he begins to feel emotions for the woman which will take him off his mission's objective. Due to these new found feelings, his identity will change and represent him, thus showing the juxtoposition from the beginning where he sees another man in the mirror to where he feels like he knows his goals in life.

     Originally, Captain Stevens archetypal journey was the journey in search of knowledge for the person who blew up the train. Through the use of the Source Code, Captain Stevens goal was to save the people in the future from harm, not anyone on the train. This changes over the course of the trailer, as he begins the serach for love by rescuing the woman in danger. Due to the fact that he knows she is about to die, this gives Stevens compassion for her situation. The woman shown in the trailer is a modern version of the damsel in distress, due to the woman being vulnerable in her lack of knowledge of the impending danger of the train being blown up. The lack of time that the two characters have to spend with each other gives them a bond that is very unique, as they must make the most of those few moments. This fuels Stevens plan to save her, in his hope that they can progress in a normal relationship.

     As the movie progresses, I would expect the Death and Rebirth situation archetype to occur, because of how Captain Stevens is continually going from the present to the past and back again. This is different from most Death and Rebirth Archtypes, as this gives the character a different relationship with the woman, as he can continually progress while she is stuck in that same eight minute interval unless he can save her. Another common character archetype that I would expect to see would be someone who would try to stop Captain Stevens from attaining his goal of saving the woman, as this will produce more of a climax once he ultimately succeeds or fails. Overall, I think that this trailer does a good job of attracting someone to go see it in a movie theatre and builds interest for someone to find out the way the story ends. 

This movie trailer makes us pause and question ourselves; what would we do if we knew the outcome of a situation and only had one chance to change it?

1 comment:

  1. Landon, I appreciate your insightful ideas on this trailer, but I am wondering about a couple of points you made. What main archetype do you think will come into play later on in the story, based on the trailer? You commented that an obstacle will appear that will determine success or failure, but you never specified whether the obstacle was himself or fate. Also, what do you think the contrasting symbols of light and darkness have on the general mood felt by the audience in the trailer? To answer your question, you must first consider the reasoning behind Captain Stevens actions. It appears that he chose to put all of his efforts into saving someone that is thought to be forever lost. This is because he feels as though he has no real sense of his identity and that these actions will help define who he is. This says a great deal about human nature and how even in the darkest of circumstances when the outcome is deemed to be certain, we still find something that’s worth believing in. Humans generally want to change the outcome because they want to feel like they’re in control of the situation even when they’re not and still grasp onto hope when things seem impossible.