October 15, 2016

The Hero's Journey: Archetypes- Rocky Balboa (2006)

Rocky Balboa (2006) is the sixth Rocky film, written and directed by Sylvester Stallone. It is a continuation of Rocky's story, 16  years later. Rocky is now retired and mourning the loss of his wife, and he returns to the ring for his final fight after being inspired, having seen a computer generated boxing match between himself and current heavy weight champion, Mason Dixon.
Figure 1: Movie Poster
The Hero:
Rocky Balboa.
The Herald:
The herald is unclear and not obvious, but is embodied in some way by the sports channels that constantly update the audience throughout the film with news on what is happening in the boxing world, for example the computer fight between Dixon and Rocky, and the fact that Rocky received a licence and is taking part in the boxing exhibition.
The Mentor:
As Rocky is now old and his mentor Micky has died, he is now a mentor to himself, and he is in charge of his own training and his decisions. He no longer needs the support of anybody else and he doesn't need anyones permission or assurance to achieve what he wants to achieve. Another mentor figure would be Apollo Creeds ex manager 'Tony "Duke" Evers', who was part of the team who helped Rocky train.
The Threshold Guardian:
The threshold guardian was Rocky taking tests and being judged by a panel to see if he was fit to receive a boxing licence, and then once being denied that licence, fighting for it and proving that it was up to him how he chooses to live his life, not anyone else.
The Shapeshifter:
The shapeshifter archetype in Rocky Balboa is embodied by two people, his own son Rocky Jr, and Marie's son, Steps. Both of the characters start out as unsupporting and cold towards Rocky, insulting him and telling him he is too old. We are not clear of how they are truly feeling until the middle act where we see them make a complete change and help Rocky with his training, and support him in his last fight.
The Shadow:
The shadow in this film, although referred to as Rocky by his son Rocky Jr, is really Rocky's opponent, Mason Dixon. "Rocky's opponent, Mason Dixon is in my opinion, one of the weaker "villains" of the series as he's far more low-key and has almost no personality, which is more believable," (Brett, 2016) We do not get too much detail on Dixon's character, unlike previous opponents; Apollo Creed, Ivan Drago and Tommy Gunn, but what we do get from this character is that he is there to fight, for his own ego. When we are first introduced to him he is bragging how much he can hurt Rocky without any effort, and saying he will crush the old man.
Figure 2: Movie Still

The trickster, like in all Rocky films, is Paulie. Paulie is the comical character who is always making jokes, although sometimes insulting and abusive. "Paulie is the every-man, the average Joe, the guy in the crowd who in this movie is heard." (Eric, 2015) It is still comical because we feel sorry for him, because we know the character acts that way to make other people feel the same way he does, and it's all just a facade to cover up his own insecurities. "The film is triumphant in causing a bittersweet sense of nostalgia whole keeping audiences entertained" (Cameron, 2016). He also lightens up some situations, for example often throughout the film when Rocky is lost in his nostalgia and the film starts to get sad, Paulie pulls him out of it by shouting at him to 'not live in the past' and complains about having nowhere to sit. Also in the scene where he comes through Adrian's restaurant screaming and shouting at Rocky, it lightens the heavy mood that was set by the confrontation with his son.
Figure 3: Movie Still
Rocky's allies are with him throughout the film, Marie, Steps, Paulie, Tony and although dead, Adrian. He later gains the allegiance of his son, and his home town. Also America is rooting for him, as he is the 'Italian Stallion', a legend in boxing.
The Mother:
The mother archetype in this film is Marie, although not strongly present throughout, she supports her child and also Rocky, and cares for both of them like a mother would.
The Father and the  Child:
The children again are Steps and Rocky Jr. They are naive and learn a lot through Rocky during the film, and they grow up and learn to respect him. Again in the sixth film, there are no father figures present except for Rocky. Rocky is the main father figure in the film, and even when his own child distances himself from him, he looks after Steps as though a father would and gets him a job and takes him out. Rocky and Steps are included in Rocky's team who help train him, and they are with him in the ring for his final fight when the film ends.
Although not a love interest, Marie is the maiden archetype in Rocky Balboa. She poses as a character who could or could not be a love interest, and Rocky comes to her aid throughout the film to support her and encourage her.


Rottentomatoes.com. (2016). Rocky Balboa - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes. [online] Available at: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_balboa/reviews/?type=user [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].
Rottentomatoes.com. (2016). Rocky Balboa - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes. [online] Available at: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_balboa/reviews/?page=2&type=user [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].
Rottentomatoes.com. (2016). Rocky Balboa - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes. [online] Available at: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_balboa/reviews/?page=3&type=user [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].
Figure 1: Google.co.uk. (2016). Rocky Movie Poster. [online] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.posterduniya.com%2Fimg%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F01%2FRocky.jpg&psig=AFQjCNF9I05YudyVjH5DEncbwUSaSoY85g&ust=1476652634094792&cad=rjt [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].
Figure 2: Google.co.uk. (2016). Mason Dixon. [online] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjZqr6T393PAhXCVBQKHeZMB38QjBwIBA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fimages-na.ssl-images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FG%2F01%2Fdvd%2Fsony%2Frocky%2FRocky7lrg._V12312312_.jpg&psig=AFQjCNFPRIPoWo63DiYZfGEget2LpXuZug&ust=1476652965790332&cad=rjt [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].
Figure 3:Usatftw.files.wordpress.com. (2016). Rocky Balboa. [online] Available at: https://usatftw.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/xxx_zx55079_d_rocky_balboa_mov_1_13804577.jpg?w=1000&h=664 [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].

October 05, 2016

The Hero's Journey: Rocky (1976)

Rocky (1976) is a film written by Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen. It stars Stallone as Rocky Balboa, a working class boxer from Philadelphia. Rocky tells the story of an 'american dream', a young unknown boxer suddenly is given the chance of a lifetime, of competing against Apollo Creed, Carl Weathers, for the world heavyweight title. The film won three oscars and became the most successful, highest grossing film of 1976, despite having only a $1 million budget and being shot in just under a month.
Image 1: Film Poster
The Call to Adventure:
Apollo Creeds' manager calls for Rocky with an offer to fight the world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.
The Refusal of the Call:
Once Rocky realises that it is not just a sparring session, but a shot at the world title he refuses, thinking he isn't that good and because he 'only fights in clubs'. He once again refuses the night before the fight because he visits the boxing ring and realises the gravity of the situation; he is to fight the world heavyweight champion.
Supernatural Aid:
Ex-fighter Micky comes to Rocky begging him to let him mentor him and be his manager, and tells him having him as a manager will make him succeed, and he teaches him.
Crossing the Threshold:
Rocky crosses the threshold when he starts training, we see this begin by him waking before the sun rises to run across the town, chasing chickens, boxing with Micky and drinking raw eggs. He also has interviews on television.
Image 2: Film Still
The Belly of the Whale:
Rocky visits the boxing ring the night before the fight, and takes in the scale of the venue and realises the situation he is now in. He sees himself painted onto posters opposite Apollo Creeds' and doubts himself.
Road of Trials:
He faces problems with his friend Paulie, as he feels Rocky is leaving him behind as he is rising to fame. All of his training with Micky, training by running up the steps in Philadelphia. He is also trying to get Adrian to like him, in the hope that she will be his girlfriend. Rocky is also mocked by Apollo Creed.
Meeting the Goddess:
Rocky meets and falls in love with Adrian.
Woman as Temptress:
"Women weaken legs", said by Micky to Rocky, about his girlfriend Adrian.
Atonement with Father:
Rockys parents are never mentioned, but throughout the beginning of the film we see Rocky desperately trying to make Micky respect him and listen to him. After Rocky is given the shot at the world title Micky starts to see potential in him, and after he becomes his manager they become friends and have a respectful relationship with one another; Micky sees in Rocky his younger self, and Rocky sees Mickys' wisdom and experience. Even though he doubts himself, he says to himself that it doesn't matter if he loses the fight, all that matters is 'going the distance'.
Apollo Creed is spoken about as if he is unbeatable, godly. He comes into the fight in a parade, wearing a costume and having a spotlight trained on him, being showered in glitter and throwing money into the crowd. Everybody loves him.
"Nobody has ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance... If the bell rings and I'm still standing I'm gonna know for the first time in my life that I'm not just another bum from the neighbourhood"
Rocky thinks he cannot beat Creed, he is unbeatable in his eyes and he has already accepted that he will lose, but he still wants to 'go the distance' to prove to himself he is something.
The Ultimate Boon:
Rocky fights Apollo and it turns out he was a real component for him. He succeeds in being the first person to knock him out. They are equal.
Refusal of Return:
Even though Rockys' nose is broken, his whole face is swollen and he can't see, he still carries on because he wants to prove himself. He has his eyelid cut open so he can see again, and Apollo also carries on with a broken rib. He keeps getting hit harder and harder but he carries on, refusing to back down and quit even when he is knocked to the floor and unable hold his gloves up to defend himself. Everybody tells him to stay down, even Micky but he doesn't listen.
Magic Flight:
Rocky regains some strength and goes at Apollo with so much force and breaks his ribs. He won't back down and keeps punching him over and over to knock him down.
Rescue from Without:
Adrian helps Rocky at the end of the fight to calm him down, and he realises the fight is over and he can finally rest.
Crossing the Return Threshold:
The fight ends and Rocky spends time in hospital recovering from his injuries.
Master of Two Worlds:
Rocky is now a serious competitor, and is a respected skilled fighter in the boxing world, and is respected in his home town and everybody knows he is not just a 'neighbourhood bum'. We see people in the pub of his hometown who didn't believe in him before, now rooting for Rocky.
Image 3: Film Still

Freedom to Live:
The last lines said by Creed are 'Ain't gonna be no rematch'. Rocky is now free from the fight with Apollo and doesn't have to train to fight him anymore, and he can go back to his life.

Image 1: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/18/Rocky_poster.jpg. (2016). [image].[Accessed 05 October 2016].
Image 2: Google UK. 2016. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwito5Hn48TPAhWDchQKHXC3AMYQjBwIBA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fi.dailymail.co.uk%2Fi%2Fpix%2F2015%2F03%2F10%2F267B99C100000578-2987319-image-m-2_1425950158192.jpg&psig=AFQjCNEC-N5A95WlqVkNgIHtETpivtDXIg&ust=1475795231697000&cad=rjt. [Accessed 05 October 2016].
Image 3: rotten tomatoes. 2003. Rocky (1976). [ONLINE] Available at: http://content.internetvideoarchive.com/content/photos/8934/461695_017.jpg. [Accessed 6 October 2016].
All Quotes: Rocky. (1976). [DVD] Sylvester Stallone, John G. Avildsen. [Accessed 6 October 2016].