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The heroes of our story, Woody (left) and Buzz (right) (Picture from: http://movie.trailershut.com/tags/the-story-of-edgar-sawtelle.html)

Hero's Journey

The film that I chose to watch was “Toy Story”; in this story the main characters on the journey are Woody and Buzz, they are toys of a boy named Andy. The call in this journey takes place when Woody causes Buzz to fall out of the window to Andy’s bedroom and into the bushes, at this same time Andy takes Woody to go to Pizza Planet. On the way to Pizza Planet Buzz and Woody are both in the car and they stop at a gas station. It is at this point that our heroes reach the threshold of the story. At this point Woody and Buzz have reached a world without Andy that they know nothing of and also where they encounter their first challenge.

Throughout the journey these heroes experience several challenges along the way, the first of which taking place at the gas station where they cross the threshold. This first challenge is one in which they must find their way to Pizza Planet in order to reach their owner Andy, the heroes defeat this challenge by sneaking into a Pizza Planet delivery car and riding in it to Pizza Planet. The next challenge comes soon after the first challenge has been conquered. This challenge is at Pizza Planet when the heroes are in a machine referred to as “The Claw,” our heroes must try to escape this machine before a human grabs them with the claw in said machine. However, our heroes do not conquer this challenge and our taken by an evil boy, Sid, who tortures toys for pleasure.

From here our heroes are taken to a new place as well as their next challenge. This challenge is one that is rather difficult and that is to escape Sid’s house without being damaged. Within this challenge lie other challenges as well though. The first of these would be when Woody and Buzz find their way out of Sid’s room and get chased by Sid’s dog, Scud. Scud chases our heroes into two separate rooms but they escape from Scud safely. Once being chased into these rooms Buzz is faced with another challenge.

This challenge is where they must face the Abyss. This takes place when Buzz sees a commercial on television and realizes that he is not a Space ranger, but he is instead just a toy. At this point Woody has been trapped underneath a crate in Sid’s room and he must receive Buzz’s help to get out of this. However, Buzz is too upset from realizing he is a toy to help Woody out of this crate. The Abyss is conquered by them when Woody convinces Buzz that being a toy is really a good thing and he can still be a hero to Andy.

At this point in the journey our heroes undergo a transformation. This transformation is different for each character, for Woody the transformation is that he realizes that Buzz is really a nice guy and Woody likes Buzz now instead of resenting him. However, for Buzz’s transformation it is when he realizes that being a toy is really a good thing instead of bad. During this transformation Buzz experiences a revelation in which he realizes that he is going to enjoy being a toy and there is plenty of joy he can bring to Andy’s life as a toy.

Once this has happened our heroes have yet another challenge to face. Sid straps a rocket to Buzz’s back and plans to explode him, in order to defeat this challenge Woody must team up with all of the strange and terrifying toys that live in Sid’s room. These toys get outside and they scare Sid into running away and going inside his house, right after this Woody and Buzz run to Andy’s house as he is driving off to his new home. Woody and Buzz must chase the moving truck and catch up to it in order to be rejoined with Andy. While chasing this truck Scud sees the toys and chases behind them. At this point Woody makes it onto the moving truck while Buzz stays back to distract Scud.

Woody decides he must save Buzz, so he opens up the toy box and finds the remote control car, RC. Woody uses this car to drive back and save Buzz from Scud, however, the other toys believe Woody to be throwing away RC so they toss Woody off of the moving truck. Woody and Buzz both ride RC back towards the truck, but RC’s batteries die along the way and the truck starts to move farther away. Woody realizes that he can still make it to the truck with Buzz and RC. Woody lights the rocket that is attached to Buzz and they fly all the way back to the truck while detaching from the rocket just before it explodes. This is the point of the return when Buzz and Woody make it back to Andy and the other toys with a new found friendship.

Character Archetypes

Woody can be classified as the Classical Hero archetype in this story. This describes Woody because he is considered as royalty in the world of Andy’s room because he is Andy’s favorite toy and receives special treatment from Andy. This is shown by Woody being the only toy that gets put on Andy’s bed as well as Andy plays with him more than the other toys that he owns. This archetype is also supported by the fact that Woody goes through an adventure as all Classical Heroes do and in the end he returns back to his home. One other thing that makes Woody a Classical Hero is that he has a major flaw which would be he gets extremely jealous very easily. This shows Woody’s other character archetype which is the Jealous Man. Woody can be classified as this because when Buzz first arrives to Andy’s room he is placed in Woody’s special place on the bed and it appears Andy has found a new favorite toy. Woody gets so jealous by this that he knocks Buzz out of the window to Andy’s bedroom.

Buzz character archetype would fall under Action Hero. Buzz would fall into this category because he is a very cool and manly hero that is always involved in action sequences. This is best shown when he first arrives in Andy’s room and says he can fly, this is followed by him doing a series of flips and glides all the way around the room. Buzz also fits this archetype because he is constantly playing the role of a leader and saves the day in a dramatic action scene. However, Buzz can also be classified as a Fool in this story. This fits Buzz because for most of the journey Buzz believes himself to be a “Space Ranger” from the distant galaxy when in reality he is only a toy.

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Sid is getting prepared to torture a toy (picture from: http://l5businessofanimationr.blogspot.com/2011/07/look-at-disney-villains.html)

Sid would have the character archetype of the Villain in this story. Sid is a Villain because he purely seeks for evil things to happen to the toys he has and he opposes the heroes in the story. Sid shows this when he tapes a firework to a “Combat Karl” and explodes him in his backyard.

Slinky would be classified as the Loyal Friend. This archetype fits him because no matter what happens he always sticks by Woody through thick and thin. This is shown in the story when Woody is accused of pushing Buzz out the window and Slinky tells everyone that there’s no way Woody did that and he defends Woody’s honor. This is also shown when Woody is gone and Slinky speaks kindly of Woody while Andy’s other toys are bad mouthing him.

Mr. Potato Head would have the character archetype of a Disloyal Pessimist. This fits Mr. Potato Head because he would always point out the negative things that happened and he went against Woody at the first chance he had. For example, when Buzz fell out of the window Mr. Potato Head was the first one to start pointing fingers at Woody. No matter what happened he would go with what made him look good to the other toys.

Rex would have the archetype of Cowardly Beast because while he is frightened of everything that could go wrong around him, he is a T-Rex dinosaur. This is important because these creatures are mostly known to be large scary toys that others are afraid of, but really he is a nice toy and is instead scared of many things.

Impact of Archetypes

The film “Toy Story” is very important with its Hero’s Journey as well as its Character Archetypes. These things do a very good job of influencing the viewers of the film by teaching the viewers a valuable lesson in life. This film shows the viewers the importance of friendship by showing how after Buzz and Woody become friends that they have a much easier time accomplishing their goal of getting back to Andy’s. This film also shows the viewers not to judge a book by its cover because at first Woody views Buzz as a fool but in the end he realizes that Buzz is really a good guy and means well. Finally, this film teaches viewers not to be oblivious to what is around them and this is shown by Buzz thinking he is a spaceman the whole time and is then upset once he realizes he’s a toy.

The character archetypes portrayed in the film include Classical Hero (Woody), Action Hero (Buzz), and the Villain (Sid). These archetypes show up so often because these archetypes really exist in real life all around the people. These are used to show how there are people that can stand up to evil and be heroes but that there are also those who wish to only be evil and inflict pain on others. This indicates that our society must do more to stand up to the evil around us in order to stick up for the little people who can’t stand up for themselves.