Stories about heroes are basically all alike. It doesn’t really matter when or where they take place or even if the characters have supernatural abilities or not. The same basic stuff is going to happen every single time. Columbia-educated mythologist Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) made a career of figuring this stuff out, and he put his findings into such books as The Hero With A Thousand Faces and the four-volume The Masks Of God. But in this busy modern world, what is needed is a visually-appealing, two-minute distillation of this concept, preferably with plenty of cameos by characters from well-known sci-fi and superhero franchises. Enter Iskander Krayenbosch, a student from the Netherlands who for his graduation project at HKU University for the Arts Utretcht created a spiffy little Campbell-based cartoon called “The Hero’s Journey.”

Richly narrated by Bob Miller, “The Hero’s Journey” walks viewers through one of Joseph Campbell’s key concepts, using cartoon likenesses of Harry Potter, Batman, Indiana Jones, Dorothy Gale, Neo, Aladdin, and others. Essentially, the hero starts out in an ordinary world (e.g. the Shire) before getting a call to adventure (possibly a literal phone call, like Neo did at work that one time). At first, the hero refuses this call before running into a mysterious old mentor (think: Luke and Obi-Wan) who changes his mind. Accepting his destiny, the hero crosses the threshold (at 88 MPH, preferably) and is put to the test, winning new friends and foes along the way (possibly at Hogwarts). The hero must then approach the inmost cave (which may have a lamp with a genie inside it), face the supreme ordeal (potentially in the form of the Joker), claim his reward (say, the Ark of the Covenant), and fly the road back (maybe on a bicycle). The triumphant hero is resurrected as a new person (in Oz) and returns home (to Kansas). Having watched Krayenbosch’s cartoon, the viewer is relieved of having to pore through thousands of pages of Joseph Campbell and may, in fact, never need to go to another movie again.

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The Hero’s Journey from Iskander Krayenbosch on Vimeo.

[via Laughing Squid]

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