How to plot a blockbuster movie

We were all outraged when we figured out that Avatar was Pocahontas – but not so many of us have complained that so many of our favourite blockbusters are essentially exactly the same story. Star Wars, Star Trek, the Matrix and Harry Potter are all just about exactly the same. The full plot outline is here… below is an abstract.

Once upon a time,

Luke | Kirk | Neo | Harry

was living a miserable life. Feeling disconnected from his friends and family, he dreams about how his life could be different. One day, heĀ is greeted by

Obi Wan | Captain Pike | Trinity | Hagrid

and told that his life is not what it seems, and that due to some circumstances surrounding his

birth | birth | birth | infancy

he was meant for something greater. Deciding to leave with

him | him | her | him,

Luke | Kirk | Neo | Harry

is taken to

Mos Eisley | Starfleet Academy | the real world | Hogwarts

where he meets lots of new, fascinating people. For the first time in a very long time, life is exciting, and

Luke | Kirk | Neo | Harry

explores the new life that has opened up for him. With his new friends, he starts to work hard to become the sort of man that

Obi Wan | Captain Pike | Trinity | Hagrid

said he could be. Although

Han | Spock | the Oracle | Draco

challenges his abilities, things go relatively well until suddenly,

Alderaan is destroyed | Vulcan is attacked | Morpheus is captured | Voldemort returns.

What this post doesn’t include is the obligatory montage that occurs in the bit where the main character is learning his mad skillz.


Goannatree says:

So there's this entire field of literary scholarship called "Structuralism" which has been noticing these kinds of patterns for about a hundred years. That's not to say this post isn't a pretty humorous assessment and not too far off the mark – I just wanted to point out that this is kind of where literary/pop culture criticism started.

You can describe this kind of storyline in a couple of other ways too – like bildungsroman (which loosely translated means a a young hero's journey as a rite of passage to becoming the hero – hence why why use the snappy German (they're good that). These kind of patterns were also explored by Joseph Campbell in "Hero with a thousand faces" and even Carl Jung!

Have fun and enjoy the recursiveness of the archetypal plot lines!
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Nathan says:

But Anna, the Matrix and Harry Potter weren't around 100 years ago…

Leah says:

Mmm… yes and no. The summary they've put there only summarises the beginning of each storyline.

Although I think pretty much every storyline in existence could be compared to another in a way like this.

Nathan says:


Did you go to the link? I didn't quote all of it – they have summarised the plot of the first installment of each franchise.

I think your second sentence is the summary of the joke. It is, of course, a joke, and not a serious commentary on the art of narrative.

Goannatree says:

Very funny Nathan…..but you know me..the lit prof. in me just couldn't let it go unsaid!
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