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Monomyth on “Click”

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    Childhood, tragedies, victories, influences, emotions, decisions, hopes, beliefs, and desires all play an extensive role in molding the innocent baby’s we all once were into becoming exposed and specialized human beings. These elements of life are what condition humans into developing their own character. Ever individual walks different paths of life but within each distinct path lay equivalent emotions that all humans encounter. Every movie illustrates a story, every story has a conflict, every conflict has an outcome, and every outcome simulates an emotion.

    This emotion affects the viewer by reflecting a personal moral or value upon his/her life. Viewers relate their human conditions to the emotions and obstacles the character goes through in the story. According to the internet movie database The Movie “Click” starring Adam Sandler generated $40,011,365 in its opening weekend. The reason why this movie made such an abundant amount of money is because so many people emotionally connected to the main characters journey. The human condition that the main character named Michael Newman endures is the realization that family comes first which is learned via recognizing that time is valuable.

    Dramatic elements are used to analyze Michael Newman’s character in the movie “Click” by emphasizing Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth and the steps of the hero’s journey. Before entering the stages of the hero’s journey Michael Newman is a workaholic architect, middle class father, with a beautiful wife and two small children. Michael Newman spends the majority of his time working in the hopes of one day receiving a promotion. He views his promotion as a prize and his family as an obligation. The call to adventure”, the beginning of his unknown journey, is established when Michael goes into Bed Bath and Beyond in search of finding a universal remote. He enters a back room where he meets the salesman named Morty, who introduces him to the perfect remote. Through dialogue Michael explains his reasoning for the remote, he say: “I want one device to do it all for me, quicker, easier, not so dam complicated. ” This dialogue represents that he is consumed with work and doesn’t have the time to figure out how to use complicated remotes. The setting also works to set a tone in this scene.

    The room he is in when he is introduced to the remote is very secret, isolated, and hidden from the public. This setting foreshadows the fact that the remote has special features that only Michael will experience. It is so advanced and rare that Michael must keep his remote a secret from the rest of his family. The music being played when Michael is given the universal remote is very mystical, with twinkle-like and magical sounds. These sounds suggest to the audience that the remotes capabilities are magical and unrealistic just like the music. The dramatic element of costume affects the scene as well.

    Morty is not wearing the ordinary Bed Bath and Beyond employee uniform, he is wearing a long scientist coat. This symbolizes that he plays a larger role in the movie than just a salesman. The color white signifies his guardian angel role that he plays throughout the whole movie. The idea of Morty being his aid is also expressed through dialogue. When Morty hands Michael the remote he says, “A guy needs a break once in a while. ” Morty supposedly knows nothing about Michael; this statement indicates that he’s aware of his hardworking lifestyle and wants to help make Michael’s life easier.

    Michael goes home to “cross the first threshold” or enter the unknown limits of his new world when he puts his remote to the test. He is amazed that it works to not only lower the volume of his dogs barking, but he can bypass arguments with his wife, and even fast-forward through family dinners. He demonstrates the “refusal of the call”, resistance of entering this new lifestyle, when he marches back into Bed Bath and Beyond to visit Morty. He expresses that this remote must not be real, he is in denial by believing there must be some type of negative tradeoff to this incredible device.

    At this point Morty confirms the fact that the remote is not a joke and that it is actually real. Morty warns Mr. Newman to be careful because it is a powerful device and then proceeds to hand him a business card and says, “If you have any questions call me. ” Morty’s behavior by handing him his business card and dialogue by explaining to him he is available to help him settles the idea that Morty is indeed as Campbell titles it Michaels “supernatural aid. ” In this phase of the movie Michael shows emotions such as excitement, interest, shock, and denial which are all emotions humans go through when something seems too good to be true.

    The next stage Michael goes through is the “belly of the whale” which can also be explained as the lowest point in the hero’s journey. Michael wakes up and realizes ten years of his life has gone by with no memories of anything. He finds himself obese, unable to recognize his kids, and to top it off he fathoms the reality that his wife has left him for his children’s former swim coach. The first time Michael sees his son Ben, Ben uses dialogue by calling Michael “dad” to inform the audience and Michael that he is Michael’s unrecognizable son. Michael’s “costume” is another very important element in this scene.

    Michael is wearing a “juicy” brand name sweat suit, he is driving a new expensive car, and he is obese. This symbolizes that Michael is now rich with a lot of money. The vision of Michael’s obesity represents that not only did he lose his family but he also stopped carrying for himself, reflecting the fact that work took all personal time away from him. The excessive distraction of work is displayed through contrast. Before Michael was granted his promotion he would wear simple jeans and a plain shirt, he drove a cheap car, and was a skinny man, and now he has transformed into the complete opposite.

    Through the initiation phase, Michael undergoes his “boot camp” which motivates him to eventually change his outlook on life. The “road of trials” is a series of troublesome discoveries a character goes through which in turn becomes a recipe for the making of a hero. The trial’s that Michael faces are accepting he has no relationship with his children and learning that his father had passed away. This affects the way he views himself, it affects his self esteem, and changes his priorities. Michael realizes that he has not cared about his family or spent enough time with them.

    He realizes that he has ignored the people in his life that care most about him. He feels like a horrible person for neglecting his family and allowing work to take over all of his time. His views on life has changed as well, instead of a career defining who he is, he now wants to make family his reason for being. Six more years has gone by and Michael does not recognize his son and mistakes a picture of his daughter for his son’s girlfriend. This is the second time in the movie that Mr. Newman is unable to recognize his kids.

    Instead of CEO, this time around Michael is architect of the year. The advancement in Michael’s career and the deterioration with his family share a positive correlation. The more he advances at work the harder he needs to work, and the more he works the less time he has to spend with his family. At this point Michael reluctantly accepts that this repetitive scenario promotes an unspoken implication-he has willingly given up his family for his career. The second trial he faces the tragedy of his father’s death.

    Michael’s son informs him that his father has passed away, Michael responds by saying, “No, no, don’t say that! ” and at once begins to cry. Through his dialogue and action of crying Michael’s remorse towards his father is clearly demonstrated. The setting of where this takes place is extremely symbolic. Michael is in his son’s office which used to be Michael’s office. This setting signifies that Michael’s son is following in his father’s footsteps. The discovery of his father’s passing in his sons office is an example of dramatic irony.

    His father’s death foreshadows the termination of the role he plays as a father to his own kids. It’s ironic because Michael has “died” in his own family as a father due to the extensive amount of time spent in his office. The “Apotheosis” stage is the point in the story where the character takes an action in order to make it known to themselves or others that he/she has lastly identified their true purpose. Michael has suffered from a heart attack and his children come to visit him in the hospital. His son explains that he has canceled his honeymoon in order to take care of urgent business.

    His children leave and Michael decides to sacrifice his life by disassembling himself from the IV. He runs after his children in pouring rain in order tell his son that he must go on his honeymoon! His son takes a last glance at the hospital and surprisingly discovers his father laying on the street yelling for him. Michael’s entire family surrounds him, he can barely speak but utters to his son that he must not give up his honeymoon for work. He then looks at his whole family and announces the new found lesson he has learned, he murmurs, “family comes first”, and then he dies.

    The persona that symbolically dies in this scene is a selfish, workaholic man who could care less about having a family and only cares about his career. The man he hates himself for being has passed away allowing himself to live again as the family man he now wants to be. The dramatic element of audience knowledge is a participant in dramatizing this episode. The audience has witnessed the emotional roller coaster Michael has gone through due to his universal remote. The audience is aware that these experiences have indeed altered his outlook on life.

    However, his kids are unaware of the remote and therefore view their father as the same selfish workaholic he once was. Michael demonstrates how important it is for him to pass on the lesson of family value by risking his life to unveil his new realization to his children. He willingly dies in order to gather his family together and explain to them how important family really is. He would rather die and have his family love each other than live with no family values. The pouring rain nighttime setting is a key factor in setting the dark and gloomy mood for this emotional scene.

    Costume is another dramatic element used in this scene. Michael is wearing a hospital gown while everyone else in the family is not only wearing black but also carrying black umbrellas. Michael’s hospital gown represents his poor health due to his workaholic lifestyle and the black outfits/umbrellas coincide with a funeral connotation signifying the forewarning of his death. Through repetition of Michaels continuous realization of how important family is the theme is again portrayed. The apotheosis is demonstrated because it’s a “period of rest, peace, and fulfillment, before the hero begins the return”- (Campbell).

    Once Michael finally plants the seed of family values in his children’s mind this statement perfectly describes Michael’s state of mind before passing away. Before Michael got sick he lived his life blissfully and his advancements at work filled his life with happiness. Once Michael is sick and passes away he is able to reflect back on his life and what he is leaving behind. He realizes that his promotions gave him absolutely nothing, he was left with money he would never spend and a family he barely knows. Before his death all he wants to leave behind is a strong family bond.

    He wants his family to learn from his mistake so that when they are on their death bed, they don’t regret neglecting family by living up to unrewarding career expectations just like he did. In the return phase Michael is a changed man compared to the workaholic he used to be. He used to play a career minded father who had no time for his family and he has now become a grateful man who values time spent with his loved ones. “The crossing of the return threshold” is when the character takes the first step in applying the lesson he has learned to everyday life.

    When Michael happily wakes up from his horrible dream he is excited to “share the wisdom with the rest of the world”(Campbell). He does so by barging into his parents’ bedroom, jumps on their bed, and expresses how much he appreciates them through the use of dialogue. His behavior of jumping on their bed indicates how eager and joyful he is to have both his parents alive. He could have called his parents in the morning but the late night setting emphasizes the urgency he felt to change his life by not allowing another wasteful minute to slip by.

    Michael then rushes home to inform his kids that he has postponed work in order to go on a family camping trip. His wife’s behavior highlights his dynamic. His wife stares at him with a puzzled yet satisfying look. Unlike the audiences knowledge she has no understanding of what triggered this dramatic new family oriented man to emerge. She is astounded of his new attitude and thrilled to witness the never before seen excitement Mr. Newman is now revealing to his family. Through Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, the character’s transformation from an employee to a family man is traced.

    Dramatic elements help us to analyze his character and interpret specific stages he undergoes in order to comprehend what comprises his extensive mental shift. Michael, like many humans, face emotions such as excitement, denial, joy, struggles, hardships, unwanted realizations, self reflection, and a new life perspective. Most Americans and especially fathers are constantly inundated with the expectation of making money. The movie “Click” resonates with so many Americans because we all share a common urge to be rich, however working so hard to get to that point can often time discombobulate our priorities.

    This movie allows the average hard working person to step back and ask themselves if they have lost sight of what they are working for. Michael Newman demonstrates that without family life is pointless. When we die people are remembered through relationships they have formed with others not how much money they were worth. “Click” reminds and teaches people that the human condition of family and the time we have to form bonds with our loved ones is priceless.

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    Monomyth on “Click”. (2017, Feb 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/monomyth-essay-on-click/

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