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Whale Rider Movie Review

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In the movie, Whale Rider, there are great examples of Joseph Campbell’s article, Four Functions of Myth, which are: mystical myth, cosmological myth, social myth, and psychological myth. In the film, Whale Rider, Pai discovers her sense of self as she reinvents the Maori tribe’s creation myth to save the dying culture.

The mystical myth in Whale Rider would be when she rode the whale. Pai is suppose to be the new chief in town, however, her grandfather, Koro, does not think a girl should be chief because he believes it will break tradition.

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Pai’s grandfather would always talk to the whales to get some help and advice from them, which are said to be their ancestors. The community was breaking apart and Koro was aware of it; that’s why he wanted help from his ancestors. Pai said, “A long time ago, my ancestor Paikea came to this place on the back of a whale. Since then, in every generation of my family, the first born son has carried his name and became the leader of our tribe…until now” (Whale).

For this reason, Koro felt he had to follow the tradition, but the ancestors knew that it was time for a change. The only way for that to happen was for Pai to be the new leader. When she rode the whale it gave the community hope for a new life and a new beginning.

The Maori tribe was falling apart, and when she rode the whale she brought it back to life. The community reunited back together just how they were in the past. If it wasn’t for the Pai the community and tribe wouldn’t have done it without her and for that they were blessed to have Pai born as a girl. The cosmological part of this film is portrayed by showing what the tribe was like before the birth of Pai and how the grandfather had to follow a whole set of different rules and laws. Before Pai’s birth, the tribe had to follow many rules. For example, Koro had to choose the next born son from his family. After his son got his wife pregnant, Koro was supposed to choose another male to be the next chief in town. Koro’s son had fraternal twins, unfortunately, the boy died and only the girl survived. Pai said, “There was no gladness when I was born. When I was born, my twin brother died and took our mother with him” (Whale). This shows that the grandfather had no joy when Pai was born because all he wanted was the boy so he could choose him to be the next chief, according to the tradition. Afterward, when Pai eventually became the first female leader of the tribe, the entire community changed.

In the Maori tribe, the men had their place and the women had their place. Everybody in the community had their role to follow. The sociological myth of this movie was that everybody had a way of living; they had sets of rules to follow. This is what made the community and tribe be the way it was. The one person who actually tried to follow all of the laws and roles was Koro. He was the chief of the community and he had to show that he was by taking command and by influencing the younger people. Koro was the only one who continued to follow the tradition, that is, until he broke it by trying to find a male to be the next chief in town. He wasn’t supposed to go out and try to find one, he was supposed to choose the next child that his son would have.

The psychological part of this film is when she wanted to show her grandfather that she can be the next chief in town, even if she is a female. She was trying to show her grandfather that gender does not matter in order to be a chief. Pai really valued the community. When she was about to leave with her father she heard the whales making noise and she thought that they were calling her to stay and if she would have left, the community would have not gotten better. Pai knew that her calling was to be the next chief. Yet, as much as she tries to prove to her grandfather that she is chief-material, her grandfather refuses to pay attention to her. Pai had faith and hope, and she knew that she would make a difference in the tribe someday if she stayed. Everyone in the community would support Pai except for her grandfather, whom she loves with all her heart.

In conclusion, Pai discovered her sense of self as she reinvents the Maori tribe’s creation myth to save the dying culture. Pai demonstrated great lessons, for example: dedication, courage, and faith. The four myths were incorporated very well in this movie. It was just amazing how one girl could change an entire community and reunite it to be one big happy community again. Pai demonstrated that gender does not matter, you can be a female and still achieve great things in life and prove to people that females are just
as good at being leaders as males are.

Cite this Whale Rider Movie Review

Whale Rider Movie Review. (2016, Nov 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/whale-rider-movie-review/

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