Saturday, 19 November 2016

Character Archetypes: Ella Enchanted

Fig 1: Ella Enchanted Theatrical Poster

Ella Enchanted is 2004 Fantasy/Romantic-Comedy movie directed by Tommy O'Haver starring Anne Hathaway as Ella of Frell and Hugh Dancy as Prince Charmont. Based loosely on the book that retells the fairytale of Cinderella, Ella Enchanted is about a girl who is put under a curse as a baby to be obedient and follow any instruction given to her. She now attends high school and is a strong minded woman and the obedience gift is a big hinderance on her as an activist. Her dad re-married when her mother died, giving her two step-sisters who are in love with Prince Charmont, the heir to the throne. Ella is in search of the fairy Lucinda, who gave her the gift of obedience, to reverse the spell, she comes across various characters who join her on her journey and begins to have a change of heart toward Char.

Archetypes in film, are types of character that fall into specific and often stereotypical character tropes, such as hero, mentor, sidekick and villain. Characters can also be a combination of archetypes (anti-hero is a heroic character that has some villainous traits for example) so the range of types an archetype for a character can be is very wide and varied. In Ella Enchanted, Ella is the hero of the story, its her tale that we are following throughout the movie, she stops the corruption in the kingdom and puts an end to the cruel conditions that the elves, giants and ogres find themselves in because of Edgar's actions behind the scenes. Prince Char can also be classed as a hero, while he is more of Ella's love interest, he does have moments of heroism, saving Ella from getting run over and its their love that stops Edgar from taking the crown in the end. Ella can be classed as the maiden too, in scenes such as her romance with Prince Char and how she's such a good-hearted person to any type of creature.

Fig 2: Heroes- Ella and Prince Char

The Herald is Lucinda the Fairy, her gift to Ella when she was a child is the catalyst for her adventure as the gift of obedience disrupts her for having a voice in the things that matter to her. As well as this, her trickster behaviour and her self-centred personality also blends itself into the Shapeshifter. Such examples of this are when Ella purposefully ties herself to a tree to stop her from going to the party to kill Char under the order of Edgar, begging for the fairy to drop the curse. Lucinda pays no attention to her pleas and unties her saying that she should feel grateful having such a gift and orders her to go to the ball.

Fig 3: The Herald and Trickster- Lucinda

Mandy the house fairy is the mentor figure to Ella, as she is also a fairy she understands the traditions and magical practises of them and helps Ella understand what the gift of obedience is when she was young. She also helps in assisting her in her quest to find Belinda by giving her the man in a book, Benny. Ella's Mother is also a mentor figure, especially in the prologue as she too helps Ella understand what the curse put upon her is. 

The main villain of Ella enchanted is Sir Edgar, the kings brother and Char's uncle, who desperately wants to be crowned king. A man that was legitimately in the Shadows until he murdered his own brother in cold blood, he is a scheming and nasty man, who is willing to use Ella's gift of obedience against her by using it to kill the prince. Dame Olga, Ella's step-mother is also a villainous character, she ruins the friendship between Ella and Areida and is a spiteful, mean and self centred woman, traits that passed down to her daughter Hattie. 

Fig 4: The Shadow- Sir Edgar

Ella's stepsisters, Hattie and Olive are the Threshold Guardians, they are the first people outside of Ella's parents and house fairy Mandy, to know of the gift she has been curse with. They, especially Hattie, use this to their advantage to keep her away from their teen idol Prince Char, bleeding into them also being the Trickster. Olive, however, is more innocent and naive, which correlates to the Child archetype as she doesn't quite understand what is happening but follows her sister anyway.

Fig 5: The Threshold Guardians Hattie (Trickster) and Olive (The Child) also featuring Mandy the Mentor

Benny, the talking book and Slannen are the allies of Ella, they join her on her quest to find Lucinda and protest against the kingdom for the poor care of non-human species. Benny gives information to Ella in the form of pictures inside his pages while Slannen is more of a snarky sidekick who wants to be taken seriously and not as a singing and dancing elf like the rest of his species. Heston the snake is another ally but for Edgar. First seen curled up around Edgar's staff, Heston spies on Prince Char for the wannabe king, relaying to him what he's found as the group journey to find Lucinda. 

Fig 6: The Hero Ella with her Allies Benny and Slannen

The Mother and Father in this movies is obviously Ella's parents, they are loving and supportive of her despite her ailment that can prove very tricky to deal with as saying something abrupt can cause har to do something out of her control. Dame Olga while also being a mother can't really fit into the archetype due to her more villainous tendencies showing that she is an uncaring individual who only cares about her self and her appearance, the complete opposite of Ella's Mother in the prologue who was more homely and caring for her daughter. 

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