YA Heroes

The Eagle (from the Rosemary Sutcliffe book, The Eagle of the Ninth), and I am Number Four, are both interesting movies derived from YA books. Never having read the book upon which Number Four is based, I can't compare the movie to it, but I noticed a common thread in these films. They both have heroes. Honest-to-goodness heroes who embark on the classic hero's journey, as defined by Joseph Campbell.

They may be a bit dense at times, have a rocky road to gain the knowledge they need to complete their journeys, and in Number Four, the journey is just beginning at the end of the movie. Obviously, sequels have been planned. These heroes are brave, willing to sacrifice self for the greater good, and loyal, all characteristics necessary to the hero's make-up. I'm impressed and willing to journey with them down their difficult roads.

Where are the heroes in movies made for the adult audience? The Social Network is a good movie, but there are no heroes. No journey into the inner cave. No stand for honor and the greater good. The George Clooney movie about the assassin - The American - had nothing heroic going for it. So he kills people and wants out. Then he kills some more. Big deal. Have adults lost the capacity to recognize a hero?

I don't think so. The audience for both The Eagle and I am Number Four was predominately adult. Not younger adults, but folks who've already raised their kids. That tells me the films and books without heroes aren't speaking to that generation. No wonder I'm reading more and more YA these days. They, more than the "adult" fare, provde me with a hero's journey.