When it comes to creating a great plot for a film that people will love and associate with, there is nothing like having a journey as the central theme to a plot. After all, we all make journeys in life, so we understand the concept and can equate it with our own lives. However, the use of a journey helps to provide so many different backdrops, people, situations and styles for a film. If you are looking to create a stylish film that has many talking points and which presents new elements to the audience, going on a journey is a tremendous way to do so.
Of course, when people talk about going on a journey, they do not always mean physically travelling. Many people use this sort of language to describe a way of finding out more about themselves or being placed through a number of difficult or emotional elements that helps them to grow as a person. A person can go on a “journey” without even leaving their home or their couch. This is where the physical act of going on a journey in a film chimes so well with the idea of going on a spiritual or enlightening journey of the mind. You will find that many films utilise the idea of going on an actual journey to provide a character with many opportunities to learn about themselves. When the physical journey is paired with a return to a person’s home or local area, the change of difference in them can be better presented.
The Wizard of Oz is a classic journey and return story
This is a common theme for many popular films and one of the most popular uses of this style of plot comes with The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, in the film as opposed to the book, attempts to run away after feeling that she wasn’t loved or supported by her family and friends but is convinced to return home. Upon doing so, a tornado comes and Dorothy is knocked out and when she awakes, she embarks on her trip to Oz where she befriends a scarecrow, a lion and a tin man. These three characters, plus Dorothy, are all looking for something in their life, and they are persuaded that they can obtain what they are looking for by going on a journey or quest.
This leads to a number of scary or difficult situations where the group are challenged. Along the way, all of the members of the group utilise skills or act in a way that indicates that they already have what they are looking for. This is emphasised at the end when the all-powerful Oz states that there is no need for the tin man to look for a heart, for the lion to look for courage or for the scarecrow to look for a brain because they already possess these things in abundance. He presents them with artefacts to show others that they have these attributes but, in reality, the journey provided the proof that the characters had what they were looking for all the time. When Dorothy returns home (wakes up) in Kansas, she realises that her friends and family love her and care for her but, of course, she understood the importance of home thanks to her journey in Oz.
Another famous journey and return story is Around The World In 80 Days. While the reason for the journey is to win a bet, there is no doubt that Phileas Fogg becomes a more rounded person for his endeavours and actually finds love on his way around the world as well. Given that Fogg starts off as a lonely character with not a lot of interests, the challenge and excitement of the journey provides him with a new found vigour for life. All great films of this nature guarantee that even though a character ends up in the same place where they started, they are very different characters because of the journey they undertook.