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It's been ages since the first flood-hero set sail on the high oceans of Planet Earth. The story has played itself out thousands of times since ancient history. But recently, Hollywood gave it a new breath of life with the new film featuring Russell Crowe. The proof is in the profits. We are still willing to pay big bucks to relish in the fantasy of total annihilation a la world flood. But what most people don't realize is that this interest has less to do with special effects and more to do with Archetypes.
An archetype is a term that describes a recurring pattern found in literature. It could be a type of person, an event or any other story element that keeps coming up. Some stories are considered to be archetypal because that's when the pattern first formed. Noah's Ark is one of them.
The Epic of Ziusudra
Why Noah's Ark is a popular story must have more to do than the epic undertaking of saving the world. In our day in age, we've got other forms of entertainment that should bury this ancient story to the bottom of the renter's list. So, what's so great about it? Why would anyone think it was anything other than big special effects and cool celebrities that got people out to see the movie?
Let's divert to another contemporary story much like Noah's Ark. In this one, Earth aligns with the Sun and galactic core to create an unspeakable catastrophe that threatens to kill everyone. Just like Noah's Ark, it's got amazing special effects and the task of saving the world by creating a floating zoo. Yet, it wasn't as successful as Noah's Ark. It made some money in the box office, but most likely wouldn't be past down the ages. The movie, consequently, was called 2012.
The 2012 Great Flood
Unlike Noah's Ark, 2012 didn't have the virtue of being around for thousands of years. It is a film that contains an archetype, but wasn't an archetype itself. Another reason why it didn't make the proverbial waves in the story world; great stories aren't about floods, they're about people who have grand plans to escape them. They're human stories, not action films. Their set-up is great, it's epic and we can relate tho them. The film 2012 didn't focus on one person like Noah's Ark or The Epic of Ziusudra. We didn't care about the protagonist which made the whole story nothing more than a spectacle.
Most people still think that Noah's Ark is about a big flood. But if that was the case, then why didn't they call it The Day of the Great Flood? Why was it called Noah's Ark or The Epic of Ziusudra isntead? The archetype wasn't the flood, it was the hero who saved them from it. Noah was a good guy in a world gone bad. That's why we still remember it, because we all feel that way sometimes. Believe it or not, it's an epic story that says, "Stop the world, I want to get off." This humble character got the chance in such an epic way, we still talk and produce the story, with a multi-million dollar budget mind you, to this day, in the 21st century with all our gadgets and stuff.
Noah's Ark is a hero story not a disaster one. Our guy hates the world like we do. It's all crap, like people blogging, Facebooking and cheating the system here and there. But one day, some higher being will give everyone their just rewards. But, in the meantime, there is that one guy whose different than the rest and will not only be offered salvation, but save the whole wide world too. Isn't that cool? Could it be you? Well, for now, it's a guy called Noah and they just made yet another movie about him.