‘Noah’ contemplates the power of discernment

“Noah” (2014). Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Nick Nolte (voice), Frank Langella (voice), Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Leo McHugh Carroll, Marton Csokas, Madison Davenport, Dakota Goyo, Gavin Casalegno, Nolan Gross, Skylar Burke, Mark Margolis (voice), Kevin Durand (voice). Director: Darren Aronofsky. Screenplay: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel. Web site. Trailer.

Making decisions about ourselves and our future can be a daunting undertaking, especially when we feel we lack adequate information or resources to do so. But, by devoting proper focus to the effort and skillfully employing the practice of conscious creation, we have an opportunity to succeed, perhaps even astounding ourselves in the process. This can be particularly crucial when the stakes are high, as a noble soul discovers for himself when faced with challenges that have global ramifications. Such is the lot of the protagonist in director Darren Aronofsky’s ambitious new opus, “Noah.”

Viewers expecting a faithful re-creation of the Biblical account of the Noah’s Ark legend are likely to be disappointed. While this film is loosely based on that epic saga and includes characters from that time-honored tale, “Noah” offers its own take on the myth, including some events that will seem eminently familiar and others that are completely foreign. Perhaps that’s because the film attempts to fill in what some have observed to be “gaps” in the Old Testament narrative, but it does so with an array of inventive, intriguing twists and turns not included in the original story.

When humanity’s progenitors, Adam and Eve, are banished from the Garden of Eden for defying the Creator by eating of the forbidden fruit, mankind is sentenced to a dismal future. In this dark new world, the earth’s perilous conditions grow progressively worse after Adam and Eve’s son Cain murders his brother Abel, thereby setting in motion a fundamental division in humanity’s ranks. Most people fall under the domination of the wicked Cain, while a virtuous minority struggles to follow a righteous path.

Joining mankind’s splintered factions are the Watchers, a group of angels who descended from heaven to assist humanity after being expelled from paradise. But, by coming to earth, they, too, disobey the Creator’s wishes and are punished for having done so, becoming bound to the earth in the form of creatures of stone.

Under these circumstances, evil flourishes over the earth. The virtuous become targets for persecution and exploitation by the malevolent majority. Even the mighty Watchers become targets of the wicked ones, particularly when their benevolent teachings are perverted for nefarious purposes and used against them. Displeased with this state of affairs, the Creator thus decides to take steps to set matters right, which is where the film picks up the story.

The Creator’s plan for “cleansing” the earth is delivered in a dream to one of the virtuous, Noah (Russell Crowe), who learns that the Divine Master intends to deluge the earth with a great flood to purge it of its wickedness. However, the Creator does not wish for all of the planet’s creatures to perish, so Noah is instructed to build a giant ark to safeguard all of earth’s animals so that they can repopulate the world after the inundation. Noah thus takes up this solemn charge, aided by his wife, Naameh (Jennifer Connelly); his sons, Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman) and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll); and his adopted daughter, Ila (Emma Watson). And, to get the task under way, he receives valuable assistance from his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), and the Watchers (voiced by Nick Nolte, Frank Langella, Mark Margolis and Kevin Durand).

When word of Noah’s venture spreads, however, he’s challenged by those who would be left behind, most notably the evil king Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone) and his legions of followers. What’s more, when it becomes apparent what’s to happen to Noah’s family in the flood’s aftermath, he even faces opposition from within his own ranks. Nevertheless, Noah believes he’s been chosen to carry out the Creator’s will and is determined to fulfill this divine command. The question is, of course, will he succeed? What’s to become of those who oppose him? And what, ultimately, is to be humanity’s fate when the rains stop?

When Noah receives word of the Creator’s will, he’s assigned an enormous and sacred task. But the challenges that accompany it go beyond just the logistics of constructing the ship; there are certain intangible considerations that must be addressed that will determine how successful he is in carrying out his mission. And, because the Creator’s word is sent in a dream, Noah only has his own impressions to draw from about how to proceed; there’s no divine instruction manual to consult.

So what is Noah to believe? The answer to that question is crucial, for, as every conscious creator knows, what we believe is what we ultimately create. This is where the power of discernment comes into play, not only in Noah’s case, but for each of us, in any conscious creation pursuit. When fashioning the beliefs needed to manifest our goals, we must get in touch with the truth that lies within each of us, tapping into our intellect and, especially, our intuition. We must accurately access this inner wisdom so that we can make decisions in line with desired outcomes, a process that may be trickier than expected, as Noah finds out firsthand during the course of his remarkable odyssey. Answers may not always be clear-cut, and solutions may not apply universally. This is where discernment becomes particularly crucial, for its impact can be considerable, especially when invoked in connection with such important concerns as mercy and compassion (a lesson we’d all be wise to heed).

The clarity of thought that underlies the practice of discernment plays a significant role in how effectively (and even how quickly) the conscious creation process unfolds, something that also becomes evident in Noah’s experience. When we’re clear about what we need to do and then formulate beliefs in line with such aspirations, the resources we need for materializing them appear, sometimes almost as if by magic. For instance, when Noah needs building materials for the ark and labor to help him construct it, both appear in sufficient quantities and with lightning speed. Similarly, when Noah needs to assemble his “passengers,” they show up on their own, unprompted and in an orderly fashion, with no special effort or coercion on his part. On these and many other occasions, the protagonist’s divine conscious creation collaborator, the Creator, repeatedly comes through for him and his family, invariably providing the means necessary for achieving their objectives, all in perfect response to their stated intents. These examples thus help to illustrate why conscious creation is sometimes referred to as the law of attraction, a principle on display in full flower here.

At the core of Noah’s story is another conscious creation concept – evolution. In fact, this principle is apparent throughout the narrative both en masse and individually. In its broadest sense, evolution – or a constant state of becoming, as it’s more commonly called in conscious creation circles – is embodied in the Creator’s grand plan to cleanse the earth of its evils and start again, enabling the planet to evolve to something new. And, in a narrower context, such evolutionary transformations occur on a personal level as well. For instance, as Noah’s saga plays out, we witness his own views undergo change. He grows in ways he initially didn’t believe possible, taking him to new places and new ways of thinking he previously didn’t envision. We thus watch him transform personally, gaining new insights into both the human condition and himself.

However, in rescripting earth’s future, the Divine Master doesn’t wipe away all of its existing creations; some are intentionally retained to build anew (hence the very existence of the ark and its inhabitants). By sparing those worthy of survival – especially those who successfully engage in their own enlightening, transformative experiences – the Creator makes it possible for them to start over. This allows them to atone for their pasts and to pursue the act of redemption, again both individually and collectively. Indeed, given that conscious creation provides access to an infinite range of probabilities for the expression of existence, those who survive in Noah’s saga are allowed to redeem themselves and begin again. They have the opportunity to explore new lines of reality. One would hope that they choose their new probabilities wisely considering what they’ve just been through, but they at least have the chance to get matters right the next time around, something we should all contemplate when confronted with opportunities for our own rebirth.

In addition to providing insightful explorations of the foregoing concepts, “Noah” is a visually stunning spectacle with some of the most dazzling and elaborate special effects to have ever graced the big screen. The film’s capable performances and generally solid writing back up these strengths effectively, providing audiences with engaging, enlightening (though certainly not preachy) entertainment.

With that said, however, the picture also comes up short in several regards. Despite its adventure pedigree, the film drags a bit in spots (even in some of its action sequences), a shortcoming that could have easily been addressed with some judicious editing (something that many of director Darren Aronofsky’s could benefit from). But, beyond that, “Noah” also lacks a certain measure of authentic passion at times. The characters occasionally come across like they’re having to sell the audience on their level of conviction, employing degrees of intensity and sincerity that feel a little forced. I wouldn’t attribute this so much to overacting as I would to a sense that the characters don’t always seem to feel as convinced of what they’re saying as they would lead viewers to believe. Maybe that comes with the territory when an avowed atheist attempts to make a Biblically inspired epic. Or perhaps it’s some inadequacy in the writing, acting or direction. In any event, however, even though I can’t precisely pinpoint the cause of this issue, I found it present nevertheless.

Looking within to find the answers we seek to the dilemmas we face is critical if we hope to overcome the challenges in our path. Employing discernment as part of that process is especially important to make the right choices in selecting the manifestation beliefs we embrace. “Noah” sheds light on these concerns, providing a thoughtful examination of the process of introspection that, in the end, we’d all be wise to follow to take us to a new higher ground.

Copyright © 2014, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Leave A Comment