Noah: A Movie Review

4 Apr

NoahI don’t often review movies or books on my blog, but I feel the need to take a closer look at the movie Noah. I’ve been doing an inductive study of Genesis with Precept Camden on Sunday nights and the timing of the movie lines up with our study in Genesis.

I heard the hype. I heard the disdain from Christians who vow to boycott the movie. On a side note, I still don’t get the point of boycotting. Does that ever work? I guess I need to ask Disney. Too often Christians want to take a stand where no stand is needed. We’ll stand against a movie (or book, magazine, a store, etc.) and refuse to spend our hard earned money on that trash or in that place. That is your choice. It’s okay. You can do that. I respect your position. Do we go to the movies for reality? Who doesn’t want to be Jack Reacher or at least have him a a friend? Who wouldn’t want to shoot a web out of your wrist and be able climb the side of a building? Who freaked out when the Terminator found Sarah Connor? We ignored the fact that he was a cyborg from the future. Speaking of the future, didn’t we cheer when Marty McFly came back from the future after setting things straight? I loved the movie The Hunt for Red October. You may or may not know that I spent 23 years in the submarine force of the United States Navy. I know submarines. I know submarine life. It was a very accurate, sometimes eerily accurate portrayal of the cat and mouse games of submarines. Tom Clancy has that knack of writing excellent military novels. I also loved Crimson Tide, a nonsensical, totally unrealistic, implausible scenario of a launch of nuclear missiles from a submarine. The premise of an unauthorized launch of  nuclear missile was nearly as implausible as the Commanding Officer of Alabama having his pet dog at sea with him. I should know, I spend three and a half years stationed on board the Alabama and my Commanding Officer did not have a dog on board. Ask yourself this question, “Am I going to the movies to get a clear (or clearer) understanding of biblical principles?” Or, “Am I going to the movies to be entertained?” That’s for you to decide. I want to be entertained, I want the good guy to win, I want the hero to be heroic, and I want the bad guy to lose. I like the stereotypical happy ending. So that brings us to Noah.

My wife and I went to see the movie with another couple. Yes, we went two by two. Russell Crowe played the title role of Noah and he does an excellent job acting. That’s what he does.  Truth be told, my expectations for this movie were not high on the biblical accuracy scale. Noah was real and he had an ark. That much of the movie is true and that’s about where the truth ends as well. This movie is pure fantasy, a science-fiction epic with all the computer generated graphics to boot. It bears little resemblance to Genesis 5-8. Yes, Noah and the ark are in the movie. Noah has a wife and three sons. Yep, that’s true to the Bible. The animals come two by two. The accuracy pretty much disintegrates from there. The movie’s official website states, “Russell Crowe stars as Noah in the film inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope.” There isn’t much hope here.

There is not enough space here to list all the inaccuracies with the biblical account, but as I stated, if you go to the movies for accuracy, you might want to stick with documentaries. Tubal Cain takes a leading villainous role and represents all that is wicked and evil in the world that is the source of the Creator’s anger yet Tubal Cain is mentioned only once in the Bible in Gen. 4:22. If I remember correctly, God is not mentioned by name in the movie. He is called the Creator which is of course, true. Noah’s grandfather is portrayed as a wise man/guru that resides on top of a mountain. According to the movie, only Shem has a wife. Unfortunately for humanity, she is unable to bare children due to an injury sustained as a child. Don’t sweat that . . . Methuselah heals her right after imparting some very sage advice for her. There are the Watchers, rock creatures that look like they were mistakenly dropped on the set of Noah from the set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These Watchers are supposed to be the Nephilim of Gen. 6 and work with Noah to save the world. The locals are portrayed as meat eating savages while Noah and his family are vegetarians. The locals are so wicked, they trade their women and children for meat. Ham leaves the ark project in search of a wife among these wicked locals and unfortunately falls into a mass grave that must have been dug to hold all the people killed by the wickedness of man. As luck would have it, there is a fetching young woman that ended up in that same grave. They begin an ill fated romance and Ham promises to get her out of the grave. Seeing that Ham is not at his assigned post, Noah goes looking for him. As the rain begins falling, Ham managed to get his girl out of the pit of death and we see them scrambling among the hoards of people that are fleeing to find refuge on the ark. With the ark in sight, Ham’s girl steps in a animal trap and Ham desperately tries to free her. Thankfully, Noah sees them and unceremoniously leaves the girl in the trap telling Ham that they must get on the ark. Among the throng seeking refuge is Tubal Cain who climbs the construction scaffolding and uses his battle ax to chop a hole through the ark and then climbs in and stows away. Ham later finds him hiding in the ark, but does not reveal the intruder because he’s still angry that his father left his new girlfriend in the animal trap. Ham and Japheth are without wives . . .  at least until the sequel. The movie Noah believes he is to save the animals because mankind has destroyed the creation while the animals are innocent bystanders of this wickedness. The impending doom is designed to destroy humanity and then once Noah and his family deliver the animals to the safety of the new creation now void of people, the remaining humans will die thus ending humanity once and for all. I’m sorry, what?

Don’t go see the movie Noah hoping to get to know the biblical character better through some careful research by film maker Darren Aronofsky. Make no mistake, he made an excellent film. It feels like Gladiator wrapped up in Braveheart with some Waterworld, Lord of the Rings, and 300 thrown in there. It is epic. It is visually appealing. It is not real. It is fantasy. So should you go see the movie? That is up to you, but one could certainly use this movie as a springboard for an honest discussion about God’s deliverance from evil and wickedness through His one and only Son Jesus Christ. Open the Bible to the accurate account of Noah and the world wide flood. It did happen. Does the Bible tell us all that we would like to know about the event? Absolutely not. As a sailor, I have some questions about ark construction and seaworthiness. How did Noah feed the animals and take care of house cleaning. The bottom line is that I have to exercise faith just like Noah did when God told him to do something extraordinary, something Noah likely did not fully understand. We have to realize that we likely don’t have all the information Noah had at the time. We don’t have a dialogue like we do leading up to Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden. I have to trust that God provided all He believed we would need. Knowing the biblical account of Noah and the reason God told him to build it, the major issue with the movie for me is that Noah is portrayed as a hero, a villain, a heartless non-thinking cretin, a mood swinging Neanderthal, and perhaps most disturbing of all – totally doesn’t understand what the Creator is telling him to do.  Yes, Noah gets the ark right and the animals right . . . well sort of; he failed to get clean animals by seven. The biblical Noah was chosen because he was a contrast to the wickedness of the world. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord . . . God’s eyes. God would establish His covenant with Noah (Gen. 6:18).

If you’re looking for biblical accuracy, forget this movie. Also forget The Ten Commandments, One Night with the King, Ben-Hur, The Prince of Egypt, and Barabbas among a host of others. I’ve had people tell me, “I’m not paying money to see that because Aronofsky is an atheist.” Do these same people evaluate all filmmaker’s spiritual background? Or is it because an atheist promised to make the least biblically accurate film of all time? He most likely succeeded in accomplishing just that.

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