Noah: The Good Book vs. Hollywood
Bill Korach 3-31-14 The Report Card
By Bill Korach
The movie “Noah,” directed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly was released this weekend. “Noah” is rated PG-13, Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some Material May be Inappropriate for Children Under 13. Rated R: Restricted – Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. Since the lessons of Noah are often taught to children and teenagers in Sunday school, The Report Card wondered why the movie rating was so restrictive. After all, old Biblical epics like “The Ten Commandments” were family friendly, so we decided to review “Noah” and see if it met educational standards and was suitable for the family.
A movie director is often given broad latitude, and artistic license in interpreting written material, and certainly a two-hour movie about Noah that spans only 4 chapters of Genesis would need to elaborate. However, when a director takes on the Bible, he has a special responsibility to reflect the intention of Scripture. Most would agree that Cecil B. De Mille succeeded with “The Ten Commandments.” De Mille was a man of deep faith who felt a special responsibility about making a movie about the Bible. Here are his instructions to his staff from Charles Higham’s biography “Cecil B. De Mille”:
Director Aronofsky clearly had no such compulsion to follow Scripture or any accepted interpretation of Noah. The Noah of Genesis appears in chapters 6-9. The Lord speaks directly to Noah, and tells him to build the Ark because Man’s sin has caused them to be consummately evil, and he intends to destroy men and start over with Noah and his family. God tells Noah that because he is righteous, God will make a new covenant with Noah. So Noah is told to build the Ark, gather up animals and repopulate the earth after the flood. The God who made the covenant with Noah is a holy God who hates sin, but he is a loving God who wants to give mankind another chance.
Aronofsky doesn’t see it that way. He acknowledges the concept of sin in the beginning, but gets sidetracked by science fiction like special effect of huge monsters, sort of like transformers, but made of stones. The monsters have been banished from heaven, and sent to earth to sort of hang out. Noah befriends them somehow, and they help him build the Ark. Ok, fine, a few special effects are not that bad, but soon the movie goes totally off the rails. Noah becomes a radical environmentalist who tells his family aboard the Ark, that God wants to repopulate the earth with animals, but not people. He says God wants Noah and his family to just die out. When Noah’s adopted daughter gets unexpectedly pregnant by his son Shem, Noah announces to his family God wants him to kill the baby and end the human race. Needless to say, Noah is no longer popular with his family, and God is hardly a god of Love. When the daughter gives birth Noah pulls out the ugliest dagger I have ever seen to carve up the babies (twins). Lots of weeping a sobbing. Just when you think Noah is going to slaughter the babies, he stops, looks up at heaven, and says to God: “Sorry, I just can’t do what you want me to do.” Clearly, Aronofsky has made Noah morally superior to God, or Noah is a crackpot, your choice.
In order to spice things up a bit, Aronofsky introduces some appalling violence. Noah’s son Ham in the movie version has no wife. He does not relish life on the Ark without a woman, and can you blame him. In the original version, Noah has three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth are all married and join him on the Ark for the purpose of reproducing mankind after the flood. The movie Ham goes looking for a girl amidst the swarming barbaric, and cannibalistic humans. He probably should have just signed on to Match.com. He finds a nice girl and they try to escape together toward Ark just as the rain starts. The poor girl’s foot gets stuck in a vicious bear trap. Ham tries to release the trap while the girl screams in pain and the howling mob rushes the Ark. Just when you think that Noah and Ham are going to save the girl, the mob charges over the girl and, in the most gruesome scene in the movie, crushes her flat. If the audience doesn’t dislike God at this point, they soon will as Noah pulls the knife on the babies.
Noah is a great waste of an amazing cast. I am a great fan of Russell Crowe who plays Noah. I think “Cinderella Man” was the best fight movie ever made. Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah is always on top of his game. Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife is good, but I’m not sure why they gave her a British accent. Ray Winstone is the menacing King Tubal-Cain a direct descendant of Cain himself. They all wear linen outfits that might be a cross between Mad Max and Rodeo Drive raggedy chic. The whole thing was an expensive hodge-podge. It was not worthy of the Bible, and it wasn’t even entertaining.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Posted on: 2014-04-26
Having heard nothing about this movie, we went to see it. Not only was it a waste of $15 and two hours of our time, it is a potentially dangerous movie. It's really NOT about Noah. They took the name, pinned about 10% of truth to the story and the rest is pure fiction. A person new to theology or Christianity without yet much real knowledge of the stories of the Bible will be totally misled by this movie and may take it as "gospel." It is pure distortion designed as an action flick tagged to get those interested in supporting religious movies into the theatre to be indoctrinated. Laughable if it weren't so dispicable.
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