This Friday I got to go check out the Noah movie with my friend, Kyle. Before the movie started, we talked about how the mixed reactions of Christians in general leading up to the film had been so interesting, all before most of them had ever seen it! Overall, we both really enjoyed the film.
- This movie has Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins in it. Stars. It’s directed and co-written by critically acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky. In other words: This is a legitimate, Hollywood blockbuster movie with a big budget and excellent production. If you’re tired of the corny, poorly-made, low budget Christian films, this is the film for you.
- Noah follows the general Biblical story. Key word: general. There’s this dude Noah. He’s supposed to build this crazy big ark. He obeys. Animals come. God floods the earth to start over and Noah’s family members are the only ones to survive.
- Noah is a dark character. He’s conflicted about the task he’s been given, willing to obey but sorrowful for what it means (the destruction of the earth and all inhabitants outside his family). To me, this seems to make a lot of sense, as the pathos of Noah is not something that’s usually explored in the kids Bible story time.
- The movie takes parts of the biblical account very seriously. Like the part where everybody but Noah’s family dies. There’s this chilling scene in the movie where the floods start to rise. A lot of people have already died. The ark is floating as the waters rise up the mountains and Noah’s family gathers in the ark to share their first dinner…in complete silence. There’s one last mountain peak for the water to conquer and people are clinging to it for dear life. You can feel the tension as Noah’s family sits and eats in silence as the last remaining people cry out for help only to receive none.
- Sin and judgement are very real. God is trusted fully, in spite of the radical nature of his command for Noah and his family. God is referred to as “the Creator” consistently, as the author of all life as well as the standard of holiness humanity has failed to achieve. The film clearly communicates the Christian doctrines of original sin (we’re all born into a state of sinfulness) and total depravity (all of us need to be reconciled back to God yet we’re unable to do this on our own).
- The not so subtle environmental agenda is overwhelming. More than violence (the main reason given in Bible), the main reason for God bringing the flood seems to be that people haven’t cared for the earth. The result is the Genesis 6 world we see Noah in looks a lot more like an apocalyptic, scorched-earth, sci-fi wasteland. One of his main concerns in the first 20 minutes is teaching his son to not pick too many flowers. Ridiculous. However, the environment does matter. It’s something God has entrusted to us to care for. Creation care needs to be a bigger concern for Christians. You don’t have to be a hippie to affirm that.
- None of Noah’s sons are married. This presents an awkward problem…how are they supposed to repopulate the earth afterwards? This leads to an unexpected plot twist at the end.
- The rock giants are weird. They’re loosely based on the “Nephilim” concept from Genesis 6:4 but come across as comical, rock versions of the Ents from Lord of the Rings. The “Watchers” tradition stems from the first 36 chapters of the Book of Enoch, an apocryphal book universally rejected as Scripture.
- Where is God? While God is far from absent in the film, he is silent. He never speaks with Noah. Noah discerns God’s call through a disturbing dream cycle and a pilgrimage to see Methuselah for wisdom. God is portrayed only as a dim light from heaven, not the active, covenant-making God from the Biblical story.
- Noah’s family drama is unbelievable. A son conceives twin girls with his adopted sister…who was supposed to be barren. Another son finds a potential wife in a grave full of dead bodies, but then she gets caught in a bear trap and trampled to death while he tries to get her back to the ark. One son tries to kill Noah with the evil king who’s also a stowaway. Then Noah gets all homicidal toward his twin grand-daughters because he feels the entire human race, including his family, needs to be eradicated, even after the flood. The family drama is a double edged sword in the film because it’s where the movie strays most from the Biblical text but ultimately where all the suspense and plot development arises.
- Christians are being duped. Noah is a good movie. But Hollywood is on to us! They know they if they hype a movie from the Bible we will go out in droves to see it. I would actually suggest you GO see Noah but don’t go expecting to see a shot for shot remake of the Biblical story. Don’t be fooled. The truth is, Hollywood movie execs only care about one thing, money, and they’ve figured out how that Christians are cash cows.
Personally, I loved Noah. The acting, for the most part, is incredible. Russell Crowe is awesome (duh) and I was blown away by Jennifer Connelly’s performance as his wife. It’s a dark movie, in typical Aronofsky fashion, but a fascinating and creative one. I loved going with my friend because it sparked a great conversation as we left about what was similar and what was different from the Biblical story.
Some Christians should go. Others should not. I hope this review is helpful for you as you make your decision. Whatever you decide, don’t ridicule fellow Christians who may choose differently than you. We’re all on the same team.
If you could make a movie based on someone from the Bible, who would it be?