When “The Da Vinci Code” was released in 2006, religious types slammed the movie as blasphemous for the suggestions it was making regarding Jesus and his lineage.
I was with the minority of the people who defended it (just slightly, though), admiring the storytelling and not taking the “historical fiction” in the movie too literally. That film didn’t really try to twist facts or try to suggest there was any truth to its content, especially since it was based on a painting that came hundreds of years after Jesus’ time and wasn’t even closely accurate to how the Last Supper actually looked.
The newly released ‘Noah’ movie, however, deserves no protection or defending. From anyone. Not from Christians, not from moviegoers. The film it detestable on way too many levels.
Director and writer Darren Aronofsky (of “Black Swan” fame, if that gives another indication of his visionary goals) publicly said the movie would be the least Biblical Bible movie ever made. It is. The story is so far off base, it’s frustrating that he even used actual names from the Bible. I would’ve preferred he used all new names, gave it a different title and didn’t even associate it with the Bible. That still wouldn’t redeem its hilariously awful filmmaking aspects, but one egregious problem at a time.
I don’t care if Aronofsky is atheist (which he said he is). I don’t care if he has a Jewish background or not. And it’s obvious he does; he would not use the word ‘God,’ but substituted the “Creator” term instead, and he refers to “Watchers,” a term used, among other places, in the Book of Enoch, which is not of the Bible. I know there are other tellings of the flood story out there that differ from the Bible’s version. But he makes it clear he is retelling a story from the Bible, and his mockery and blatant disregard for what the text actually gets across is insulting.
The obvious stuff is bad enough. The Bible counts eight people on the Ark: Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. There was less in the movie: only one son had a wife.
There was a stowaway on the boat. Really? Of course, one of Noah’s sons discovers him on the boat and—get this—helps him. This is purely for the sake of the movie, as the stowaway later tries to kill Noah before the son has a sudden attack of conscience and decides to help his dad, even though they’ve been fighting with each other.
In the Bible, God speaks to Noah to build the ark and gives exact dimensions. The way movie Noah figures out he needs to build an ark is through interpreting his own dream and hallucinations. What a joke.
Obvious stuff aside, during the movie, Noah tells his kids the creation story. He starts by saying, “In the beginning, there was nothing.” Really? God wasn’t there? That’s the direction Aronofsky wants to take? Throughout the movie, things that God did in the Bible were changed, as if Aronofsky wanted to exclude him almost entirely (hint: he’s did). We’re then treated to a montage that tosses in the theory of evolution as a possibility of where the animals came from.
It doesn’t stop there. Apparently Methuselah, who was made into a crazy hermit, was a miracle worker in his own right, because he cures a woman of her barrenness. God apparently doesn’t do that.
One of the biggest crimes of the movie is the treatment Noah gets. Instead of the man of faith that he was, Aronofsky turns him into a psycho killer bent on making sure mankind comes to an end, even when that means he will have to kill the newborn twins baby girls, because they could keep the human species going. This couldn’t be further from the truth about God’s purpose with the flood, which was to start over, not end mankind altogether. It also was frustrating because God was made out to be the bad guy, as if mankind’s evil ways had nothing to do with the terrible state of affairs the world was in at the time. The film’s Noah understood his purpose was to keep the animals alive, nothing more. Of course, when the moment of truth comes, Noah suddenly chooses to spare the twins’ lives, even though, in his mind, that is directly contradictory to God’s plan. Seriously, most of the movie makes this little amount of sense.
Strip away all the religious attachments to the movie, and it still was a pathetic, disjointed movie. The stowaway’s purpose to set up a dramatic scene was coerced and contrived, and there was no emotional attachment to the sons to even care about this moment. The set pieces and CGI through the first 30 or so minutes were awful. The script writing was either clichéd in spots or incoherent the rest of the time. The only bright spots were Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson, who did fine jobs of acting in a few scenes.
The one—and I mean, the only one—intriguing interpretation was the showing of Adam and Eve when Noah was telling his kids the creation story. Adam and Eve were seen as glowing people with light wrapped around them (before the fall, of course). Considering God is light, man was made in His image, and that the world was how He wanted it before man messed it up, I thought seeing them in sort of a surreal state-of-being was interesting.
But that one three-second scene isn’t worth seeing this movie. In fact, it can’t be overstated enough: don’t waste time and money on this film. And here is to hoping Aronofsky is not allowed to make any more movies again.
On a final note, the Bible has many amazing stories that would make for great films (The life of King David, anyone?). But I’d rather not see them than have the scripture butchered for the sake of a blockbuster film. Hopefully someone in Hollywood will get the urge to do Bible movies the right way in the future. I’ve been told I need to see “God’s Not Dead.” I will.