Sunday, March 30, 2014

Watching Noah

I'm not sure what I just experienced while watching the movie, Noah.  I was certainly entertained, but there were a few things that bothered me.

Story Line - what bothered and distracted me while I was watching:

It wasn't the complete detailed biblical story as we read it in the Book of Genesis. The writer and director took some creative license to beef it up and bring some family drama to it. Although I didn't mind some of that creativity, I think some of the changes hurt the story. 

One of the reasons that God chooses Noah and his family is that he is righteous among a people that are wicked. You saw that, but it came in the form of taking care of the earth. 

The biblical story is that his sons already have wives when they enter the ark. Having no wives for Ham and Japheth didn't make sense to me, until I realized where they took the story with Noah thinking they would all die out and mankind wouldn't survive. But the episode with the baby twins, while well acted, was complexly made up and didn't happen.

Noah's father, Lamech, wasn't killed. He lived 575 years after Noah was born. It was correct that Methusaleh was still alive while Noah was, but he would have been gone by the time Noah had his children, because the bible says he didn't have his children until he was 500 years old. But I'm nitpicking here, it just bothered me. 

I didn't mind the storyline about the twin baby girls and Noah thinking he had to kill them. Why? Well, it's not always easy to hear what God wants from us and when He's calling us to a specific task, we sometimes put our human spin on things. (Now, come on, you know we do.)

It's perfectly believable that Noah would have struggled through the ordeal. The drunken scene is completely consistent with the biblical story. It's not a stretch to imagine having a hard time with everything that happened. He just watched an entire race of people, men, women and children, killed by a God he serves. 

The whole Tubal-Cain thing? Yeah, I didn't like where they took that story in the end. (An earlier part of this paragraph was incorrect - I blame on late night editing and similar spelling!)

Changing the story so much distracted me from getting into it. I kept thinking, "that didn't happen." 


So, story inconsistencies aside, there were some themes that the creators emphasized in the story. The theme of justice and mercy are strong themes. Did the wickedness of the people warrant their extermination? Perhaps. Aaronofsky's idea is that they scorched the earth and ruined creation (also not part of the biblical story) is a stretch. It was a time when the were extracting minerals from the ground and forging tools. However, the theme of taking care of the earth is relevant and not inconsistent with the bible, however, veganism? Yeah, that was a bit much.

Forgiveness is also in there. We see Noah's wife forgive him, God forgives the angels of light and taking them to be with Him. Noah's children forgive him. 

Righteousness is the right balance of justice and mercy, not perfection. God's righteousness demands an accounting. God giving mankind a fresh start, a new life - is merciful, and foreshadows the messiah, Christ, who died and rose again offering new life to us. We die to self and God gives us a fresh start, taking care of Adams mark on us. The snake skin wrapped around the arm of Lamech and then Noah, reminds us of the serpent in the garden. 


I thought all the actors were very good, no problems there. I was drawn into their story and they were believable. 

Style and special effects:

Here is where I have a problem with inconsistencies. Some of the special effects were brilliant- the flood, the boat, the stone people reminded me of the Ents in LOTR, but their not in the biblical story. (The Nephilim were the product, the offspring, of angels and human women. They were giants, not stone people). But then the intro at the beginning, the snake appearing, and the silhouettes during the story telling - well, they were cheesy. Not at all like Aaronofsky's other films, according to my son, the movie expert. 

The music score was well written and it didn't distract from the story line. Costumes were authentic looking. The story moved along and there were moments of intense emotion and suspense. The use of miracles is believable, though not in the original story. 


 While it had some good parts to it, the movie altered the story of Noah to its detriment. I think they could have stuck to the original story lines and it would have made more sense. There's more than enough room in the actual story to make a dramatic and suspenseful film using family dynamics, intense stress of not being able to save the supposed innocent. Those issues could easily create tension in the story and it would have been more believable. 

I would rate this movie a 5/10.

I didn't consider it a waste of time, as some have said. It certainly might look different to someone who has never read the biblical account. 

Should you go and see it? Well, I read some reviews that said it was bad, but I like to make my own mind up about things. Perhaps you should too.