Est. May 2008

30 March, 2014

No-ah **UPDATE**

(For the update, scroll to the end)

Well, Darren Aronofsky’s movie Noah came out last Friday, and, well, let’s say the reviews have been less than complimentary.

Naah, let’s call a spade a spade: the reviews are pretty scathing.


A couple disclaimers before we proceed: first, this post is based on reviews that I’ve read about the movie; I haven’t personally seen it.  Second, I know that Hollywood usually doesn’t do too well adhering completely to the Bible when they do biblical movies.  Third, I understand ‘artistic license’, but artistic license ought not to be the bulk of the film, unless you’re making a fantasy movie.

In the case of this movie, there’s three Bible chapters worth of information regarding Noah and the Great Flood.  Out of that information, Mr. Aronofsky picked five things to put into his film:

1) There’s a guy named Noah
2) He’s got three sons named Shem, Ham, and Japheth
3) There’s a big boat full of animals
4) There’s a flood
5) Noah gets drunk at the end of the story

And even some of that information is warped: for instance, in the movie, Japheth (not Ham) is Noah’s youngest son; In the movie, Japeth (not Noah) releases the raven; in the film, Noah builds the ark to save animal and plant life, not to save his family in order to repopulate the earth.

You might argue that those are just minior points; but as the reviewer who pointed them out says:
Ari Handel, the co-screenwriter of Noah stated, “It was very important to us to do two things at the same time. One was to not to do anything which contradicted the letter of the text. And the second was, wherever we could, without contradicting Genesis, we wanted to break expectations.” (emphasis mine)
In those points mentioned above, plus the other points mentioned in the review, Mr. Handel wasn’t entirely honest, was he?  So (again, in the words of the reviewer), ‘If they (Aronofsky and Handel) can’t bother to get the smaller points right, then how can we trust them to accurately handle the larger issues?’

Turns out, we couldn’t.

I want to bring up 4 items which occurred in every review I read.

1) The Rock Watchers

Ben Shapiro:
Yes, Treebeard’s slag cousins show up here, this time in the form of supposed fallen angels imprisoned in their stone bodies as a punishment for helping humanity. They talk like Treebeard. They walk like Treebeard. And they kill villains like Treebeard. These were supposed be the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4. Those Nephilim, however, were not giant rock people tasked with bludgeoning legions of humans.
And Mr. Shapiro was being gentle in his assessment; others weren’t so nice.  Add to this that these fallen angels – they’re called demons, folks – end up being the good guys, helping Noah out against his enemy, Tubal-Cain, and when they were killed (if you can kill something made of rock), their ‘souls’ were transmitted to heaven.  Sorry, folks – salvation of demons isn’t anywhere in the Bible.

2) Noah the Lunatic

John Boot:
Noah, rather than being a humble servant of God (a word not mentioned in this film, which refers to the Divinity as the Creator throughout), is in this telling a kind of egomaniacal madman who, rather than bow to God’s will, is constantly claiming to be carrying out His work. Noah is convinced that everyone on Earth (including his family, seemingly chosen to be the only survivors) must die because humanity is too wicked to be allowed to continue, even going so far as to ignore apparent miracles that seem to indicate God does not want humankind to perish. Noah sees his mission as preserving animal life till the waters recede, then allowing his line to perish.

3) Methuselah the Sorcerer

Yep, the oldest man on the planet wields a fiery magic sword, owns the magical skin of the serpent from Eden, gives Noah a spiked cup of tea that makes him see visions, can cure infertility with a touch … in other words, he’s Merlin and Gandalf and Albus Dumbledore all rolled into one.

4) Mankind’s sin is anti-environmentalism

Walter Hudson:
Aronofsky wastes no time beating his audience over the head with ecological themes. The film begins with a heavily modified account of creation, the ejection from Eden, and the history of man leading to Noah’s time. The rock demons, or Watchers or whatever, instruct the sons of Cain in how to bring creation under their dominion. Noah, by contrast, rebukes his son Shem for plucking a small flower. “We take only what we need and can use.”

Noah and his family eat roots and berries while the evil hoards hunt animals for meat. In one scene, Noah infiltrates Tubal-cain’s camp in search of wives for this two youngest sons. He changes his mind when confronted by a vision of man greedily tearing apart a live animal to feast upon its raw flesh. The scene seeks to repulse, and succeeds. The vision prompts Noah to decide that his sons should not have wives, because man cannot be allowed to continue on Earth.

The biblical notion that man was created in God’s image to hold dominion over the Earth is articulated only by Tubal-cain, and always as he’s committing some atrocity. The film thus implies that the idea of man’s dominion over creation was invented by man for evil purposes.
And I read some pre-release reviews which vehemently denied the environmentalistic bent of this film.

There’s plenty more wrong with this movie, folks; you can click the links at the end and read them for yourselves.

As far as the movie is concerned, I don’t do theaters anymore – I’m a crabby old fart who doesn’t like having his feet stick to the floor of the show-house, plus spending ten bucks or so to see something like this really doesn’t appeal.  But I’m not going to tell you not to go see it.  If you want to go see it, go ahead.  Just don’t go with the expectation of actually seeing something that you can find in the Bible.


References for the post:

Chaffey, Tim, and Roger Patterson; Answers in Genesis: The Noah Movie: Our Detailed Review.
Erickson, Erick; Red State: Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.(the most humorous of the reviews)
Hudson, Walter; PJ Media: 7 Ways Noah Turns the Bible Upside Down
O’Hehir, Andrew; Salon.com: “Noah”: Aronofsky’s deranged biblical action flick (et tu, Salon?)
Shapiro, Ben; Breitbart.com: 9 Problems with Aronofsky’s Noah
Godawa, Brian; Godawa’s Movie Blog: Darren Aronofsky’s Noah: Environmentalist Whacko

**UPDATE**

Dr. Brian Mattson has an interesting take on what's actually going on with the movie: he's pointing out that there's an awful lot of Gnostic teaching going on here.

A sample:
Except that when Gnostics speak about “The Creator” they are not talking about God. Oh, here in an affluent world living off the fruits of Christendom the term “Creator” generally denotes the true and living God. But here’s a little “Gnosticism 101” for you: the Creator of the material world is an ignorant, arrogant, jealous, exclusive, violent, low-level, bastard son of a low level deity. He’s responsible for creating the “unspiritual” world of flesh and matter, and he himself is so ignorant of the spiritual world he fancies himself the “only God” and demands absolute obedience. They generally call him “Yahweh.” Or other names, too (Ialdabaoth, for example).
Head on over and read the whole thing; it makes a huge amount of sense.

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