I cannot recall doing a movie review on either of my blogs (yes, I had one before MM) in the 5 years I’ve been blogging. And I don’t like veering from content that’s specific to marriage, particularly “messy marriage,” but today I’m going to do that because entertainment and cultural views of the Bible are important issues to marriage and families. I’m also veering from my rule of 600 word count or less too. There’s just too much ground to cover here!
Here are my thoughts …
Noah is a movie with many personas …
Think Transformers, Lord of the Rings, Passion of the Christ, The Birds, and Divergent all rolled into one, with a dash of “Tinkerbell” thrown in for good measure!
I suppose Hollywood feared that a movie about a Bible story would prove to be too bland without a blockbuster storyline thrown in to ensure ticket sales—nevermind the fact that the actual account involves mass-genocide, the earth being wiped out and a giant boat that saves a family along with two of each kind of animal!
I get that. I really do! I don’t even blame them. In fact, what I’m about to say about it might seem to take this in a direction that might surprise you. But first let me get some incidentals out of the way.
Transformers – The writers and producers decided to take artistic license and interpret the “Nephilim” that are mentioned in Gen. 6:4 as spirits that originally protected humans but that became cursed. The curse left the “Nephalim” as rocky (no, I’m not referring to another blockbuster) creatures that were eerily similar to those in Transformers. Of course, these rocky creatures were in the form of what looked like “Tinkerbell” fairies to me before the curse. There’s nothing worse than being a fairy confined to a bulky rock-suit. But I digress …
Lord of the Rings – Much of the cinematography and landscape reminded me of the Lord of the Rings movies along with the spiritual and mystical messages interwoven for dramatic effect. I have to say this is one area where Noah shines–especially if you see it in I-max like my husband and I did. This is one of those movies that warrants the extra cost.
Passion of the Christ – The story in Noah explores the creation story as well, referring to Satan and the temptation of Adam and Eve in Genesis. There’s a recurrent image of a snake, representing the “serpent” (Gen. 3:1-5) that Satan took the form of in the Garden with Eve. I was glad to see that this movie, like Passion of the Christ did not shy away from the reality of Satan and the deception and temptation he played in the fall of man.
The Birds – There’s a scene when the birds are instinctively flying to the ark that reminded me of the old Hitchcock classic. But no one was picked-off by the feathered flyers.
Divergent – I have not seen divergent but kept thinking as I was watching the movie unfold just how much the movie “diverged” from the account in the Bible. Sure, there are lots of places that are not clearly spelled out in the text, but some directions the movie takes are clearly in contradiction to the Bible. Do not go to this movie expecting it to be biblically accurate. If you do, you’ll be frustrated and annoyed!
Two more quick observations I want to add …
- There’s clearly a Protect the Earth and Go-Green underlying message.
- There’s also a clear message against eating meat or killing animals for any reason.
I don’t really have complaints about any of the issues I’ve pointed out above, including the last two observations (even though they do not exactly reflect my convictions). I know if Noah had been produced strictly by born-again believers who wanted to stay as close to the scriptures as possible, there would be an underlying agenda that others would see. It’s the author’s right, at least in our country.
In fact, the movie did show a statement about it being a fictionalized retelling (for which I was grateful) of the biblical account, but I had to sit through a very long list of credits to see it and I was one of the last to leave. My preference here would’ve been that this disclaimer would be mentioned as the movie began or just before beginning. I do think there will be those who won’t cross check the accuracy and base their knowledge of the story of Noah upon Hollywood’s version. That would trouble me, but not enough to forgo seeing it and discussing it with others.
Here’s what I like about Noah the movie …
- It was a movie with an epic feel.
- It had amazing cinematography.
- It wrestled with the problem of sin and goodness without giving us easy answers nor dismissing them as invalid either.
- It had compelling acting and a well-written storyline. In fact, that leads me to the next reason I liked it …
- It kept me on the edge of my seat because I didn’t know where they were going to “diverge” from the story I knew from scripture. I kept trying to guess how they were going to resolve certain conflicts and I never guessed correctly. In my view, this was far from predictable.
- It made me want to go back, read and refresh my memory of the Genesis account.
- It immersed me in an experience that opened my eyes to many facets and implications of the great flood.
My Bottom Line
I know there are some who say we shouldn’t go to movies that veer so drastically from the Bible story because that’s sending the wrong message to Hollywood. They can take as much creative license as they want and we’ll dutifully dole out the admission price. Yeah, I get that, but I see the other side of this too, where Hollywood will decide not to make these kinds of family-friendly movies at all and we’ll be left with the overwhelming abundance of R-rated flicks and cringe-worthy content of so many completely secular-themed movies.
There are also those who fear that this will leave many confused or deceived about the true story. I agree, but those people have a choice to read and become informed. And that’s where I like the movie Noah the most … it will encourage people to read the Bible or at the very least talk about the biblical account and the implications that it raises. That’s when and where we, as Christians, must act. We must do our part, not by boycotting a movie, but by gently and respectfully engaging unbelievers and misinformed believers in spiritual discussions that can eventually lead to clarity on the Gospel and our amazing Savior, Christ.
That’s where I want to spend richly and, I believe, it will be well-worth the price of I-max and popcorn!
What do you think? Will you see the movie? Why or why not?