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Monday, April 7, 2014

Noah - the Movie

I had mixed reactions to watching the movie Noah last weekend.
First of all, sitting through the pre-show programme of other movie trailers was a horrifying experience.  They all seemed to be about terrifying and violent "end of the world" scenarios. I don't know if they were chosen to "match" the Noah movie, but whether they were or not I was sickened to think that this is the onslaught of images general movie goers are subjected to.

Then the movie itself: as a story in its own right it was gripping, well acted and engrossing. For anyone who didn't know (or care) about its accuracy to the Biblical narrative it would probably score as an action packed movie with some good moral themes. It certainly raised issues that are very contemporary - like the way we ravage the planet, the violence and selfishness of humanity, that "the axis of evil" is within all of us (as the movie Noah himself realized) and that love and mercy win out in the end. Watching it with Easter approaching it also shows very clearly a death and resurrection motif.

But I was disappointed that the movie was, as one review said, "loosely connected to the Biblical account". Yes, very loosely in places. One major aspect of the movie plot  revolved around Noah's three sons and whether or not they had wives… and when children were born (on the ark) what might become of them. I won't give too much detail if you haven't seen the movie yet! But none of that was  consistent with the Biblical narrative.

Key to the movie plot were the "watchers" which were an attempt to give life to the  mysterious Nephilim of the Genesis account. To me these were overdrawn and almost ridiculous.

Noah's concept of God and what God was asking of him was interesting to say the least. But I have to agree that we really have no idea what was going through Noah's mind so maybe…

And the way the movie maker coped with keeping all those animals in the ark was a stroke of convenient and creative genius!

Having said all this you may think I would not recommend the movie! But in fact I do. I was engrossed... saddened and  challenged by its parallels in our own day... and sent back to Genesis 6-9 once again to check out where it connected and where it diverged from the Biblical account.

And in case you conclude that I am a Biblical literalist - I'm not. I don't necessarily think the Genesis account is historically factual and "really happened". As a perceptive child once said: "A myth is a true story that never happened." But since it is a sacred story in the Jewish scriptures I would have preferred that the movie stayed closer to that version of the "true story".

If you want another take on this movie click here for a review on the Spirituality and Practice site which I found helpful to read prior to seeing the movie. That review also gives a lot more about the writer, producer and actors.