Noah: Comparisons and Opinions
The new Noah movie, starring Russell Crowe, has sent the Christian world spinning on its head for the last few months. There has been much speculation, criticism, theologising and debating as Christians from all over the world try to formulate a personal opinion on the latest rendition of this biblical story. Justifiably, there have been many strong opinions aired, many scathing reviews, articles and video blogs posted from all sides. Those against the movie have called it blasphemous and disrespectful to the Christian faith while others who are for the movie say that it is deeply and passionately biblical.
When you are so overwhelmed with this onslaught of opinion it is hard for the average Joe to know what to think, so we decided to collate the information so that we could make some comparisons and try and make sense of it all.
To do this there will be a fair amount of secrets from the film revealed. Be prepared for spoilers!
Here are some who are blatantly AGAINST the movie:
Glenn Beck, the America television and radio host, calls Noah the ‘Babylonian Chainsaw Massacre’ in his review of the film on www.theblaze.com. After a screening of the film he was recorded to say “If you are looking for a biblical movie, this is definitely not it … It’s not the story of Noah that I was hoping for. If you are going for that, you will be horribly disappointed.”
Out of all the issues Becks main problem was Noah himself: “I always thought of Noah as more of a nice, gentle guy, prophet of God … and less of the homicidal maniac that Paramount found in the Bible,” Beck said. “More of the man [that] loves God, and less of him trying to break down the doors inside the ark to kill his whole family.” He also states that the film “treats a prophet of God like a lunatic,” Beck said simply. “There’s no redeeming value in Noah, none. He hates people. I’m sorry. No prophet of God hates people … He tries to kill his own family. To me, a prophet receives direct communication from God, and Noah is wrong about everything.” In conclusion, Beck thought Noah was a $100 million disaster.
Cyrus Janssen, a PGA professional and blogger, shared on www.travelwithcyrus.com some issues he had with the film. Besides the irk that the cast of the film wears clothing that would have been considered modern, the main issues were that there is an alluding to evolution rather than creationism, the fact that Noah “decides that God actually meant to kill everyone. While on the ark, Noah decides to end the human race by killing his family” and “The film’s villain successfully sneaks onto the ark by using an axe to cut a hole, befriends Noah’s son Ham to plot against his father and kill Noah”.
One of the biggest things that annoyed Janssen were that the main builders of the ark are angels who fell from heaven and became giant rock creatures.
There are some even more startling claims that Noah has Gnostic undertones and draws inspiration from Kabbalah, a mystical tradition closely related to Judaism and made popular by the singer Madonna a decade ago. Some of these key features have been identified by Dr Brian Mattson as Kabbalistic in origin:
1 – The glowing appearance of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
2 – A highly-valued mineral identified as “zohar”
3 – The redemption of the fallen angels (identified as the Watchers in the film)
4 – The serpent skin which has been passed down through the line of Seth and is stolen by Tubal-Cain
You can read more from Dr. Mattson at www.drbrianmattson.com
These are some who are IN FAVOUR of the movie:
Cathleen Falsani, an award-winning religion journalist and columnist who specialises in the intersection of faith and culture, says that Noah is deeply and passionately biblical. She writes this: “Nothing in the film contradicts the Bible’s account of Noah and the Great Flood, either in spirit or detail. Yes, Aronofsky (who directed and co-wrote the film) takes poetic license in creating a cinematic antediluvian world, includes characters (such as Noah’s adopted daughter, played by Emma Watson, or the murderous Tubal-Cain) that don’t appear in the biblical story, and pulls in other characters from the Bible (Methusaleh, portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins) who don’t appear in Noah’s story in Genesis.”
In regards to poetic licence and additions to the storyline she states that they: “don’t detract from the film’s reverential, respectful retelling of the Bible story. They enhance and expand it, which is the prerogative of a fictional feature film. After all, Aronofsky wasn’t making a documentary.”
Steven D. Greydanus, a film critic for the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com), writes an article that addresses some of the most heated issues surrounding the contents of the Noah film.
In regards to the giant rock creatures, who become Noah’s ship-building crew, he admits that it is a little tricky. Greydanus says that “the giant Watchers of the film are derived from the Nephilim of the Book of Genesis, thought of as human-angel hybrids by some scholars, and the Watchers of the Book of Enoch in the Torah. In Aronofsky’s version, the angels crash-land on Earth and, because of their disobedience to God, are punished by having their bodies of light merged with the rock,” Greydanus says. “So The Watchers of the Book of Enoch become the Nephilim in Aronofsky’s telling.”
And in response the question about Noah temperament and the misrepresentation of prophets Greydanus states that “the Bible doesn’t give us insight into Noah’s disposition or personality“.
John Snowden, the Biblical Consultant to filmmakers on the Noah movie, responds to recent criticism surrounding the film. He was initially surprised when they first approached him and had mixed emotions, as he knows that Hollywood had an ability to take liberties with stories and values in Bible stories. He says “Paramount was adamant about having a practical, integrated adviser in the process from start to finish, which impressed (and surprised) me.”
Snowden lists 10 main reasons why a Christian should watch this film:
1 – Noah has a relationship with God
2 – Noah acts faithfully yet isn’t perfect
3 – Noah sees and acknowledges his own sin
4 – It keeps closer to more of the text than you might have imagined
5 – Noah speaks, and the women have names
6 – Noah focuses on his family
7 – The story depicts (and personifies) evil humanity in Genesis 6
8 – The film embraces some really good, important theology
9 – Bible stories are back – in a big way
10 – Twenty-something’s are disengaged from faith, and this can engage
These points are unpacked on www.newreleasetuesday.com
Snowden states that “Throughout, the film explores Noah’s understanding of God’s justice and mercy, held in appropriate tension with one another. It really wrestles with the question: “Does Humanity Deserve to be Saved?” It may not use those words, but the important question Noah wrestles with deep in his soul is whether God wouldn’t be better off just cutting bait – letting Noah and his family die off, too — and saving the animals. Of course, Noah isn’t God, and God knows exactly what He’s doing – both in the text and in the film.”
We loved this movie. Honestly.
It is true that it is merely inspired by the biblical story – it was not written to be historically or theologically accurate – you have to resign yourself to that fact before you can enjoy the movie. But, for us, the raw humanity and struggle story of Noah outweighs the adaption of the plot. In fact, the plot change intensifies and drives home the themes of mercy, justice and the provision of God.
It is uncomfortable for any Christian to see an adaption too far removed, yet so close, to the original story. When things happen in the film that you know did not happen in the biblical account, it can put you on the defence. But you cannot go into this movie thinking that it is a true account or an evangelical movie. It is not.
What the story twist does do is give you a great insight into how good is so easily twisted into evil, it gives us a new understanding of what the family dynamics could possibly have been, and it asks us to consider the great emotion that Noah might have gone through in obeying God’s commandment.
This film did drive home the absolute heartbreak. Noah’s family must have heard or seen people dying outside the ark. They must have felt the panic and desperation of people trying to save themselves. Noah and his family really did suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. No wonder things went awry.
It is important to remember that mainstream media will always take the middle ground when it comes to controversial topics such as evolution, creationism and even calling God “God”. They will always incorporate various religions and beliefs so as not to segregate anyone and attract as large an audience as possible. So, as a Christian, you can either curse the details or you can marvel at, and identify with, the personal struggle of Noah. The spiritual crisis prevalent in this movie are: self-doubt, unworthiness of salvation, being devastated at the cruelty, greed and selfishness of humanity and wanting desperately to be righteous and getting it wrong. Are these not themes we all have shared with Noah?
There is one point in the plot when you are crying out for redemption. You start to panic that this story can never be redeemed, that this plot twist can never be undone and you fear where it will lead to. To be honest, the redemption isn’t strong enough. Perhaps this is something that only a Christian with an understanding of God would pick up and feel lacking. It is an opportunity lost.
In any event, I’d wager thousands of viewers will, like us, return from this film with a desire to explore this incredible story. Many people will be curious about the real ending of this film and may pick up a bible for the first time in years to read the Genesis account of Noah for themselves.
Isn’t that a great opportunity to share the truth? The truth of the redemption that has been offered to us all.
So, do you agree with what we are saying or do you have another view point on this film? Let us know. If you do agree, how are you going to use this redemption story? Do you think redemption is for everyone?
Here are the reviews that this information was sourced from: