Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Movie Review: Noah, Now Available on DVD and BluRay


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There was a lot of controversy after Noah’s theatre debut. After seeing the movie this week, I’d like to share my thoughts.



Be sure to share in the discussion—if after my review, you would rather not be entered in the drawing, just let me know in your comment. I want to hear from you either way, whether you liked the movie or not.
Movie Review of Noah

If you’re hoping for a Bible epic you will be disappointed. Noah is nothing like the Biblical account other than sharing names of the major characters and the fact they build an ark.

To review this movie it would only be fair to use two criteria because of the potential audiences:

1. Biblical Accuracy

2. Entertainment Value

Biblical Assessment - Review

Even when taking into account the need to create a back story to fit with the Biblical account of Noah, the creative license includes too much error. The corruption of mankind is portrayed well. But the rest of the details fall far short. The fallen angels, cursed rock-creatures gave an excuse for the use of CGI, but their presence was beyond believable for a Biblical story. In my opinion, they didn’t fit at all unless the writers were attempting to accomplish special effects.

Other disturbing things in the movie portray a politically correct, environmentalist slant, and warped view of who God is and why He sent the flood in the first place. The movie tells tales like:

God had Noah build the ark to save just the animals, not mankind.

Mankind ruined the beauty of the earth and needed to be punished.

Noah judged who died and who lived.

The eating of animals is a sign of the depth of man’s corrupted nature.

The existence of mankind needed to end because they ruined the earth – even Noah and his family needed to die so the animals could have their peaceful place of creation back.

Noah’s sons were denied wives because in order to obey God’s demand to destroy mankind, there could be no further generations. Noah even threatens to kill his twin granddaughters because they would become mothers.

Another important thing to consider is the fact the Darren Aronofsky is a professed atheist. An interview with The Washington Times on March 14, 2014 says:

“The producer of the movie “Noah,” a self-professed atheist, says he is proud of the fact that he’s taken a story inspired by God’s word and turned it into something so secular.”

Not knowing Mr. Aronofsky’s background, I did a little digging. He doesn’t profess any faith in God so why take on a Biblical story? I think Mr. Aronofsky needs a platform to sermonize his environmental and global warming agenda. He admits to this as his belief, and the harmony of nature, his god.

Entertainment Value - Review

If this movie didn’t promise a Biblical story, I would say it wasn’t bad, though I would still struggle with the sermonizing. The acting is well done. Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins bring big names to the screen. The story is a bit far-fetched and dark, but as a Sci-Fi or action movie (not my favorite genre) it has something going for it. Many CGI epics are short on plot. But, Noah does have a story line. The use of creative animation and the grittiness of the characters boast of talented artists.

The dialogue is difficult to hear. Russell Crowe mumbles. He is a great actor, but this is a struggle in every movie he’s in.

If I remove the weak Biblical connections, I still struggle with its messages, but at least I’d be seeing it as entertainment and not propaganda. For anyone who doesn’t embrace or understand the character of God, they would get a skewed view of Him. Therefore, I don’t recommend this movie for children. Even young adults would need to engage in informed dialogue to wade through the Biblical inconsistencies.

Bottom line, I didn’t like the movie from the point of view of its intent. It did a poor job of telling Noah’s story and an even worse one in its portrayal of God’s message to His creation.

I’d love to sit over coffee with Mr. Aronofsky and share with him the God who sent His Son to die for the world’s sin. Noah’s story is a foreshadowing of our rescue and salvation in Jesus Christ. Most people won’t choose to believe, just as they ignored Noah. But, those who do believe enter the protection of the cross - God’s mercy and grace by believing He is the answer to the corruption of mankind.

Just my .02 – hope it’s helpful, Be sure to join the conversation!
 
Jeanne
 
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28 comments:

  1. “The producer of the movie “Noah,” a self-professed atheist, says he is proud of the fact that he’s taken a story inspired by God’s word and turned it into something so secular.”
    Wait...if he's an atheist how would he give credence to "God's" word. I can see how he'd like to mock the Bible.
    I've heard/read the controversy. One reviewer said he went into the movie expecting surreal entertainment & that's what he got.

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  2. Noah is definitely a mixed bag of messages. Did you see the movie, Brenda?

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  3. I haven't seen it Jeanne, and based on your review I'll probably skip it. I get frustrated with movies that purport to tell a Biblical story but get it all wrong. Since action / Sci-fi isn't my genre either, I can't see wasting my time on the movie.

    The only time I watch movies is while giving platelets for the Red Cross. It's the perfect amount of time for a movie, but if the movie is bad you're STUCK for two hours. No thank you.

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  4. Jeanne--I hope you don't mind if I share the link to my review of the movie, below. It's much like yours--little similarity to the Biblical account, but pretty good drama as a movie. One thing that the movie, to me, portrayed very well, was the "waters bursting from the deep." I've also included a couple of ways Christians can respectfully share faith while acknowledging the movie.

    http://nebraskafamilytimes.blogspot.com/2014/03/review-of-movie-noah.html

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  5. Cathy, thanks for your comment. I can just picture you giving blood while watching a movie.
    It is difficult to touch on every aspect of Noah but I felt it necessary to share the red flags as I saw them. For someone who enjoys the adventure genre, if they simply took our the "bible story" of it, they may like the movie. I guess I am pickier than that.

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  6. Shelly, I appreciate you sharing your review link of Noah. I think getting different perspectives helps the reader to see the grander picture.
    Thank you for sharing it.

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  7. I chose not to see the movie because I learned enough through respected and trusted movie reviewers that I didn't want to give them my money.

    If it had only been billed as fiction, rather than saying it was based on the Biblical story of Noah, it would be different.

    But the end of the trailer says this: "The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions for people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

    To me (at least) "artistic license" means staying true to the meaning, lessons, and worldview of what is known, while creating dialogue, sets, scenes, etc that are unknown. This story went far from what we know as truth, to the point of changing most every critical element of what actually happened.

    Thanks for sharing your review, Jeanne. It's another confirmation that I made the right decision in not supporting the film at the theater or in my home. Thank you!

    And I guess you know I'll pass on receiving a copy. :-)

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  8. Thanks, Vonda. I appreciate your insights. I think that's what bothers me the most - it's as though they are offering a bit of truth with the lies, hoping someone will take a bite--and ask, "Did God really say..."
    Noah just doesn't measure up.

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  9. Thank you for posting this. I esp. agree with Jeanne: "Noah just doesn't measure up."

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  10. I thank you for your comments regarding this movie. I wanted to see it with my husband, who is not a Christian, to start a conversation about this Biblical story. I was hoping he would read the Bible story of Noah as a result. I am so glad that I did not support this movie in the movie theater! I do not know of anyone in my small circle who saw it.

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  11. I watched with an 18 year old and I had my iPad open through the whole movie. I didn't want him to mix up fact from fiction. I was amazed how mixed up his Noah story was even before the movie. The Watchers were supposedly nephilim ...oh goodnight! I was mortified at the way Noah was portrayed and more mortified at how the character portrayed my Loving God.
    Change the names and you may have a passable epic.

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  12. Well, thank you for keeping me from wasting my time (nearest theater is an hour away), money (very limited income) and energy ! You certainly have written a significant review! Judith coopyju@hotmail.com

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  13. Marybeth, I can understand your apprehension on seeing Noah with your husband if he doesn't know the Lord. It would take a lot of explaining to straighten out the inconsistencies and misconceptions.

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  14. Lauri, I can see you sitting with your ipad. Noah is a movie to show seminary students that need to be impressed about discernment and rightly dividing the word of Truth....to be able to sift it all for a younger child, or young Christian would be a hefty task.
    Thanks for your comment.

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  15. Thanks for leaving your comment, Judith. I can appreciate how needing to make those tough decisions because of distance, time and finances. I'm glad I saw Noah on DVD rather than at the theatre.

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  16. Thanks for your thoughts, Kathleen. Writing this review on Noah was a tough one. But, if people are aware before they see it, then they can be prepared. I can't bear to think of people thinking that the messages in Noah are true.

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  17. spierce46@gmail.comJuly 31, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Kevin Keating says:
    March 31, 2014 at 7:07 am
    I think many Christians are failing to appreciate what the film is doing because they’re making comparisons between it and the Genesis account without first doing a deeper analysis of how the film works on its own terms. For example, those claiming that it denies God’s mercy are the prime example of this. Within the world of the film, God does not speak in clear ways. This is an assumption that obviously does not fit with the Biblical worldview, but it drives the conflict in the film. Noah, as an imperfect human interpreter of God’s unclear signs assumes that God is unrelenting in judgment and has no room for mercy, which drives him toward his attempt to kill the child (which, on an unrelated note, I can’t help but think was meant to echo Abraham – especially given the whole barren womb being healed thing). But Noah’s attempt to kill the child is set up as ironic within the context of the film’s focus on the Cain and how since man has killed man throughout history. Quite likely what the film is trying to convey is how religious people, thinking that they have a clear sign from God, end up doing the very thing that God hates: kill others. That Noah is mislead is made even more evident by 1) how others on the Ark read the signs from God differently than he does, as pointing to God’s mercy (the girl points to how God stopped the rain when the child came, the wife points to how the choice was put in his hands, you could also point to the boat crashing, the flower earlier in the film, the waters residing once they decide to keep it, etc.) 2) the rainbow at the end shows that God affirms the baby being spared. Also, on an unrelated note, has anyone else considered the possibility that the snake skin being related to the passing on of the blessing of the line of Seth as pointing to the protoevangelion?

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  18. Spierce, Thanks for your comment. Just to clarify for the other commenters, are you quoting Kevin Keating or is this your reaction to Noah?
    A lot to contemplate here...be back with you soon.

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  19. spierce46@gmail.comJuly 31, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    I just liked what Kevin said so eloquently, I said this...and was not as nice .... I think it speaks to the cluelessness of unquestioning believers , that they would go to a movie just because of its title and blame the movie industry for not presenting what they expect. Get a clue please , A 600 year old Biblical figure is not going to be played by a Hollywood gladiator hunk without some story changes, what did you expect ? Really ? I went to see this movie because I knew it would give me new insight and give me new things to study up about , I had
    No idea that the mental state of so many Christians in America has been so impeded that they can not tell the difference between allegory and fiction . Yes there was a real Noah , but we do not have actual information about his personal thoughts , so just get a grip... The Movie Noah is about you , the father figure of the household making decisions based on only a few facts , and a limited amount of insight , just like passing judgments on a movie you were not prepared to see, and just can not get your mind around it , so you call it stupid ... And wish for something simple that you can get , right off . The works of Shakespeare would be lost on you too , so just admit it was over the heads of average low information Christians and you should have been more discerning than you were . There are bright students in every class , and there are some students who do not comprehend the lessons....should the ones that do not understand more advanced lessons , demand that the brighter ones be dumbed down and only like what they like and can understand?

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  20. JIm Zoino rambles on: I walked out of the theater after about 20 minutes. I was expecting a biblical epic and in 5 minutes realized I wasn't going to get that. After 10 I thought I'd get a 'modern retelling' of the story and didn't. At 15 minutes I felt I was being attacked for not recycling and then I left (Al Gore punched me on my way out).
    The bible speaks of the wickedness of mankind as the reason for the flood. It specifically lists corruption and violence (NIV). All that said, the lesson is to be excellent to each other and to obey our God. Be good stewards of the earth too; it's a gift from God. (Worship the creator, not the creation).

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  21. Thanks for jumping in on this, Jim. I'm with you on liking a good movie, even a retelling if it has the substance of the truth. The movie, Noah did a lot of preaching on current themes yet lost the essence of the True story. If they had billed it as that, at least we would know what to expect :)
    I read an interesting commentary connecting the movie, Noah with Gnosticism. Very interesting. But like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the message of Noah is a dangerous deception.

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  23. SPierce, I held off on publishing your second comment because of its harshness. Sounds like you don't think much of Christians in general.

    I would still like to know if you personally liked or disliked the movie, Noah and why?

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  24. spierce46@gmail.comAugust 3, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    You are a very nice person , thanks, here is what I like about the film that was first a science fiction graphic Novel and not The Bible .......

    A taste of metaphor and allegory in a science fiction format ..or we live in a comic book culture after all
    Wait , I first saw this film all alone in a highly meditative mood expecting a Science fiction re telling like Star Trek that might give me insight into how to help mankind through allegory ,on this planet too, we need help . I took a class on the Study of the Future in college where we looked at The prophetic power of movies to both entertain and also impart a vision or insight , in a word Art films . Not everyone's cup of tea , but never the less, this Noah movie delivered what I was looking for ,and then some. A strange planet destroyed by the wicked, an anti hero who just wanted to keep his family safe is given prophetic dreams that he needs help to understand , he must deal alone with the task that is revealed to him , he has to piece it together on his own , has a basic understanding at first then is over whelmed by the evil he sees in himself and all mankind , this movie should not have been touted as a Bible epic, but a film of Biblical proportions. It is a great film on a grand scale asking questions that need to be answered that only science fiction is brave enough to ask. This movie is not supposed to be a Fully Biblical account .. It is a strange unfamiliar planet that is more easily explained and explored by suspension of your reality . It is a re-telling using other Noah accounts and stories from other cultures as well , it is not what Christians thought they wanted . It is a Sci - fi based graphic novel written by the director and then turned into a Big budget movie
    Using Biblical Accuracy as a standard for judging a movie not soul based or derived exclusively from the Bible is not unlike judging the wrong category . This was a graphic novel (Read comic book ) originally that the director choose to bring to the big screen with its Science fiction elements intact . Planet of the apes , by Rod Serling , twilight zone style ,
    I fully respect anyone's right to view or show Bible stories from the Bible exactly verse by verse how the Bible says, but this is not the purpose nor the stated ambition of this film . It is a journey to a place in time we have never gone before , the film holds you in with new ideas and possible and impossible solutions , it is not a mockery of anything , it supports many biblical themes and yet speaks from its own script , just as Shakespeare used Some Biblical wisdom , but created new stories. King Lear was not much like the King Lear in Shakespeare, so why must Noah be anything like the one in the Bible , and why insist on such a control if this is Science fiction?
    The points you sight are clearly not the points the movie infers Gen 6 - 8
    There is corruption in the seed of man that causes him to kill and destroy and is visually made evident in a burned out world that is left , we learn that this corruption is sin, and that sin still lives even in Noah's family , this environmental theme is inferred , but is not the reason for such, they left God, this is shown in the film and even exemplified in ToBal Cain, visually and by his own words later in the film .... "Creator, why will you not talk to me?"

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  25. Using Biblical Accuracy as a standard for judging a movie not soul based or derived exclusively from the Bible is not unlike judging the wrong category . This was a graphic novel (Read comic book ) originally that the director chose to bring to the big screen with its Science fiction elements intact . Planet of the apes , by Rod Serling , twilight zone style ,
    I fully respect anyone's right to view or show Bible stories from the Bible exactly verse by verse how the Bible says, but this is not the purpose nor the stated ambition of this film . It is a journey to a place in time we have never gone before , the film holds you in with new ideas and possible and impossible solutions , it is not a mockery of anything , it supports many biblical themes and yet speaks from its own script , just as Shakespeare used Some Biblical wisdom , but created new stories. King Lear was not much like the King Lear in Shakespeare, so why must Noah be anything like the one in the Bible , and why insist on such a control if this is Science fiction?
    The points the movie infers are in Gen 6 - 8
    There is corruption in the seed of man that causes him to kill and destroy and is visually made evident in a burned out world that is left , we learn that this corruption is sin, and that sin still lives even in Noah's family , this environmental theme is inferred , but is not the reason for such, they left God, this is shown in the film and even exemplified in ToBal Cain, visually and by his own words later in the film .... "Creator, why will you not talk to me?"

    This Hunk Gladiator Noah , must grow to understand that sin is great in man , but there is also what God sees in His remnant that is worth saving as well. This is not a different God than is in the Bible is it? God of Justice , Demands perfection , in the 7 Noahide commandments , yet man is guilty , so God gives Mercy and allows a new beginning anyway .
    Gen 9:4 is about not eating a live suffering animal , this is cruel to the animal , and is explained in more detail with the other 6 laws God gave Directly to Noah and his family after the Flood , just seven laws . I discovered these seven laws were used as the basis for Islamic law , and the reason they use Capital punishment today and cutting heads is that they believe Christians worship a man Jesus as God, and not just revere Jesus like they do , as a prophet . So these are just some of the reasons I like this Sci fi epic that is inspired by scripture yet has its own reality like Narnia, I am very Christian and support missions , I like the Christians involved in http://www.call2all.org/
    I am inspired in their effort to reach all cultures with the gospel in their own and with their own culture.

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  26. Jeanne, thank you for a considerate review. I have not seen the movie. Personally if I decide to watch a "Christian" movie, I go hopeful but try not to set myself up with expectation. Reading the various reviews reminds me even top theologians argue over points. Our personal experiences can direct how we view things. I have seen a few "Christian movies" that I could find holes in or simply think they are corny because they don't depict real life grittiness, but I try to glean from it aspects that give me a visual I can't get when reading about the account. Like the parting of the sea for example. How can one begin to imagine the magnitude of that and all that went with it. However if the truths are being twisted, then perhaps it's a teachable moment, an opportunity to hold a bible study and use it as a tool. Another thing I try to keep in mind is that I have the benefit of a relationship with Jesus AFTER all the people in the bible (old & new test) have pioneered the way for me. I try to remember that when I read the accounts in the bible. So to say, what might it have looked like for them. I use to say, "well that was dumb, how could they do this or that. Don't they know God/Jesus was talking to them?" But I blow it today with that knowledge, never mind the fact that this was new for them then.I can't imagine what it must have been like to be told to build an ark when they had never seen rain. Who wouldn't scoff at that. Again, I haven't seen this particular movie so I can't speak to it's intent. Thanks for letting me share.

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  27. Okay, since posting my non-opinion of the Noah movie I have to say my bad. I learned two things:
    1-I learned a lesson. No matter how neutral I'm trying to be about something, don't give an opinion unless I know more.
    2-I watched the movie a month ago and only made it as far as the flood when the ark started to float away at which point I said, "This is dumb!" and went to bed.

    To me it had no consideration to even try to care about the history of it. Just a little. To me it was dark beyond dark and silly.

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  28. Thanks for the follow-up comment, Tammy Sue. It is never easy to comment on these things is it? God is stretching me by giving me boldness to be able to express an opinion - something I have struggled with for a long time. So this type of thing, though hard, is a good exercise for me even though I am not going to please everyone.

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