Monday, March 31, 2014


A movie critic I am not, but a movie goer I am.  I went to see the movie Noah in spite of all the criticism it drew from certain Christian critics.  While there were only a few of them they were very vocal, and I would have to say it had a great deal to do with me going to check it out.  Let me decide for myself whether a movie is worth seeing or not, even a biblical one.

My thoughts on the movie are very positive.  In other words, I ENJOYED IT.  Like many Hollywood efforts, it is based on a true story and that part of the story is intact.  What happens around the story is interesting, creative, and totally speculative.  But it had all the elements of a good movie.  There was an engaging story line (loosely based on Genesis), lots of action, romance, and great special effects.  I LIKED the movie, and as a Christian, it did not bother me that a lot of creative license was used.  Without spoiling it for those who want to see it, let me address some of the issues that some people have been vocal about....

GOD'S NAME IS NEVER MENTIONED.  Not true.  God has many names, and one of them is Creator.  That name is used through the entire movie, and it is clear there is only ONE Creator and this Creator created man in HIS image.  In fact, the characters are constantly (and I do mean constantly) talking to, referring to, thinking about, or discussing God. But Aronofsky rightly intuited from the Scriptural account and tradition that, ten generations out from the creation, and before God reveals his personal name to man (which is not "God," incidentally), it would make sense for people to think of God largely as "the Creator."

NOAH WAS AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.  One small scene where he tells his son only to pick what is needed nothing more.  That makes him an environmentalist?  God put man in a GARDEN and told him to TAKE CARE OF IT.  I guess that makes Adam an environmentalist, too.  Picky, picky.  But there's not a lot of tree-hugging here (nor a lot of trees to hug). I have difficulty, as someone who leans right in my own politics, extracting a political agenda from this film.

NOAH WAS A MURDERER.  I had to laugh at this one.  In the story line Noah thinks God wants to wipe out ALL of humanity (which is interesting to think about when Noah was wrestling with all this, but wrong) and in order to obey God's will someone (I won't say who) had to die.  Funny how we never call Abraham a murderer, even though God told him to slay his only son.  While Noah defends his family, as any father would, his only killing was in self defense. 

ROCK PEOPLE.  Of course this is a Hollywood twist, but come on.  C.S. Lewis is intimately known for his humanization of animals and using them to tell God's story.  What's wrong with using rock people?  There was even a thread of redemption in their use.  It's Hollywood, need I say more?

THE STOWAWAY.  Another Hollywood twist, and of course not biblical.  For me, however, it represented the fact that even though the human race was starting over, the sinful nature was still there.  Probably not intended that way, but that's what I got out of it.

ATHEIST DIRECTOR.  Asked on “CBS This Morning” about having called his film “the least biblical, biblical movie ever made,” Darren Aronofsky said he was simply distinguishing his approach from that of much older films, like Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.Responding to reports that identified Mr. Aronofsky as a self-professed atheist, Leslee Dart, a spokeswoman for him, said she did not believe that he would directly challenge the characterization.  “I believe he would say: ‘It doesn’t really matter what I believe. The movie believes in God,’ ” Ms. Dart said.  The story of creation was told in this movie, quite biblically I might add.  He may be an athiest, but he knows something about the Bible.  Most atheists would have promoted the Big Bang, or evolution as the origin of man's existence.  Mr Aronofsky did not.

My conclusion is Noah is a good movie made by good filmmakers who ask questions and think of movies as art.  It is visually and imaginatively compelling.  But you should also see the movie for yourself, because this is a film that people are going to be talking about, and it's a movie I can't really explain fully in a blog. There have been a lot of rumors about this film - a lot of people talking about it without seeing it, and some of it is false hearsay. Seeing the movie means you can talk about it and give your own informed opinion about it. Better yet, see it with some others, and spend time discussing it afterward.  That's what my wife and I did.

Noah is not political. It is not evangelistic. It is not a theological treatise. Rather, it's a movie that approaches the level of "good art." It asks big questions. It explores concepts like grace, justice, pride, guilt, and love.  It takes a sober look at the evil in the human heart.  For me, it was a movie worth watching.