Noah (2014)

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I went to see Noah with an open mind.  Or, I didn’t go with a closed mind.  More specifically, I didn’t go with any expectation of a tale consistent with Jewish/Christian writ.  Oh, and Warning: Plot spoilers.

That’s a good thing, because, like seemingly so many other Christians, I could be shouting to the heavens about the biblical abomination that noah-movie-poster1Noah’s story, as told here, is.  If you want to enjoy the movie, simply don’t approach it biblically.

There’s some good reasons.

Russell Crowe doesn’t appear anywhere close to being 950 years old.  The movie has dialogue; Noah doesn’t say a word in the Bible/Pentateuch.  The movie clocks in at over 2 hours.  It takes two minutes to read the biblical account.  “The Watchers,” fallen angels that have become the stone versions of The Lord of the Ring’s Ents, are inexplicable, other than a mention of “there were giants in the earth in those days.” (Gen 6:4).  And, so it goes.

Lighten up folks.  Noah is only a slight step above Avatar for its reach in moralistic perspective.  If you want your theology served straight, then don’t entrust it to a secular industry desiring to make a buck.  Or to make other points.

Here, we find that Noah, bless him and his generations that follow (like you and me), is a vegetarian who espouses the enviro-friendly view that we should take only what we need for each day.  Sounds noble and good, yes?  

We find that God The Creator is the one who set the heavens and earth in motion to position The Garden in all of its divinely ordained splendor and... who likely regretted creating Man.  That would be the Cain type man who razed the land in an eco-travesty one might not think possible for people essentially of the Middle Ages industrial skills.  But apparently it is so.   There’s barren land in abundance.

I struggled with King Tubal-Cain.  Not so much from the character he played, but because of the quality of the acting.  I didn’t know Mickey Rourke could act so well!  Only, it was Ray Winstone in the part.  Oops.

Honest mistake.  Val Kilmer maybe?
Well, it’s not that any actor could have played the part.  It’s more that any man has a part of Tubal-Cain in him.

So, a few observations.

1)  Many will climb to their highest pedestals and point at Noah and decry how people of faith are simple minded, blindly led and are dangerous to others.   They’re not tolerant and get a bit fussy when told they’re intolerant.  You know the types.  They clearly see that Noah’s conviction and obedience are evil, despite whatever evidence there may be that he’s established an upright life for himself and his family.   They will also blithely ignore that the more free-willed population are raping and murdering (people, that is.  Yeah, yeah, the environment, too.)  Simply stated, some will see this movie as an indictment on people of faith, regardless of the result.

2)  There will be some measure of Emma Watson/Harry Potter FanGeeks who will be delighted to find that she is the mother of mankind, in the rebooted population pool of the post-diluvian world.   Yes, geeks, you now have some of Emma in your blood. 

3) Some will walk away from this film thinking that man deserves this fate, but not because of anything concerning a Creator who judges, but rather our defiling of Mother Earth.  We’ve polluted the world, and and a flood of Biblical proportions would be a suitable reboot.  And, they will, of course, have missed the point.  Good and evil, morality, the nature of man... this is the tension in the story, not the particular outworking of man’s actions (the environment in this case).  In Noah’s crisis of decision regarding repopulating the soggy world, he’s not debating the future defilement of nature, but the imperfection of man. 
I haven’t been able to find the quote, but near the end, Tubal-Cain asks something similar to this:  “Are we men of the heavens?  Or are we men of will?” 

Tubal-Cain is earlier much more direct about (free) will: “We are orphaned children in this world, cursed to struggle by the sweat of our brow.  Damned if I don’t do whatever it takes to do just that.”  Welcome to humanism.  It’s not a fair leap to say that Noah, and by proxy “The Creator,” was judging exactly that.

4) If you pick your spots in the arc of the story, you’ll find a thread:
Man acts adverse to his creator’s will.  Prophecies are made concerning judgment on man.  The prophecy is fulfilled, and mankind is judged. 

Hello, flood.

But, the creator is loving, and though not expressed from the On High perspective, mercy is the story of Noah’s decision, despite the rough casting of a man who agrees that man deserves judgement. The creator allows a faithful man and his family to survive.  A remnant.  That’s biblical.

My friend jokingly referred to the sequel as Sodom and Gomorrah.  It’s not really needed.  The next chapters are in the daily news.  As the movie expresses, “Wickedness is not just in them, it’s in all of us.”   Noah isn’t a biblical movie, but at its core, it confirms the nature of sin, a falling short of the mark, and begs a moment’s pause to consider ultimate accountability.  And that’s a good thing for people to at least talk about.

Oh, and wait for the DVD rental or Netflix.  The movie’s okay, but it’s not worth $10.
3 of 5 STARS

1 comment :

  1. Kind of lost interest after the vegetarian discussion. Anyone with a brain will know that it was nigh impossible to be a vegetarian in Noah's day. Almost all of the vegetables and fruits we enjoy today did not exist in that form back then. That, evidently, did not stop the producers.