Like so many others, I plunked down 20 bucks to see the movie, “Noah” — or, as I like to call it, “Noah and the Mrs. Have a really Bad Cruise.”
As you might have guessed if you haven’t seen it (or even if you have seen it, and you’re uncertain), the movie is loosely based on the biblical story known as Noah and the Ark.
By “loosely” I mean there’s a lot of rain and a large boat and a guy named Noah, but after that it’s pretty much unrecognizable.
This is not your father’s Noah.
Nor the Bible’s.
For one thing, Noah goes psycho during the cruise and, well, let’s put this way: Someone should’ve turned him into Family Services as soon as the boat landed on Mount Ararat.
The trailer promises that the movie is true to the biblical story.
Yeah, and "Apollo 13" was about the Tower of Babel.
The National Religious Broadcasters and Paramount Pictures, fearing a public backlash, jointly added a disclaimer to the trailer and other marketing materials: “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 of people worldwide.”
Hmmm the essence of the Bible story, as interpreted by director Darren Aronofsky, is that Noah went green. He is an environmentalist and a vegan, a guardian of Planet Earth, and for all we know he blamed the flood on global warming. Noah chides his daughter for picking a flower because she has robbed nature. As his children gather food (berries and granola, I think), he tells them, “We only collect what we need, what we can use.”
Noah looks askance at their evil enemies because they eat meat — they think it makes them strong, he tells his family (The “Smokers” of "Water World" have been replaced by “Meateaters” as the villains in “Noah”). Ham recoils as Cain eats a reptile raw, probably to show us how disgusting meat is (ironic aside: Cain appears to be the vegetarian in the Bible — his offering to the Lord being “the fruit of the ground”). The evil Cain speaks about man’s dominion of nature, so this is a bad thing, too.
Apparently, Hollywood was leery of blaming the flood on “wickedness” and “evil” and “violence” — the stated reasons in the Bible. We discover that Noah believed the flood was to wipe out mankind in order to preserve the world for animals, who would then go on living peacefully, unfettered by man.
Who wrote this thing, Al Gore?
And verily, verily, it came to pass that he opened the first branch office of PETA soon after finding land.
By the way, God is never mentioned by name in the movie, which would seem like a fairly big oversight if it weren’t intentional. He is mentioned only as “Creator.”
Did I dislike "Noah" just as a Christian? No, I disliked it as a moviegoer, as in I thought it would never end. I think it lasted 40 days and 40 nights. It was filmed in real time.
“Noah” is "Transformers" meets Middle Earth meets "Braveheart" meets "Lord of the Rings" meets Yoda, who, by the way, is played by Anthony Hopkins. The last time we saw him he was rooting around in the bushes for berries and didn’t have the sense to get in out of the rain. Yoda — aka Methuselah — was the local guru and drug dealer who slipped something into Noah’s tea so he could have a vision about what was to come.
At least we get to hear Russell Crow sing. Again.
I’m still recovering from "Les Miz." I thought we all agreed that nobody wanted to listen to that again.
Poetic license really takes a leap when we are introduced to the "giants in the land," as Genesis calls them. Aronofsky portrays them as Transformers in land — large rock people who help build the ark and squash a lot of bad guys.
So there it is, kids: Noah’s story, as told in the 21st century.
Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org