"Noah:" Let's Separate Church and Cinema Versus....

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
"Noah:" Let's Separate Church and Cinema Versus....

After seeing "Noah," starring Russell Crowe, I've come to the conclusion that a modified mantra taken from the Constitution is appropriate : Let's separate Cinema and Church.

That's not to disregard the wholesale alterations in the Bible story , it's a statement recognizing that cinema (and drama) are not usually supporting a "literal" interpretation of scripture. It's a dramatization and for dialogue purposes , there are no historic materials that would detail verbal exchanges over the time frame of the Great Deluge.

On the same perspective, the film's script significantly differs from the foundation detailed in the Bible, specifically pertaining to Noah, his family members, and the reason for the Creator's judgment. The film becomes just another post (future)  Apocalypse framed disaster film. The ecological "sins" premise does not work; it dilutes the more significant "wickedness" of humans following the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.

Ultimately, a film on the big screen (or otherwise) is potentially an inspirational teaching and discussion mechanism. It should not substitute from "faith" venues, merely, supplement.

While the barbarian approach had promise, their condemnation by "the Creator" did not stand out, which led to the film story allowing Noah to wrongly believe that only animals were by the Creator's decision , the only living entities that were to have survived the flood. This allows Crowe's character to rightly question the deaths of millions, but the allusion to the Abraham/Issac sacrifice from another portion of the Bible fails miserably.

Science-fiction time travel have a common paradox -- changing history. By  depicting some of Noah's sons as unmarried (Bible has them married) , this sets off a chain reaction that had possibilities but led to immense moral confusion. One or more cruel decisions by Noah (Crowe) brand him merciless. That clouds what is perhaps a legitimate philosophical question i.e. would not "man" again through "choice" inevitably impede the second start ?

Filmmakers have often created  chills up and down your back moments through symbolism, rather than a verse by verse comparison. Stories such as "It's a Wonderful Life," "Heaven Can Wait," "Magnificent Obsession,"  "The Bishop's Wife," and more allow the moviegoer to determine for themselves heavenly intervention questions. "Noah" writer/director Darren Aronofsky (a self proclaimed non-believer) tampers with the ionic portion of the story, instead of "creating" dialogue, drama and conflict based on that which is already given. He's in the same genre as "Ten Commandments," "King of Kings," an "The Robe."  To have escaped that expectancy, perhaps,  the film could have featured one of Noah's sons and had a "Deluge" title.

Aronofsky ("The Fountain," "Lord of the Rings," "Black Swan") has stunning special effects at his disposal, which aside from "past" and "future" landscapes, nicely depict the destruction of the world by water. The film could have been a standard CGI action fest, but the characters have too much familiarity and development for that to suffice. In fact, that might have been a better choice.

One comment from another fits well --- some Christians like it, some do not. Same for non-believers. It depends on the individual. For that reason, the video offers an alternative viewpoint calling the film "awesome" and "cool," especially since the two hour flick originates from a few pages of scripture.

True, "Chronicles of Narnia" has God represented by a lion who follows Christian principles of conduct. But "Narnia" does not originate from the Bible, it's in the "Bishop's Wife" and "Magnificent Obsession" (unconditional love) category.

Still, Noah and his family represent a new beginning. (spoiler alert) I'd have bowed to re-imagination if Noah had allowed his son's selection for a wife to have entered the ark. Further, the "stowaway" (representing the Devil?) nearly generates a repeat of the Cain and Abel killing in the form of patricide.

Not saying it's a do not see flick. It's a make up your mind one. And, the controversy brews discussion, so open minds are essential.



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