I walked into the cinema determined to enjoy the movie. Even before its release, Noah has been swamped by controversy as pundits have fallen into opposing factions to either praise it as excellent or slam it as profane. I decided to abstain from this skirmish. Like everyone else, I knew that the movie was not true to the biblical account so I felt protected by my low expectations. I was not there to discover truth; I was just sitting through a movie. An admirer of Russell Crowe’s acting abilities, I was going to enjoy this movie. Sadly, I did not.
The acting was good and the CG was impressive, but visually the movie was disappointing. Everyone is complaining about the stone angels as being extra-biblical science fiction, which they were, but I like science fiction and these characters still failed to impress. A curious fusion of Casper and Thing from the Fantastic Four, these good-natured monsters were a constant distraction. More than that, the ‘blighted earth’ look conformed to the worst of the apocalyptic genre—the baddies even looked like they were pulled off the set of Beyond The Thunderdome. As a science fiction flick, Noah wasn’t very good.
But what of the biblical message?
The writers chose to make Noah uncertain of God’s intent and he wrongly presumed that it was his responsibility to obliterate all humanity, his family included. To this end, he refused to find wives for his two younger sons and conspired to kill his grandchildren. It was creative license that turned dark and grizzly. In seeking to be obedient Noah became murderous, leaving the viewers annoyed with the man and frustrated with his God. The biblical account tells a sweeter story. God speaks plainly to Noah and says. “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you” (Genesis 6:18). The ark was built to secure the future of humanity and Noah was certain of it. The movie misses the extravagant love of God that he has repeatedly and publicly announced to creation.
Ironically, the best part of the movie was the worst. The depictions of human depravity were hard to watch but excellently conveyed. The backdrop may have been far-fetched but the sordid condition of society was utterly believable. Sitting through Noah would tarnish even the most Pollyanna view of humanity. Sin was real and judgment was just. Nowhere in the movie did I get the impression that God was in the wrong, and for this singular accomplishment the makers win applause. The problem was humanity. For this sober depiction alone, the movie is worth watching.
I would summarize Noah like this—‘the bad’ was well presented, but ‘the good’ was too ambiguous.
No, I did not enjoy Noah. In spite of willing myself to like it, I couldn’t. I don’t think it was profane, but it certainly wasn’t excellent.