Noah

 

Paramount Pictures

 

Rating: PG-13

 

Reason for the Rating: Violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.

 

Plot Summary: A man believes "the Creator" wants him to build an ark so all the animals will be saved when humanity is destroyed.

 

PopFam Recommends: Disappointing effort—save your money and read the book instead.

 

Let me just say upfront that I believe there are certain things one shouldn't mess with. A good cup of coffee. Quiet moments with your kids. The Bible. There's something sacred about these things. Unfortunately, Darren Aronofsky messed with the most important one...the Bible. Specifically, the account of Noah.

 

Now, I read a lot, and have gotten used to seeing books I love made into movies. Inevitably, there are changes made to the story and characters for many reasons: time constraints and simplification of the plot are two seen most often. In the Bible, the account of Noah is only 4 chapters long, and while it includes important information, there's a lot of detail left blank. The director (who also co-wrote the script) apparently decided he didn't like the story as it was told in the Bible, and what was released to the public only faintly resembles the account in the Bible.

 

The movie begins with a short re-telling of the creation of Earth, the fall of man, and Cain killing Abel. And then it starts getting funky. Cain leaves and is protected by "The Watchers," who we later learn are angels who left heaven to care for humans. This made God mad, and he stripped them of their angelic beauty, leaving them rock monsters. Noah (Russell Crowe) is the last descendant of Seth (Adam and Eve's other son). He and his wife (Jennifer Connelly), and their three sons live alone, away from the evil descendants of Cain, scraping together an existence from the little plant life growing amidst the rocky landscape of Earth. Lesson one: God is mean and hates humanity.

 

One night, Noah has a vision of people drowning in a flood. Realizing this means "The Creator" is going to destroy humankind, Noah and his family set out for the mountain of Methuselah, his grandfather. Once there, Noah and his son, Shem (Gavin Casalegno), visit Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) who lives on the one green mountain on Earth and gives Noah a trance-enhancing tea, which allows God to complete the vision. Methuselah also gives Noah a seed from Eden, which Noah plants and the next day a forest is born. Like Jack and the Beanstalk. I can't even say "minus the giants," because the rock monsters come and help Noah build the ark from the wood in the magic forest. Lesson two: Who needs "The Creator" when you have a magic grandfather?

 

So, you can kind of see where this is going. Well, maybe you can't, because it's not any kind of story you've heard before. Noah is convinced that God is only saving him and his family so the animals of earth can be protected and replenish the earth. After the flood, he and his family will eventually die, leaving the earth pure and innocent once more. Lesson three: God is spiteful and cruel.

 

Let me set aside my Christian bias, and review this movie as any other movie. The acting: I'm not sure they cast the best actors for this movie. Russell Crowe was great as Noah, but Jennifer Connelly was too beautiful for his wife. This is a hard life they were living, and despite a little dirt under her fingernails, she never looked dirty, wrinkled, or tired. Hermione Granger, I mean, Emma Watson, was okay as Ila, Noah's adopted daughter/daughter-in-law, but I didn't feel that she could really handle the emotionally intense scenes with realism. As a result, I never engaged emotionally with the characters or cared about their plight. The writing/plot: Honestly, I was so distracted by the liberties taken with this story that I can't objectively give an opinion, but several people I talked with said they thought it was long and boring. I will say I was confused as to how they had fabric when there was no cotton or other crops from which to weave cloth, or how the smoke they made put the animals to sleep, but not the people. But I digress.

 

Overall, this was a huge disappointment. The original story of Noah is striking. God TALKED to Noah (he was not silent). God was sorrowful over the wickedness of humankind, and chose Noah, a righteous man, to start over. God loves the human race! Noah and his family stood alone in facing wickedness and in building a structure whose size had possibly never before been seen. This could have been a movie of hope that pointed to a loving God, and instead we got a message about an uncaring God who loves animals more than the people made in his image. Not a message I want my kids to hear, and it's not one I accept. Which is why I say, skip this movie and spend time with your kids reading the real account of Noah. It's so much better!

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Read the account of Noah in Genesis 5-9. How is it different from what the movie portrayed? How are they similar?

 

• Why do you think they changed the story so much?

 

• If you could ask Noah any question, besides "How did you get all those animals in the ark," what would it be?

 

--JW

 

Tags: Noah,Russel Crowe,Darren Aronofsky,Jennifer Connelly,Anthony Hopkins,Emma Watson,Gavin Casalegno

 

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